Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Five Rules To A Better Workout
If you want to start doing workouts that will create lasting fat burn, better muscle definition, and contribute to lifelong health, you must start applying the five workout rules below when going through your workouts.
These five rules were created after years of experience, research, and testing to figure out not only what works best when it comes to burning fat, but what workouts are best for your body.
Applying these rules to your workouts will boost fat burning, muscle definition, and overall health. If you are serious about changing the way you look, start following these rules:
1. The more intense your workouts, the better:
You have heard me say this before, and you will hear me say it again. The more intense your workouts are, the more fat you will burn. The “fat burning zone” is a way of the past. Study after study has proven high intensity workouts are superior to long slow cardio.
In a study done by Experimental Biology, researchers found that maximal fat utilization occurs at an intensity near anaerobic threshold. This essentially means, the more intense your workout is, the more fat you will burn.
2. Activate as many muscles as possible:
While doing isolated exercises may give you that burning sensation or “the pump” as bodybuilders call it, the real fat burning comes when you activate as many different muscles with each exercise you do.
For example, doing a barbell squat will burn fat more calories than doing a leg extension.
Plus, compound movements will also help you gain strength faster and build lean muscle easier.
Isolated exercises do have a time and place but when looking to burn the most fat, stick to compound movements!
3. Keep your workouts to no longer than 30-60 minutes
Back in college, my coach forced me to keep my resistance workouts to no longer than 60 minutes. The reason for this was he said our brains start to lose focus after the 60-minute mark. Later, as I did some of my own research I found it to be true. Not only that, but I also discovered that workouts lasting longer than 60 minutes can have a negative effect on fat burning!
Here is the quick breakdown of how our body responds during workouts:
  • Start of the workout: Our bodies naturally start producing testosterone as we engage in intense exercise (remember, testosterone is a good thing, even for women. It keeps us strong, lean, and healthy!)
  • 15 minutes into the workout: Our bodies are still producing testosterone, which allows us to burn fat and get lean.
  • 30 minutes into the workout: Testosterone peaks at the 30 minute mark.
  • 45 minutes into the workout: Focus decreases, and testosterone levels start dropping down to baseline.
  • 60+ minutes into the workout: Our bodies start producing less testosterone and start producingmore cortisol which can lead to increased fat storage and will hurt lean muscle growth.
As you can see, testosterone levels peak at the 30 minute mark which means you will get the most out of your workouts when staying in that time frame. A few minutes here or there, won’t make a huge difference but a workout lasting over 60 minutes will actually cause you to store fat because of the increase in cortisol (also known as the fat storing hormone!)
In short, keep your workouts to 30 minutes and no longer than 60 minutes.
4. Include sprints 2-3 times per week
Sprints are the most powerful physique shaping workout on the planet. As was stated earlier, the closer you work to you anaerobic threshold, the better. Sprints are the prime definition for working near or at that threshold.
Sprints will directly target eliminating stomach fat, and is a workout that makes your abs “pop”. Plus, it increases testosterone and Growth Hormone which both play a vital role in keeping us lean and healthy.
5. Walk daily
The more time you spend walking, the less time you spend sitting. Instead of spending hours at the gym working out, a far more beneficial approach would be to workout 3-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes, then walk 30-60 minutes daily out in the sunshine.
Walking will help burn fat, plus you will get your daily dose of Vitamin D which is something we all need!
If you want to start burning more fat, get leaner, and improve your overall health, start applying these five rules into your weekly workouts. Keep you workouts simple, intense, and short and watch as your results start to soar!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Want to get Healthy?  Take a Nap!
How often do you hear someone say, “I had a great night’s sleep last night!” or “I feel refreshed and energetic!”?  Probably not very often.  Feeling sluggish seems to be the new normal.  In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, it is the new normal:  most Americans are sleep-deprived.  But not getting enough sleep may be causing more trouble for you than just that pesky drowsy feeling:  it could be seriously harming your health.

Why aren’t we sleeping?

Centuries ago, it was common for people to sleep 8 to 9 hours each day.  But now, only about 25% of Americans get 8 or more hours of sleep.  The reasons we are not sleeping are many.  We live in a 24/7 society—practically anything we want to do is available around the clock, from fitness centers to pharmacies to department stores. 
We are working long hours, transporting our kids to activities, trying to make time for friends and fitness and entertainment.  When the heat is on, the first thing to go is usually sleep.  And it’s usually not even a conscious decision to skimp on sleep-we just get in bed a little later most nights, because we are so pressed and pushed. 
But even when we get into bed, we aren’t guaranteed sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60% of Americans have sleep problems.  That means more than half of us struggle to sleep.  And it is taking its toll.

Dangers of sleep deprivation

"The foundations of good health are good diet, good exercise and good sleep, but two out of three doesn't get you there,"1
-- Dr. Anne Calhoun, neurology professor,                           University of North Carolina.
Eating healthily and getting plenty of exercise are not enough to make up for the danger that sleep deprivation poses to your health.  Adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night, although some studies indicate that as little as 7 and one-half hours can be sufficient.  Getting less than that can have serious consequences:
·         Risk of Cardiovascular Disease:  If you get less than 6 hours of sleep each night and have disturbed sleep, you have a 48% greater risk of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from a stroke.2  Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, blocked arteries, stroke, kidney disease and dementia. 

·         Obesity: Sleep shortage is directly linked to obesity.  When you don’t get enough sleep, two powerful hormones that control hunger are disrupted.  The result is that you feel hungrier and have fewer sensations of feeling “full.” 

But without enough sleep you will also feel more stressed, which encourages the production of the hormone cortisol in your body.  This hormone causes you to crave high-carbohydrate foods such as potato chips and brownies, and then deposits those carbs as fat around your belly—the most dangerous place to store fat.

Pre-diabetes is also a risk for those who don’t get enough sleep.  Trying to get by on less than 6 hours of sleep per night can cause impaired glucose tolerance. 

·         Compromised immune system:  Why is it that two people can be exposed to the same germs, but only one of them gets sick?  The reason is the immune system.  If your immune system is functioning well, you can ward off many illnesses.  But if something happens to compromise your immune response, you will be vulnerable to infections, bacteria, viruses, and even some autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and asthma.

When you do not get enough sleep, your immune system becomes stressed and compromised.  You actually have a decrease in white blood cells, and those that remain are less active.  The result is that you will get sick more often.

·         Impaired exercise performance:  As if the threat of heart disease, obesity and immune suppression weren’t enough, lack of sleep can negatively impact your fitness efforts.  It’s not uncommon for people to struggle to maintain their normal level of workout intensity when they are sleep deprived.  You just won’t have the energy to push through.  Also, your muscles repair and rebuild while you sleep:  if you don’t allow your body this recovery time, you will be at a significant disadvantage during your next workout.

Make time for sleep

The truth is, if you don’t make time now for adequate sleep, you will likely be forced in the future to make time for illness.  It may take significant effort to arrange your schedule and priorities to carve out time for more sleep, but the payoff will be increased health, energy and productivity!
Ready for a nap?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


 I know someone who can bench press 500 pounds, but gets exhausted when
he carries groceries up the stairs. #ThatsNOTwhyyoulift

C'mon, let's leave the bench press contests for another day. 

Here are 3 fitness tests to go after with tenacity if you find 
yourself in a rut or want to know your starting point...

Fitness Test # 1 - The Core Test

Can you hold a plank for a full 2 minutes?

I'm talking about maintaining those abs braced hard, not letting
your hips sag AT ALL. Can't hold it for 2 minutes? Let's get that
core stronger. Add in these moves 2-3 times a week into your routine...

Spiderman Climbs
Mountain Climbers (at a SLOW pace)
X-Body Mountain Climbers
Ab Wheel Rollouts
Hand Walk-outs
Variety of Planks
High-Rep DB Rows
etc., etc.

Here's an ab finisher you can plug into your routine twice a 
week to improve your core strength and endurance (while building 
a bullet-proof back).

It's not fancy - VERY simple. 

Do the following superset 3 times, resting for 30 seconds after 
each superset.

Ab Wheel or Stability Ball Rollouts (10)
Spiderman Climb (8/side)
Then rest 1 minute followed by ONE plank to failure. Try to improve 
your time each week on the plank.

Fitness Test # 2 - Bodyweight Squat Test

This will test lower body muscular endurance.
Sit on a chair with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor just 
outside shoulde our legs should show a 90-degree angle.

Stand up.
Sit back down until you're on the chair or bench.

Repeat as many times as you can using just your legs (no hands 
on your knees for leverage). Once you can't keep a tempo of taking
1 second to come up and 2 seconds to lower yourself, you're done. 

Not there yet? No problem. Here's how to fix it...

You might have muscular imbalances. Start doing single leg 
work like a variety of lunges, split squats and the evil Bulgarian 
Split Squats. Replace your normal squats with one of those.

If you're behind a desk all day, then focus on bringing your 
knees out to the sides as you lower yourself into a bodyweight squat. 
You have tight hips and you need to unlock those. 

Fitness Test # 3 - The Pushup Test

You guessed it - you'll be testing your upper body muscular 
endurance. Your pushing muscles allow you to... push stuff.


It's simple... Do as many pushups as you can (your chest needs to 
be only about 2-3 inches from the floor for it to count). Use a tempo
of 1 second to go down and 1 second to come up. Once you break that 
tempo, you're done. 

Also - keep those elbows tucked (you'll save your shoulders).

Don't measure up?

It's simple - practice pushups. That, and include a variety of DB 
Chest Presses into your program, focusing on the eccentric 
(lowering) phase.

Take the DB Chest Press for example. Take about 5 seconds to 
lower the weight and one second to press it up. This will tax your 
muscles more, while building up endurance.

The same goes for pushups - focus on eccentric pushups. So take 
about 4 seconds to lower yourself, and one second to come up.

You'll jack up your endurance while at the same time, fry your 
abs. You're very welcome. 

Have fun with those tests and remember - you don't have to become
a legend with all of them. Focus on one goal at a time. 

Challenge yourself leaner and get out of your rut
David E Knapp NCSF_MCPT