Friday, May 30, 2014

Fitness experts differ on best running techniques

Humans may be born to run but fitness experts differ on exactly how to embark on what has been called the most natural cardiovascular workout.
Some chase one ideal form, others work with the body’s individual flow, but all praise the soft landing.
For Dr. Nicholas Romanov, Miami-based sports scientist, two-time Olympic coach and creator of the Pose Method, running is a teachable skill requiring clean, precise movements.
“There’s a universal, archetypal running form,” said Romanov, whose forthcoming book “The Running Revolution” lays out the forward body tilt, forefoot landing and short, frequent steps that characterize the Pose form.
His method purports to exploit gravity rather than muscular strength to drive the running body forward faster, farther and injury-free.
Romanov said to assume a precise running pose, fall into gravity and pull back into the pose to re-establish a natural process that was perverted by poor coaching and harmful shoes.
“It’s not my standard, its nature’s standard,” said Romanov, who describes running as controlled falling. “Pain is the penalty for violating nature. When you’re going against gravity, it all crashes (down).”
Dr Heather K Vincent, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) supports the forward lean, lifted knees and rapid foot turnover encouraged by the Pose Method, but remains wary of its one-size-fits-all form.
“We try to encourage control, strength. I’m not sure you can fit a running style to all bodies,” said Vincent, director of University of Florida Sports Performance Center.
Vincent added that most runners’ steps are too long. She recommends a running cadence of 180 steps per minute, using a metronome if needed.
“It feels more like shuffling at first,” said Vincent, who trains clients in jump-rope jumping and jogging to foster the forward lean, knee lift and proper shoulder-hip-ankle alignment.
Her recent report for the American College of Sports Medicine recommended zero-drop running shoes, which allow forefoot and heel to be the same distance from the ground because they foster safer running mechanics, shorter stride and forefoot landing.
“I don’t believe everyone should be forefoot landing but everyone should land softly,” she said.
Connecticut-based running coach Tom Holland believes if you want to be a really good runner, you run.
“Bodies are smart machines that go to the path of least resistance,” said Holland, author of “The Marathon Method.”
Holland thinks most injuries result from doing too much too soon, not from heel striking and he believes in landing lightly.
“Imagine you’re sneaking up on someone and you’ll naturally go to a shorter, faster stride,” he said. “You can’t overstrike and run softly.”

Taken from:

Thursday, May 29, 2014


By Patrick Striet

Many women have been programmed to believe they can’t get strong, they shouldn’t train hard “like the guys,” and they should opt for the pretty, pink three-pound weights to avoid bulking up. As a result, when it comes to setting fitness goals, many women are very subjective. Instead of setting quantifiable and objective goals centered around performance, many women simply say, “I want to get rid of cellulite on my legs,” or “I want to get rid of this,” while pinching fat on the back of their arms. While having broad goals like these are fine, the truth of the matter is that focusing on achieving quantifiable and performance-oriented goals on various exercises is the fastest way to meet general aesthetic goals. If more women want to get a better body and see their “problem areas” improve, there needs to be a paradigm shift: Women are not delicate flowers that shouldn’t train hard. With this in mind, here are some recommended strength benchmarks for women.

Benchmark #1: The Barbell Bench Press for 1 Rep at 75 Percent of Your Body Weight A good goal is to bench press 75 percent of your body weight for one repetition, or 85 percent of that number for five repetitions. For example, a 145-pound woman should be able to bench press 110 pounds for one rep, or about 95 pounds five times. Matt Kasee, owner of Matt Kasee Training & Performance in Cincinnati, advises women to embrace multiple sets of lower repetitions. “To achieve this goal, you need to work with weights that only allow three to six repetitions because this rep and loading range is best for building raw strength,” says Kasee. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back, grasp a barbell at shoulder width or slightly wider, lower the bar to the middle of the chest and drive the bar back up to full extension. Make sure you pull your shoulder blades together to ensure a good base of support and protect your shoulders. The elbows should tuck in slightly towards your torso at about a 45-degree angle. Grip the bar hard and try to rip it apart throughout the movement.

Benchmark #2: The Standing Barbell Press for 1 Rep at 60 Percent of Your Body Weight The standing barbell press is a strong indicator of your maximal strength while pressing in a vertical plane and focuses on the front shoulders, triceps and core muscles. Because you are standing on your feet, it is also a very functional indicator of your pressing strength. A good goal is to press 60 percent of your body weight for one rep, or 85 percent of that number for five reps. A 145-pound woman should be able to press 85 to 90 pounds once or 70 to 75 pounds five times. Holly Mitchell, an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) figure pro, nutrition coach with Lean Bodies Consulting, and co-owner of Live Fit Cincinnati believes that increasing training volume in this exercise is key. Mitchell advises working up to a weekly three- to five-repetition maximum on the standing barbell press and then backing the weight down significantly and performing four to five sets of eight to 12 reps. “The increased training volume serves two purposes,” Mitchell explains. “One, it allows women to practice the movement and hone technique. And, two, it helps to build muscle, which is what women need more of to press bigger weights.” HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a bar about shoulder width, starting with the bar on the upper chest. Tense your whole body and, without using your lower back, drive the bar over your head and slightly back. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs while pressing.

Benchmark #3: 10 “Full Range of Motion” Pushups The good old-fashioned pushup is a fantastic indicator of your upper-body strength endurance -- specifically in your chest, front shoulders, triceps and core muscles -- as well as your relative strength (strength to body-weight ratio) and body composition. A good goal for women to strive for is 10 repetitions. If you currently are unable to perform any full-range pushups, Matt Kasee of Matt Kasee Training & Performance advises using a barbell set three to four feet above the ground in a power rack to reduce the percentage of your body weight you must use. “Doing a regressed version of the pushup, such as a barbell pushup in the rack, allows women to develop perfect technique while getting enough training volume to elicit a training response,” says Kasee. “I would not recommend performing pushups from your knees if you currently cannot perform full pushups, as this disengages the core and changes the mechanics of the exercise.” HOW TO DO IT: Assume a standard pushup position with your hands outside your chest. Lower yourself down to the floor, keeping the elbows tucked to about 45 degrees, the core tight and the neck in a neutral position (don’t look up). Drive back through the floor without letting your back sag. To ensure adequate depth, place a roll of toilet paper on the floor and touch your forehead on each rep.

Benchmark #4: 1 Body-Weight Chin-Up Like the pushup, the chin-up is another great indicator of your upper-body strength endurance and your strength relative to body weight. While the pushup tests the pushing muscles -- chest, shoulders and triceps -- the chin-up tests the opposite muscles: the upper back, lats, biceps and gripping muscles used in pulling. A fantastic goal to shoot for is one full-range repetition. John Meadows, an accomplished bodybuilder, trainer and creator of the Mountain Dog Diet, thinks that, while difficult, most women can hit this goal with 12 to 20 weeks of proper training and advocates the use of assistance mechanisms. “Start by using a chin-up assistance machine to learn how to properly activate your lats and other muscles involved,” recommends Meadows. “After making progress in the assistance machine, move on to banded chin-ups and pull-ups. Start with one or two orange EliteFTS bands and progress from there.” HOW TO DO IT: Start from a dead hang from an overhead bar. Aggressively drive your elbows down -- focusing on pulling your shoulder blades into your back pockets -- and pull yourself up over the bar until it hits your upper chest. Return to the fully extended position under control and repeat. Make sure to minimize any body English: Keep the repetitions strict and smooth.

Benchmark #5: The Deadlift for 1 Rep at 150 Percent of Your Body Weight Perhaps no other exercise indicates your full-body strength better than the deadlift. Shoot for pulling 150 percent of your body weight for a single rep, or 85 percent of that number for five reps. A 145-pound woman should try to work up to a 220-pound single-rep pull or 185 pounds for five reps. Jon-Erik Kawamoto, a strength and conditioning coach and owner of JKConditioning in Canada, feels mindset is crucial to hitting this goal. “Lift with intent and purpose,” says Kawamoto. “Going through the motions is not going to make you tough when the weight gets heavy. I always tell my clients to lift it like you mean it.” HOW TO DO IT: Align a loaded barbell with the middle of your feet (feet inside shoulder width). Bend over and grasp the bar. Pull your hips down, flex your lats, brace your core and grip the bar hard. Break the bar from the floor and pull upward, making sure not to round the back, until standing. Take caution not to hyperextend your spine in the top position.

Benchmark #6: The Barbell Squat for 1 Rep at 125 Percent of Your Body Weight The barbell squat has long been heralded by gym rats as the “king of all exercises.” If you have a big squat, you’ll have slabs of muscle not only on your legs, but all over your body as well. A strong goal for women to shoot for is 125 percent of body weight for a single rep or 85 percent of that number for five reps. A 145-pound woman should try to work up to 180 pounds for one rep or 155 pounds for five reps. Jason Placeway, a chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist in Cincinnati, advises learning how to brace your core properly while squatting in order to lift heavy weights and protect your spine. “You need to breathe through your belly and take in air while trying to create 360 degrees of stability through your abs and low back. Before you descend in the squat, breathe in while expanding your belly and low-back muscles. This is best for core stability. Avoid drawing in your belly button to your spine and sucking in; this is a dysfunctional pattern. Put on a weight belt and try to push your belly, back and side abs into the belt as you take in air. This makes a world of difference.” HOW TO DO IT: Place a barbell across your upper back, keeping the shoulder blades pulled together to create a strong base. Unrack the bar, step back, set your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, and then push the hips back and descend to a point just below parallel. Make sure to keep the weight on your heels and your spine in a neutral alignment. To finish the rep, stand up aggressively to full extension.

Benchmark #7: The Barbell Hip Thrust The hip thrust, which has quickly become the favorite exercise of women looking to a put a little more “junk in their trunk,” is a fantastic indicator of your strength in the important “posterior chain” muscles: the glutes, hamstrings and low back. Bret Contreras, an Arizona-based strength coach, biomechanist and researcher who invented the hip-thrust exercise -- and is its biggest proponent -- advises using a pyramid scheme for achieving this goal. “A good goal is to hip thrust 1.5 times bodyweight for 10 repetitions,” says Contreras. “If a woman weighs 145 pounds, she should work to a point that she can hip thrust 220 pounds for 10 reps. To achieve this goal, pyramid your sets, performing a set of 10, a set of eight, a set of six, and then a set of 15 repetitions. Make sure you pause for a one-second count at the top of each repetition.” A word of caution: Due to the rather uncomfortable nature of the bar on the hips, using a bar pad or towel is advised. HOW TO DO IT: Roll a loaded barbell over your legs so it’s sitting across the front of your hips. With the knees bent and your back elevated on a standard bench, hold the bar just outside the hips and then thrust up until you are parallel to the floor, making sure to squeeze the glutes and not hyperextend the low back.

Benchmark #8: The Two-Minute Plank Having a strong core and set of abdominals is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also essential for lifting heavy weights, performing better and staying injury free. The ability to hold a perfect plank for two minutes ensures your core will be bulletproof and can withstand heavy loads while squatting, pressing and deadlifting. Chiropractor and strength and conditioning specialist Jason Placeway feels performing more challenging and dynamic plank variations is the best way to build up the endurance to hold a standard plank for two minutes. “You should definitely perform the standard plank once a week for maximum time, but performing more-demanding versions, like ball saws and stir-the-pot planks on a stability ball, for shorter periods will develop strength faster and allow you to perform better during the regressed exercise. It’s no different than increasing your one-repetition bench press: If you do that, you’ll be able to perform better and get more reps using lighter loads.” HOW TO DO IT: Simply set up in a pushup position, but instead of having your weight on your hands, place it on your elbows. Maintain a neutral spine from head to toe. You should be in a perfectly straight line. While performing, do not allow the back to sag. Flexing your rear end and quadriceps will create more stability while performing this exercise.

Benchmark #9: 20-Inch Box Jump While strength (the ability to produce force) is very important, women should also focus on developing and maintaining power (how quickly and explosively strength is expressed). While explosive exercises such as cleans and snatches develop power, they are very technique-dependent and can be difficult to master. An easier way to train for power is to simply jump up onto a box or other sturdy surface. Shoot for a jump of 20 inches. At my gym, Live Fit Cincinnati, I urge women to start with low surfaces and work their way up gradually. If you are new to jumps, start with a 12-inch-high surface, get your technique down, and then go from there. I also emphasize learning how to land properly. You should land quietly on the box with soft knees. If you are landing loud with locked knees you are going to get hurt. Try three sets of three to five jumps prior to your lower-body workouts, and try to progress the surface height every other workout. HOW TO DO IT: Stand in front of a box, step or bench and assume an athletic position. Raise your arms up over your head before squatting down and lowering your arms behind you. Explode upward as you propel your arms back over your head. Land softly on the box with soft knees. Step, don’t jump, back off the surface and reset fully.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hurry to get the New Gold's Gym Saipan Gear!

Come stop by Gold's Gym today to get yourself a new Gold's Gym Saipan shirt. The latest collection from Gold'sGear is available with the "SAIPAN" text.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Zumba Workout Benefits

by Faith Watson


Zumba is a dance fitness method based on salsa and other Latin dance moves, performed to Latin and world music beats, and choreographed to allow people of any fitness or dance experience level to enjoy a fantastic workout. If you think you'd like an exhilarating class filled with good feelings and party-like fun, Zumba makes an excellent choice of a group fitness method to support your fitness goals.

Fat and Calorie Burning

At its core, Zumba classes are intended to provide a large calorie burn through aerobic activity done with interval training in mind. Depending on body weight, sex, fitness level and other common physical factors, the number of calories you burn in a typical Zumba class will equal that of any fast social dancing hour, such as salsa, disco or jitterbug. For most people, that can add up to 400 to 600 calories burned per hour. With the classes choreographed to provide intervals of intensity in both pace of music and type of movements, class members' energy expenditure is maximized for fat-burning benefits. Fitness moves are also incorporated within Zumba dances, so don't be surprised if you find yourself moving from a fast merengue beat to a long, slow set of push-ups on the wall, or doing several sets of squats followed by plyometric jumps.

Full Body Workout

Zumba is both a dance class and a fitness class. Aside from its heart-health benefits, Zumba provides a workout for the whole body. From head and shoulder rolls that loosen up the neck and warm up the upper body, to footwork that strengthens and stretches calves and ankles, this fitness method touches on nearly every muscle and joint. Even those who are just learning the dance steps will find themselves waking up the day after a Zumba class with a definitive post-workout feeling. Hips and abs receive particular attention in the Latin dance style, and as with many dance exercise classes, thighs and butts often end up being sore the day after class. Flexibility is not ignored in a Zumba class either, with warm-ups and cool-downs a regular part of Zumba programming.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Are Endurance Athletes Healthier Than the Rest of the Population?

A study that looked for common dietary patterns in a population of extremely healthy men and women would most likely yield a similar result. This belief is based partly on the findings of the National Weight Control Registry. Maintenance of a healthy body weight is one major component of overall health. If all kinds of different diets are able to help people attain and then maintain a healthy body weight, we have reason to believe that all kinds of different diets can support maximum all-around health.
Other evidence that there are many "healthiest" diets comes from the real world. In my work as a sports nutritionist, I have analyzed the diets of large numbers of world-class endurance athletes. This is an extremely healthy population. Without a doubt, most elite cyclists, runners, swimmers and triathletes would come out very near the top of general health rankings based on a battery of tests like the ones described above. Very few of these men and women are members of what I call "diet cults" (e.g. the Paleo Diet), which are based on the premise that there is only one correct way for all humans to eat.
Most world-class endurance athletes instead practice what I call agnostic healthy eating, a broad dietary approach where no food types are completely excluded but there is a heavy emphasis on high-quality foods such as fruit and fish.
There is a minority of world-class endurance athletes who do follow diet cults, but they don't all follow the same one. Some are Paleo, others vegan, and so forth. This is further proof that a wide variety of diets are capable of sustaining maximum health. But the greatest variety is seen within the majority of elite endurance athletes who are agnostic healthy eaters. The diet of a runner from Kenya looks nothing like the diet of a cyclist from England, yet both would certainly score exceptionally well on tests for general health.
By no means should it be inferred that anything goes with diet. Most people in affluent nations—even most recreational endurance athletes—do not eat well enough to attain the highest level of health. If you're like most of your peers, you need to change your diet in order to become as healthy as you can be. The point is merely that there is no single better diet; you have options—so pick your favorite.

Excerpt t
aken from

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


8 Ways to Maintain Weight Loss

Head’s up yo-yo dieters! Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute expert Robert Reames is here to help you lose weight for the long term.

Monday, May 5, 2014

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Stop by Gold's Gym Saipan to start your dotFIT lifestyle today!
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