If you’ve heard me talk about training at all, you’ve definitely hear me talk about different aspects of functional training and how it pertains to both fitness results and sports performance. In this post I will demonstrate a simple yet challenging technique for training functionally: directional treadmill training.
At first glance, directional treadmill training is somewhat counter-intuitive. Instead of walking or running in the obvious forward direction, you manipulate the speed of the treadmill to allow yourself to move forward, backward and sideways (side step). Since forward movement is the most natural type of human movement, it seems somewhat odd to include sideways and backwards movement in your exercise or sports conditioning routine. But as you have learned from my previous two functional training posts, training in many directions (while maintaining appropriate form) is part of a well-rounded fitness routine.
When someone asks you to step sideways or backwards on a moving belt, it can be scary, even if you’ve done many other types of athletic movements before. You should always start out in the forward position, get yourself warmed up, and then slow the treadmill down to a really slow pace before changing directions. To get started, walk briskly at 3.5 mph in the forward direction, slow the treadmill down to about 1.0 mph and put both feet on either side of the belt, grasp the handrail on one side of the treadmill and begin side stepping. As you get more comfortable with the movement you can move into the appropriate position (squat position with a straight back), and then increase the speed and let go of side-rail as you improve and feel comfortable.
Once you’ve gone about 30 seconds facing left and 30 seconds facing right, you should turn back to the front and walk again for about one minute at 3.5 mph. When you feel ready, slow the treadmill down to about 2.0 mph and again put both feet on either side of the belt. Grasp the handrails and turn around, placing both feet on either side of the belt (you are now facing backwards on the treadmill). When you feel ready, start walking backwards on the belt while grasping both side-rails. As you get comfortable and improve, you can let go of side-rails and just try to balance while walking backwards. When you get more comfortable, you can manipulate both the speed and incline of the treadmill.
As you can see, when you get totally comfortable moving in these various directions, you can have a lot of fun with this type of training. Learning to move both sideways and backwards while holding appropriate posture transfers not only into real world situations, but into athletics as well. This type of conditioning will allow athletes to move both laterally and backwards with more confidence, precision, and speed.
No matter how hard or how long you work out, if you want to lose weight you have got to get the calories right. We all know too many calories means weight gain… but did you know the wrong type of calories and even too few can also make you fatter? Use these 5 tips as a guideline to finding the caloric range that works for you.
1) Calculate RMR
RMR stands for resting metabolic rate and it’s the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions. Combine your RMR with your daily activity level and that’s the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. Knowing your RMR +daily activity total will help you stop eating once you’ve hit your calories for the day because you will KNOW FOR SURE that you are getting fat if you eat that next piece of cake!
2) Don’t slash calories~ gradual, consistent deficits get results
Once you know your RMR + daily expenditure, you can create a caloric deficit to lose weight. If you are creating a deficit…BEWARE, too large a deficit can cause your metabolic rate to go way down and will prevent you from losing weight. I recommend a 350 -500 calorie deficit each day. Allow the weight to come off over time instead of trying to create dramatic changes all at once.
3) Learn nutrient breakdowns
Learning the different food categories (protein, carbohydrate, fat) will help you create healthy, balanced meals. Balanced meals promote healthy digestion, more even blood sugar levels, and ensures you are getting the proper foods for your needs. Knowing your nutrient breakdowns keeps you from eating too many bad fats and too much sugar (the dreaded enemy of weight loss!).
4) Eat 5 times a day
Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, gives you energy throughout the day, and stimulates your metabolism. It also prevents you from eating a huge meal (that will be stored as fat!) because your starving from trying not to eat (impossible for healthy adults).
5) Track your food
Conveniently forgetting about that huge Chipotle burrito you ate with a side of chips last night… you’re right that would never make you gain weight… NOT!!!!! Use one of the many calorie tracking apps to see your eating patterns on paper. This opens the door for you to analyze where you are falling short and see what the real problem is. You can develop new strategies for success once you know the truth about your eating habits. I recommend MY FITNESS PAL to my clients.
Need more help with nutrition planning? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we can set up a month of nutritional coaching!
1. Web MD Link: http://www.webmd.com/diet/calc-bmi-plus
Workouts during pregnancy are directly related to the woman’s fitness level before getting pregnant and also the woman’s physical condition throughout each trimester. Any type of workout attempted should be based on the individuals fitness level and the consent of a physician. That being said, this girl shows what type of fitness level can be maintained even while pregnant.
There are numerous gym tipsI can share to help you achieve performance or fitness related goals. There are so many in fact, that I feel it’s important to first take a general approach, and you can then insert the previous tips I’ve shared into your each step.
1) Determine a clear and specific goal.
2) Evaluate yourself in the three areas of fitness – exercise, nutrition, psychological.
3) Use your goal to create a step-by-step road map that includes incremental victories and ultimate.
4) Find a partner with similar goals and motivation.
5) Re-evaluate yourself each week and identify areas that need improvement.
These basic gym tips are the true steps to achieving any fitness related goal. For example, if you have a general weight loss goal, but you don’t evaluate yourself in each of the three areas of fitness, you could be totally missing that one final piece of the puzzle.
Think of this, you work hard in the gym all 5 days during the week, you eat relatively healthy and get lots of sleep, but for some reason when the weekend comes, it’s a no holds barred food binge. You know you’re sabotaging all your weeks’ hard work, but for some reason you keep doing it, week in and week out. You missed one of the most important aspects of achieving fitness related goals, the mental aspect.
Olympic athletes do it, why shouldn’t you? It’s the practice of visualizing yourself achieving your dream. Whether it’s to run a marathon or lose 10 lbs, this mental practice makes all the difference in the world. In addition to visualizing, you should also ask yourself questions like: Why am I doing this? Why am I sabotaging myself? Do feel like I’m constantly denying myself? Am I still afraid of being fat? Am I running away from the ‘fat kid’ I was in middle school? These questions should elicit feelings and answers that help you understand more about yourself and the things motivating you to either achieve or sabotage your goals.
I hope these gym tips have helped give you insight into what it really takes to achieve your fitness and performance related goals. As a personal trainer, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in each of these areas, and I guarantee that as you master each of these tips, you’ll succeed in reaching your goal.
In the first two gym tips I discussed, we addressed the first two of three crucial components to health, fitness, or athletic success: mental preparation and nutrition. Our next tip is focused on the third component, which is exercise. In order to achieve fitness goals, especially those related to athletic performance, you should incorporate a progressive resistance exercise program into your plan.
A simple explanation of progressive resistance is that of Milo of Croton and his ability to carry an adult bull on his shoulders, which obviously requires amazing strength.
Milo (Greek: ?????) of Croton was a 6th century BC wrestler from the Greek city of Croton in southern Italy who enjoyed a brilliant wrestling career and won many victories in the most important athletic festivals of ancient Greece. In addition to his athletic victories, Milo is credited by the ancient commentator Diodorus Siculus with leading his fellow citizens to military triumph over neighboring Sybaris in 510 BC.
Milo was said to be an associate of Pythagoras. One story tells of the wrestler saving the philosopher’s life when a roof was about to collapse upon him, and another that Milo may have married the philosopher’s daughter Myia. Like other successful athletes of ancient Greece, Milo was the subject of fantastic tales of strength and power, some, perhaps, based upon misinterpretations of his statues. Among other tales, he was said to have carried a bull on his shoulders, and to have burst a band about his brow by simply inflating the veins of his temples.
…Legends say he carried his own bronze statue to its place at Olympia, and once carried a four-year-old bull on his shoulders before slaughtering, roasting, and devouring it in one day. He was said to have achieved the feat of lifting the bull by starting with a newborn ox, and carrying it everyday.
The take-away from this story is that each day Milo lifted just a little more than the day before until he achieved an amazing goal. This is the definition and purpose of progressive resistance exercise.
A well designed fitness plan recognizes that exercise is a systematic method of applying stress to the body. Your body responds to that stress during the recovery process by adapting, and adaptation prepares you for the next workout. In order to achieve a goal, you should plan to increase or change the type of stress applied to the body during workouts (progressive resistance exercise). By changing number of reps, increasing amount of weight, limiting rest periods, or changing the type cardio you do, you’ll be incorporating progressive resistance into your plan.
Remember, the body adapts during the recovery period, not during stress. If you neglect to include recovery time in your workout plan, it may inhibit your ability to progress and improve at the rate you desire (psst…one of the crucial gym tips).
Including progressive exercise in your plan and evaluating yourself from a weekly, monthly, and yearly perspective will prevent you from becoming discouraged about poor performance such as a bad game or a disappointing workout. As you use this theory you’ll begin to appreciate the times when you’re at your best and encourage yourself through times when your motivation is low or the china business of life takes time away from your training schedule.
Progressive resistance is one of my favorite gym tips, and one which I use to determine the type of workouts I do each day. It’s also an excellent concept to remember when recovering from injury or any type of surgical procedure.