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Why Middle Age And Older Adults Should Avoid Ab Machines

over 40 fitness Dec 18, 2023

Walk into most any health club or big box gym in your town and you’ll find the ab machines are one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment. They’re not popular because they work so well at producing a flat stomach, as these machines are massively ineffective for that objective. The machines are popular because a lot of people assume they will work for that objective. I mean after all; most have a picture of the abdominal muscles being targeted right on the equipment instruction placard.

In today’s post I want to discuss with you why I’ve never had a stationary ab machine in any of my personal training gyms, and why I never will. Also, why I won’t ever program these exercises for my middle age and older clients who are on remote personal training programs at the larger health clubs.

Now this isn’t to say these machines won’t apply resistance to the abdominal muscles and they're completely ineffective. I’m simply saying, if...

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Strength Is The Glass

over 40 fitness Sep 25, 2023

In today's post I want to talk about an old quote from legendary strength coach Dan John that has always resonated with me because it is a simple statement of truth. The saying is that "strength is the glass for your body." Everything hinges on the glass as the qualities of health, function, mobility, and resiliency are all dependent on the size and density of the glass that contains it. 

Think about it this way. Say you've got a small shot glass and next to it a large 16 oz mason jar. Obviously, the large mason jar will hold a lot more liquid than the shot glass. Think about the liquid being qualities like balance, stability, mobility, endurance, power, deceleration, stamina, etc. The size of the glass determines how much these qualities can be developed or maintained. 

Now it's important you understand I'm not talking about muscular size here or the overall bulk or density of a person. When I speak of strength, I'm talking about absolute strength from a work capacity...

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8 Proven Strategies For Getting Your Body Back

over 40 fitness Sep 20, 2023

In today's post I want to speak to you about some ways you can begin seeing real results with changing how your body looks and feels. I promise you each one of these is a proven strategy and not just random fillers for content. Whatever you read on this blog I want you to get legitimate value from. Without further ado, let's dig in with strategy number one...

  1.  Make a clear plan on how you're going to achieve your objectives

The first step of ensuring success with your fitness program is taking the time to sit down and write out a blueprint for what needs to happen. You must be clear with what changes will need to happen in your life and how you’ll accomplish them. What time will you exercise each day? When will you go to the grocery store?

I've found that you really do need to focus on preparation and establishing new routines or things just seem to eventually fizzle out. It has been my experience those individuals who make daily preparation a priority in their lives...

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Benefits Of Functional Exercise Over Traditional Health Club Exercises

over 40 fitness Sep 19, 2023

You may have read or heard about the term “functional exercise” being thrown around by personal trainers and fitness experts. With the increased awareness about the importance of core strength, flexibility, and movement patterns, functional exercise has become quite the buzz.

So what exactly is functional exercise? The best definition I’ve found is functional exercise is simply exercise that works the muscles in your body through integration in multiple planes of motion, the same way we move in everyday life.

This is in stark contrast to traditional health club machines that work your muscles in isolation. Although there are some benefits to isolating a muscle (primarily hypertrophy or increasing muscle mass) for most people who want to BOTH look and move better, the benefit of functional training cannot be understated.

It is my opinion that exercise should not be something done while “sitting down.” Exercise should be about conditioning the body within...

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Advice For Beginners On Starting A Workout Routine

over 40 fitness Jun 15, 2022

So you’re looking to get started with a workout routine for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, and the question is, “what exercises should I do?” Starting your fitness program off with the right exercises and the right routine will play a significant role in not only your results, but also with reducing your risk of injuries.

Most people who are unsure about what to do so simply watch others in the gym and mimic what they see them doing or follow a workout on-line. This isn’t a very effective strategy for making sure there’s proper personalization for individual needs. Simply put, the exercises that someone else performs may not be best suited for you at this time.

In today’s post I’ll share with you some strategies to follow when starting a personal fitness program.  

Look to begin with functional exercise when developing a foundation for resistance training.

At my Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios, we...

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Energy Sources During Exercise And Effects On Weight Loss In Middle Age and Older Adults

I’ve often been asked about what makes the body use carbs or fats for fuel both during and after exercise, so today I’ll try to answer this question without hopefully getting overly technical. Bear with me on some of the details, but hopefully by the end of the article I’ll have provided clarity. We’ll get into how your body uses both carbs and fat in energy production along with how this pertains to exercise and weight loss. Understanding the differences will help you make more informed decisions with your pre and post workout nutrition if your goals include changing your body composition.

Alright, let’s start with discussing whether there’s a difference between how the body burns carbs or fats for energy. It’s important to first understand the body really cannot use either carbohydrates or fat directly (in their original form) for energy production. They both must be broken down into smaller units which the cells can then use for energy....

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Why Older Adults Should Most Definitely Prioritize Strength Training

over 40 fitness May 09, 2022

If I asked you what the most important form of exercise is for anyone over the age of 60, what would you say? A lot of individuals would say something like walking, and while aerobic exercise should be without question a top priority, I’d make an argument that strength training should have an even higher priority.

While some will quickly poo-poo that statement, stick with me for a minute while I make my case. Again, just to be clear, this isn’t to say aerobic exercise like walking isn’t beneficial. In fact, it’s something that all adults should regularly look to do for their overall health and wellness. Simply put, we’ve not been designed to sit, but to move! The more you move, the better you move and the more you sit the worse you move.

But the real reason I’m preaching to you today about strength training is that while I see a lot of older adults these days wearing Fitbits and other smartwatches to count their steps and monitor activity (which I...

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What Are The Best Ab Exercises To Help With Getting A Flat Stomach?

over 40 fitness Apr 13, 2022

As a fitness coach one of the most common questions, I get asked is how to improve the appearance of one’s midsection. Many people have been misled into believing that if they do hundreds of crunches and sit-up’s that they’ll end up with a tight, flat stomach.

The truth is that’s not the recipe! While crunches and sit-up’s can be part of well- balanced fitness regiment, you don’t have to do a ton of them, and they’re certainly not the path for fat loss. In my professional opinion, ab isolation exercises are just one piece of the total puzzle in building a strong core and flat stomach that functions as good as it looks.

Here is a summary of my position on ab training: 

  1. Most people are far too obsessed with traditional ab exercises (sit-up’s and crunches) and fail to understand the actual role your abs play in human movement. The primary role of your abdominal muscles is to stabilize the trunk (lumbar-pelvic region) so you can do...
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Cardio vs. Strength Training: Which Is Best For Fat Loss?

There is a common longstanding belief that cardio is the best type of exercise if your goal is to lose weight. This is easy to observe if you walk into most any health club during peak hours. You’ll often find most of the individuals who appear to be exercising for weight loss on the cardio equipment and not so many in the free weight training area.

I believe one of the main reasons behind this is the faulty belief system that in a vacuum, cardio is best for weight loss and strength training is best for muscle building.

While cardio is certainly beneficial for weight loss and obviously strength training is beneficial for building muscle, I’d make the argument that strength training is best for BOTH muscle building and fat loss.

It’s been my experience over the past twenty plus years in the fitness training industry that the key component in a lean body transformation is unequivocally strength training.

Therefore, if you’re goal is fat loss, it should be at...

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