My Exercise History
I have been training in one way or another since the age of 13. In college I set powerlifting records squatting and deadlifting 455 lbs while weighing in at under 150 lbs. While in medical school I began competing in bodybuilding competitions and took 4th place in Illinois state in 1988. Over the years I suffered injuries to most if not all of the joints in my body. More recently I got into crossfit, which I enjoyed until herniating a disc in my lower back in 2014. It was at that time that I realized I needed to change the way I trained and for what exactly I was training for, which is primarily to maintain my health. My studies introduced me to a fellow by the name of Scott Sonnon. Scott has many accolades under his belt including 5 time MMA champion, Olympian, trainer to the special ops and navy seals, and on and on. I was immediately taken by his health first methods which focus on mobility and recovery rather than overtraining and perpetual injuries. I have since adopted this method of training for myself and I completely endorse his methods as being the best available for anyone wanting go become more fit and less injured.
IntuFlow, the Magic
As we age, joints quite frankly become less resilient. This alone significantly increases risk of injury. As s result, joint mobility becomes of paramount importance the older we become. Further, excessive training efforts with insufficient recovery will similarly lead to ill fated injuries. Solution: IntuFlow. IntuFlow, is a simple joint mobility regimen that brings blood flow and needed nutrition to your joints thus reducing the effects of aging and also the likelihood of training related injuries. You can access IntuFlow free on YouTube linked below. The beginner and intermediate levels are free. The advanced versions are available from the RMAX products website listed below.
Here is link to YouTube linking all segments of each video: Beginner IntuFlow
Here is link to YouTube linking all segments of each video: Intermediate IntuFlow
Advanced and masters level IntuFLow are available for purchase from RMAX.
Recouper8 is similarly a form of mobility and stretching which can be used to assist in restoring lost ranges of motion or simply as a recovery workout in between high intensity workouts, (more on that in a bit). If this video link fails to work properly, you can obtain your own copy here for free.
There are some camps which believe that you can train intensely every day. I’m certainly not one of them. Like Scott, I believe recovery is the most important aspect of training. But what about when it is time for an intense training day? Well, I think the routine that you will actually do is probably the best choice as there is little sense in my telling you that you need to do something which you will not enjoy and will never actually do. With that in mind however, there are a myriad of safe workouts which range from yoga and body weight to gym style and even clubbells, the newest fitness craze using the oldest fitness tool. You can learn more about each of these and shop for products from the following link to Scott’s product page.
RMAX Home: There is much to learn on this site. There is a beginners guide to follow. There are freebies available on the bottom of the home page. I would recommend signing up on the email list, you will get weekly incentives and guidance, as well as deep discounts on products from week to week. Click on the “shop” link on the top of the home page which takes you to the products page. From here you can purchase any program or tool.
And for those of you not yet sold, here is my older fitness regimen…
Exercise, The Key To Fitness
I’m a huge advocate of CST fitness, (Circular Strength Training), developed by Scott Sonnon. I have been and continue to perform this myself for my personal fitness goals. In my opinion it is the best thing you can do for yourself. I thoroughly believe that some form of interval training is the best style of working out and truly needs to be incorporated into ones fitness journey. And trust me, for over forty years, I have tried everything a few times. This is also called High Intensity Interval Training, (HIIT). You can really do any resistance exercises that you wish, just follow this simple rule. High Intensity Intervals. There are several adoptions of this type of routine, which I will go over for you here. There are several advantages to HIIT workouts, the best of which is time. They are over very quickly and you don’t need to workout as often. I recommend at minimum three and at most five workouts like this per week. Any more and you would overtrain and get hurt. Performing HIIT, you will burn more calories than a traditional sustained workout such as walking on the treadmill seemingly endlessly.
There are several ways to perform HIIT exercise regimens. You will require a timer of some sort, to time the intervals. This is easy nowadays as smartphones such as the iPhone have free interval timers available in the AppStore. Workouts can range from as little as 4 minutes and go longer. If you are truly using high intensity, you probably won’t go over 30 minutes, you just won’t have the stamina. Some routines, such as Shaun T’s now famous “Insanity” utilise HITT for 45 minutes or longer. Unless you truly are “insane” try shorter workouts first.
If you are not already in good shape then your full force effort should be only about 80% effort. A good rule of thumb for heart rate is 220 – your age = maximal heart rate. You should not exceed this initially, but as your health improves you can. (I personally exceed that number routinely). If you are out of shape you should stay around 80% of that number until you feel you can go harder. Obviously if you have preexisting heart disease, or any condition which may be a contraindication to this type of exercise, you should consult with your primary physician/cardiologist first before undertaking any exercise regimen whatsoever.
The idea here is to set your timer up for a series of intervals, such as 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. There are several recipes, such as this, named the “Tabata” regimen after its discoverer, which is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds, (Note this is only 4 minutes). All variations will work, some better than others for different individuals. Sometimes it helps to “shock” your muscles by changing things up a bit too. Ideally you will want to change this up frequently, as your body basically adapts and becomes used to whatever you do, and very quickly, usually within a few weeks. During the work phase, you would perform an exercise such as a pushup, lunge, or squat, etc. This can get really interesting as you can continually change it up by performing combination movements, such as burpee’s, (a combo of squat thrust, pushup and jump… search it on YouTube). This can also be done with weights such as a medicine or ugi ball as you get stronger. Typically you would put together a routine of a few exercises which you would repeat through for the 12 minutes, (3 sets of 4 minutes each), in this example. I try to use exercises that incorporate several muscle groups at once, rather than just a few.
So an example would be:
- Jump lunges
- Mountain climbers
- Clean jerk and press
- Burpee’s, intervals 1 & 3
- Jump lunges, intervals 2 & 4
- Mountain climbers, intervals 5 & 7
- Clean jerk and press, intervals 6 & 8
These sites, which I personally frequent often, offer HIIT style workouts, free:
And my personal favorite: www.tacfitacademy.com, which is intended for those looking for super-fit status.
One of my favourites, (which I did from 2010-2011), again, very similar, just different timing. This entire workout is twenty minutes. Any more than that is too much if you are working out correctly. If you are working out properly, that is all that you will be able to do, trust me. Whatever the exercise, you will do a simple warm-up activity like jogging in place for two minutes. At two minutes, you will perform the exercise of your choice for thirty seconds. You need to do it with maximal effort such that at thirty seconds, if you had to do another second, you couldn’t. You will then spend ninety seconds in recovery, like jogging in place again. The idea here is to get your heart rate back down, which if you did your thirty seconds correctly, should be pounding. You will repeat this sequence for a total of eight cycles, (30 seconds maximal effort, 90 seconds recovery). You then end with 3.5 minutes of cool-down, which makes 20 minutes total. So, you will exercise hard at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 minutes, for 30 second jaunts followed by a 90 second recovery period. You will need an interval timer and a heart monitor is a really good idea.
Now, as far as the exercise. Initially, if you are a beginner, you may just want to jog/run in place more briskly and with exaggerated limb movements for the 30 seconds. I personally like to perform strengthening exercises for the 30 second intervals. Exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, etc. work nicely. You can also combine them into interesting regimens such as assuming the yoga “chaturanga” position, (the down phase of a pushup), and running in place for thirty seconds. (This is most difficult). You can do different routines on different days to target different body parts and just to keep it interesting.
The main difference between these two styles is that when I do the later, I perform the same exercise all eight rounds. Again, you don’t even have to follow this. The main idea here is the high intensity and the interval training. So be creative.
Some suggest performing this style of workout with sprints or similar, and weight training on the alternate days. I much prefer getting both birds with one stone and utilizing the above HIIT format.
As per the “Basic” level fitness below, I do recommend focus on the “eccentric” phase of movement for all exercises performed. This is explained below under “Basic Fitness and Entry Level Exercise”.
You can find more bodyweight exercises than you could ever find time to perform by searching YouTube. Use a search term such as HIIT bodyweight exercise.
It is pretty common to eat simple carbohydrates following following an intense workout, and this is certainly accepted as being pretty much gospel amongst those in workout circles. However, I propose avoiding simple carbohydrates for two hours post workout, (HIIT workouts only). There has been evidence to suggest that this increases release of HGH, (human growth hormone), which is much more desirable than any benefit you would derive from eating carbs following an HIIT workout regimen. The way this works is in that glucose once in the bloodstream causes an insulin response, which in turn blocks HGH release. By avoiding the carbohydrate intake this is not an issue. This will indeed boost your caloric consumption and overall benefits from the exercise regimen the whole day through, rather than just for the 20 minutes invested in the exercise.
As with any exercise routine, never perform any exercise which causes overexertion or causes discomfort or aggravates pain. Call or email our office, (firstname.lastname@example.org), with any questions you may have regarding your condition and the appropriateness of exercise therapy.
Enjoy the exercises and lets all stay fit and balanced!
The fitness videos provided are courtesy of www.ridgelinefitness.com.
Basic Fitness and Entry Level Exercise:
If you are new to exercise, I think you will find the following information extremely helpful. Recent studies have demonstrated that the “negative” or “eccentric” movement of an exercise, offers the most beneficial changes to both the muscles being exercised and your overall blood chemistry. Further, it has been suggested that even doing as little as one 30 minute session per week will make favorable changes in your overall health.
So what exactly is a “negative” or “eccentric” movement? Any activity requires both a concentric and an eccentric component. The concentric component is the phase whereby the muscle is shortening while performing the activity. An example would be curling a dumbbell. The eccentric phase of the movement would be the phase of movement whereby the muscle is lengthening while still under load Using the same example, this would be the lowering of the dumbbell after curling it. So what does this mean and how can you exploit this information to improve your health? Well, it means that something as simple as walking down steps, or down a hill, (yes, the easier half!) can be very beneficial with respect to changing your health. If you are already exercising regularly, you can get more bang for the time expenditure by accentuating the eccentric phase of all of your exercise movements by performing the concentric phase over 1-2 seconds, the eccentric phase for 3-4 seconds. For example if you are doing a pushup you should lower yourself to the mat slowly, 3-4 seconds. Push up in 1-2 seconds. This technique can be applied to most any workout routine.
Studies have shown that exercising in this way actually causes the most desirable changes on blood chemistry in reversing deleterious changes such as all of those associated with the metabolic syndrome, (obesity, hypertension, type II diabetes, etc.).
If you are not already exercising, try and formulate a 30 minute session once per week to perform eccentric activities such as walking down steps or any activity accentuating the eccentric phase. Naturally it would be better to perform an exercise session at least three times per week, but if you are currently doing nothing, once per week is a major improvement and will evoke desirable changes in your overall health. As your health improves you will find it easier to invest more time in additional exercise sessions. There is no one who cannot find thirty minutes per week to exercise.
For more information and a much more comprehensive look at exercise, fitness and nutrition. I would STRONGLY recommend Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition. His site is full of good information.