Get Faster Results (4 Tactics)

Have you ever been frustrated over a lack of results from your workout routine? If so, you are in good company. Even the most seasoned athletes experience times when their results plateau.

When you continue to put in the same effort day after day with little or no results it is safe to say that you’ve hit your own fitness plateau.

Your body adapts quickly to any repetitive routine. The definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts. When your results stop then it’s time to do something new.

I have good news—the following 4 tactics are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver the fast results you want.

#1: Focus on Negatives

Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are utilizing three types of strength. These are:

  1. Positive strength: the motion of lifting the weight.
  2. Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
  3. Negative strength: the motion of lowering the weight.

Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of a repetition is just as important as the positive portion, and possibly more important.

Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.

If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.

Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.

#2: Do a Drop Set

Drop sets have long been used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for adding muscle strength, endurance and for increasing the cardiovascular benefit of your workout – resulting in more fat burn.

Here, in a nutshell, is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.

You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set.

Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.

#3: Modify the Exercise

There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym. The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea…

While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:

  • Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
  • Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
  • Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
  • Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
  • Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.

#4: Use Active Rest to turn each workout into High Intensity Interval Training

Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods between exercises.

While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest than a passive one. Perform one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.

  • High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
  • Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
  • Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
  • Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right – holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
  • Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.

If you’d like a sure-fire way to break through your fitness plateau and to melt away unwanted fat, then contact me for a fitness consultation.

Call or email today – I look forward to hearing from you.

My custom-made fitness programs remove all of the guesswork for you. I know what works, and I make it my mission to see you reach your goals.
-Nicole

How to Prevent Panic Attacks

May is mental health awareness month, so I wanted to focus on a topic we have all had experience with before, anxiety. Getting fit and taking your life to the next level is just as much mental as it is physical. When we have anxiety about doing things perfectly, losing a certain amount of weight or our recent health report it often causes panic. Weather is is general anxiety or anxiety surrounding fitness, the best thing you can learn to do is get it under control. While I have some experience in helping people with the mental aspects of life, I am no expert. Below I have included an article talks more about what to do when you are feeling overwhelmed.  We have have the power to change things for the better and can overcome anything mental or physical!

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Quiet your mind, calm your heart . . . and reclaim your life.

You wake up one morning, happy that your life is finally on track. After enduring one painful break up after another, you’re finally free of deadbeat guys and loser relationships.

Months of fighting and bickering are finally over, and for the first time in a long time, you’re elated — comfortable in your own surroundings and not carrying the dead weight of a man who could never be your one and only.

But even under the veil of turning lemons into lemonade, something isn’t right.

You don’t feel completely in control and at times you even feel breathless, like your heart is racing like a steam engine; a feeling of dread and panic sweep all over you. Before you know it, you’re gasping for breath, while your heart is pounding away.

It’s a tailspin of emotions: Are you going to die? Collapse? Go mad?

Your heart feels like it’s about to burst. You’re immobilized and stuck in place, incapable of doing anything. All alone, all you can think to do is bend down and pray it will go away and that the nightmare will end.

Then, just as suddenly as it came on, your heart slows down; your breathing gets easier and those dreadful, horrendous thoughts about dying ebb away. It’s a relief, you’re going to make it. You are normal once more.

For now.

What’s going on in these cases is not a heart attack, but rather something equally as challenging to your way of life, it’s called panic disorder. For many, looking for a solution first involves a trip to the ER. But after countless visits to the doctor and prescriptions that make you feel like a zombie, you know two things: You suffer from panic attacks and the primary panic disorder treatment is medication.

Problem is, the meds make you feel listless and devoid of your personality. You’re not quite the “Walking Dead,” but at times it feels like it. So you decide to see if you can endure it on your own. But these panic feelings always return. Sometimes worse, sometimes a mere fraction of what’s possible in the worst of times.

One thing is for sure, when it comes to suffering from panic attacks, you’re not alone. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, some 5 percent of women and 2 percent of men have had panics at one time or another within a lifetime. Some conditions persist for years. Others come and go based on stress or other underlying challenges.

So if medication isn’t working for you, what else you can you do?

The short answer is that medication as a panic disorder treatment does relieve suffering and pain in the short term. But it is not the long-term solution for everyone. Most therapists agree that the combination of medication and behavioral/perceptual change that make the difference.

If you’re looking for alternative panic disorder treatments, here are some strategies:

1. Recognize that your panic attack is the stress response.

In fact, your panic attack is identical in every aspect of what happens when we feel under attack.

Think about it, the human response to a threat or imminent danger (imagine real danger — you’re being chased by a bear or attacked by bees), in those moments, our immediate and instinctive reaction is to panic.

The reaction in your brain is one in the same, when you have a panic attack: The amygdala is activated causing a variety of symptoms that we associate with being in severe danger. When you experienced a panic attack you experience this same response, as if it were real and you had to immediately get out of harm’s way.

Once you understand this, you will know how to reverse a panic attack.

2. Use relaxation techniques.

To extinguish a panic attack, you need to activate a relaxation response. That’s why breathing exercises are effective.

But there are a lot of other techniques that can induce the relaxation response, including: relaxing your muscles, calming your thought processes, resting and in some cases, exercise can harnesses the energy of the panic and eventually deliver a relaxing response.

In an ideal setting, it’s best to learn many different ways to calm your mind/body. It’s rarely a one size-fit’s all approach. Try many things to see what works best for you.

3. Work on your negative thoughts.

When you have panic attacks, they fuel your negative thoughts, which in turn aggravate your panic attacks. So, if you have negative thoughts, your panic attacks will get worse, rather than get better.

Reducing and eliminating toxic thinking is an effective way to stop panic attacks in your life. There are a lot of techniques that allow you to do that including challenging negative thoughts, installing positive thoughts and rehearsing positive thoughts and conditioning yourself to be positive among others. For extra help on this, see the end for how to connect with me for some ideas.

4. Deal with the panic triggers.

Some people know exactly what can trigger their panic attacks. They can even remember the original incident or what event caused the first panic attack to occur.

To heal the past from causing deeper panic to set in, you need to detoxify your memory of your triggers, especially if a trigger truly isn’t life threatening at all. Reach out of you need help.

5. Pace your life.

Living a life full of anxiety and stress makes you prone to panic attack. If your environment is super stressful, consider how you can change your life so it’s more calm and productive.

By living a life of stress and anxiety, you are truly short-changing yourself. Isn’t it time to stop doing this, and learn to be effective in whatever you are doing? It’s also the path to conquer your panic attacks.

To me, although panic disorder is a definitive diagnosis, having panic attacks is not just a problem you have to deal with forever.

Panic attacks and panic disorder are indicators that something is not-quite right in your life. It could be a past psychological trauma that still needs to be healed. That’s why for some people panic attacks are a lifelong affliction, because they avoid dealing with the pain and finding a way to truly move past it.

The big question you need to ask yourself is this: Are the panic attacks you are experiencing an indication of ongoing continuing stressors in your life, or just some past posttraumatic stress? Depending on your answer, you have to do some work to do in order to lead the life you most want to love.

Just know this, you’re not alone and help can be found by advocating for yourself. If I can help you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

More great reads from YourTango:

 

Train like every day is the start of a New Year.

The holiday season is right around the corner and for the past 10 years I have seen the same pattern happening over and over. It seems that people develop a “I’ll get it is later” attitude when it comes to taking care of themselves and their health. They become dormant, eat more junk food than ever and are content at putting things off, even if their clothes aren’t fitting so well.

Why do we have so many people wanting to work on their fitness each year? Why do they have the “ I will wait till tomorrow attitude” when it comes to their health? The answer is simple, its mind set. Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight, in fact it takes constant, persistence and hard work. Not to mention if the results aren’t there, it can become down right discouraging AND easy to put off till next year.

Many friends and family members ask me what my best piece of advice is when they are trying to get in shape. My answer is simple: set goals, make a plan and stick with it. Attitude is everything and having a plan is key. Weather its hiring a trainer, having a workout partner or even doing it on your own its important to stick to your routine! No one wants to go through the yo-yo effect of being in shape and out of shape over and over. As illustrated below, its hard to continually start from the beginning.

Below I have included a funny story I received. Not only is it good for a laugh, but it illustrates the effect that attitude has on outlook and experience. Notice this poor guys metal toughness go down in flames from beginning to end. I challenge you to stay positive, make fitness a lifestyle and don’t wait until 2016 to accomplish all of your goals, start today!!

Cheers,

NR

WEEK AT THE GYM: ONE MAN’S STORY



If you read this without laughing out loud, there is something wrong with you. This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.

Dear Diary. 

For my sixty fifth birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my college tennis team 45 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. My wife seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress. 



MONDAY

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess – with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. She took my pulse after five minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attribute it to standing next to her in her Lycra aerobic outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, all though my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week-!! 



TUESDAY

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air — then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda’s rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT-!! It’s a whole new life for me. 



WEDNESDAY 



The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying on the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn’t try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. 
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too. 



THURSDAY



Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn’t help being a half an hour late, it took me that long to tie my shoes. 
Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men’s room. She sent Lars to find me. Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine — which I sank. 



FRIDAY 



I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps . I don’t have any triceps! And if you don’t want dents in the floor, don’t hand me the M—– f—– barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. 
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn’t it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director? 



SATURDAY



Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. 
However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel. 



SUNDAY



I’m having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my wife (the bitch) will choose a gift for me that is fun — like a root canal or a vasectomy. 

”Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO – What a Ride”! Party on Dude

Motivation: Sometimes its remembering the obvious

Often times the short, simple powerful sayings or even song lyrics are the ones we remember. When getting to any goal, especially the goal of weight loss its all about the journey and maintaining a positive mindset. Some days this is harder than other, even for the successful. I think thats why simple thing say it the best, they are the things that we can look at in our spare time and a provide a extra little kick in the butt that we need. I plan on starting to incorporating these into my blog. I hope you find them as helpful as I do! Remember, stay positive, persist even on days when its hard, visualize that beautiful light at the end of the tunnel and keep things simple.

-N

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Know Your Zone

After working out with a heart rate monitor, I will NEVER go without. This tool is one of the most important, yet simple devices I have found when it comes to exercise. Not only does it help gauge your intensity, but it also can tell you how many calories you have burned. This information is useful because it is important to workout at the proper intensity and makes weight loss a simple math equation. Calories are simply energy or fuel for the body. If you want to lose weight, the goal is to eat less than you need to maintain your current body mass.

We are a detail orientated society, yet so many people choose to exercise blindly. If you keep a food log and use a heart rate monitor you will be able to tell with accuracy your calories in vs. calories out. Doesn’t seem hard, right? Take this advice to heart. Get one today, strap it on and prepare to be amazed!

Recommended brand: Polar (www.polarusa.com)

Recommended Model: FT4

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