Today’s post will be for a large majority of the population, people who spend a good portion of their day sitting at a desk!! The more technology progresses, the more people sit and stare at a screen for large periods of time, whether it is for a job, for school, or for entertainment. Prolonged sitting has started to rear its ugly head in the form of bad posture as well as nagging mobility limitations for the chronic desk.
The first problem this epidemic presents is the loss of vestibular system use. When an individual looks at a screen all day they don't move their eyes or head enough to excite the vestibular system. The average layperson might not find this important. However, every muscle in the body and every sensory system is attached to the vestibular system. The vestibular system controls balance, posture and reflexes. Motion feeds the vestibular system, which helps nourish the brain and shape the body. This can be easily fixed by pausing desk work periodically and looking around; up, down, left to right. Intentionally moving ones eyes and head will excite the vestibular system.
The next issue in need of correction is breathing pattern. When an individual sits all day, breathing is predominantly in the chest, using muscles in the upper back and neck. This is not how humans were made to breathe; but rather, these are emergency breathing muscles. Human beings were meant to breathe into the diaphragm. Babies are the perfect example of diaphragmatic breathing and usually only resort to chest breathing when sick. This incorrect breathing pattern can be corrected with crocodile breathing. Here’s how: lie face down with the forehead on the tops of hands and relax. Next, take a deep breath in through the nose, sending air down into the pelvis. The stomach should expand into the floor as if an inner tube around the stomach is being inflated. Take 10 deep breathes at any point throughout the day.
An additional issue caused by prolonged periods of sitting is pain in relation to the thoracic spine. This is the middle part of the spine, which usually tightens up after time spent sitting (shoulders will be rolled forward and the upper back will be rounded). This can cause issues from lingering shoulder pain to low back problems and can be addressed with the following correctives:
The last issue in need of correction is the hip. Individuals who sit all day start to create tightness in the
front of their hips and quads. This can lead to lower back and knee pain. Here are a few corrections for
3. Single leg bridge – Lying on his/her back, an individual will pull and hold one knee into their chest. The other leg will be bent with the heel pressing into the floor, spaced about a foot from the butt. Lifting the toes and bracing the core, he/she will press through the planted heel, driving the hips to the ceiling. This position will be held at the top for a second or two, lowered back down and repeated for 10 repetitions each side.
Single Leg Bridge
These correctives should be implemented into the daily routine of anyone who spends long periods of time seated. Breaking every few hours from deskwork, pick one or two exercises to perform from this list. These can also be done at home, after a long day of sitting at the desk.
If you’d like to learn more about this, please contact me, Patrick Hagen
By Personal Trainer, Carla Beam
Did you do your intervals today? Interval training can supercharge your fitness, boost your metabolism, burn off extra fat and
get you rapidly moving towards your goals! So, whether you want to shake up your normal workout routine or want to burn
more calories in less time, incorporate interval training into your weekly routine.
$8 a class for the 1st month only. $50 monthly after the 1st month. These classes are included in the personal training package! We also offer punch cards: 10 classes for $75
Mon. & Wed. 6 AM
Sun. 7 AM
What is interval training?
It's simple: interval training is simply alternating short bursts of intense activity 30 seconds to 1 minute) with longer intervals
of lighter activity (1-2minutes). It’s secret to success is not how many calories you burn during the workout, but rather on how many you burn after the exercise -- and where these calories come from.
An "after-burn effect" or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) occurs in the body after intense exercise drains
muscles of their built-in energy source. It can take up to 24-48 hours for this energy to be replenished. During this time, your
body must draw upon your fat reserves for energy. So, for the next 24-48 hours while you sit at work, watch TV or have a
peaceful nap, your blood cells are rushing around grabbing fat to replenish the energy drained from your muscles.
EPOC is just the immediate benefit: over time, Interval training programs the body to funnel new energy (calories that you
consume) to the muscles instead of sending them to your fat stores! The muscle’s ability to store energy increases, so your
demand for fat release goes up. The more you do interval training, the more of a fat-burning machine you become!
A few more benefits of regular interval training:
1. Efficient -- Whether you want to fit a workout into your lunch break or to get in shape for a fast-approaching event, research shows that you can achieve more progress in a mere 20 minutes of interval training (done 3 x wk) than jogging on the treadmill.
2. Burn More Fat -- Not only do you burn more calories during high intensity interval workouts, but the effect of all that
intense exertion kicks your body's repair cycle into overdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after an interval workout than you do after a steady-pace run.
3. Healthier Heart -- Most people don’t push into the anaerobic zone -- that place where you can't breathe and you feel like
your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results. A recent study found that, after 8 weeks of doing high intensity interval workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
4. No Equipment Necessary -- Running, biking, jumping rope, and rowing are all good for intervals, but you don't need any
equipment. High knees, fast feet or anything plyometric, such as jumping lunges work just as well to quickly raise your heart
rate. In fact, some equipment like dumbbells can make intervals less effective because you want the focus to be on pushing your heart to its max, not your biceps.
5. Lose Weight, Not Muscle -- Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it's hard to avoid losing muscle mass along with fat. While steady-state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that weight training and interval training both allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores.
6. Increase Metabolism -- In addition to burning more fat and building more muscle, interval training stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 40-50% during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. HGH is responsible for increased caloric burn and also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
7. Do It Anywhere – Because it's such a simple concept—go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a
recovery period and repeat—you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.
8. Challenging -- This format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results.
The more you do interval training, the more of a fat-burning machine you become!
You can do interval training at home and with us!
- Personal Trainer, Carla Beam
Here at emPower we don’t train just anybody. We train committed, inspired and
driven individuals. We think of everyone as an athlete, regardless of age or fitness
level. Our goals might be diverse – fat loss, athletic performance, general fitness,
etc. – but our passion for a life of true wellness and our drive to work for what we
want is what brings us together.
You know you train at emPower when...
1. You leave with a sweat-soaked shirt and black knees. Because the workout’s
not over until you’re crawling on the floor (no, really).
2. You say “birthday”, we say “burpees”. Birthday, BURPEES!
3. You see something heavy outside of the studio and think, “I could lift that”.
4. Every time you sit down to a meal you ask yourself, “where’s my protein?”
5. You look forward to being sore (just a little bit) after a new routine.
6. You get a crazy amount of joy from mastering a lift or move you’ve been
working toward for weeks.
7. Your friends have no idea what kettlebells are, and you’re happy to explain.
8. Your hands are covered in calluses...and you’re super proud of it.
9. People around you are working out barefoot...and it’s no big deal.
10. Every day is a Pandora playlist battle. Classic Rock? Hip Hop? Rap!?
11. Getting on the ‘Brag Board’ is a big deal. #daymade
12. When people reference your family you say, “which one?”, because the
community is just that good.
- Nicole Cascio
By Angela Myers
If your goal is to lose fat as fast as possible, it is crucial that you focus your efforts on maximizing your production of the powerful fat burning hormone known as human growth hormone (HGH). Our metabolism prefers to burn glucose for fuel, but HGH forces the body to burn fat for fuel! It raises metabolism both directly and indirectly, by promoting muscle tissue which leads to higher metabolism.
HGH is released by the pituitary gland, and the levels in the body tend to peak during puberty, and then slowly decline with age. For years, bodybuilders have injected synthetic HGH to experience the beneficial effects it has on their body to create a leaner composition. Unfortunately, the synthetic version of this hormone is very expensive, hard to obtain and causes undesirable side effects. The good news is that you can increase your HGH levels naturally, and without any residual side effects. Listed below are the four most effective ways to challenge your body to release more of this hormone:
1. High Intensity Workouts The body produces HGH through high intensity exercise, and numerous studies that have noted the drastic spikes in this hormone as a response to high intensity intervals. As an example, a 2005 study published by University of Bath (England) researcher Keith Stokes, a well recognized expert on HGH and exercise, described the effects of 30-second series sprints sharply increased HGH in the body, and in addition the hormone levels remained elevated roughly two hours after a workout. Says Campbell, “Once the exercise-induced HGH is released, it will target body fat like a heat-seeking missile.” HGH rates spiked by 450% in response to the sprint intervals! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12137178?dopt=Abstract
Key components of HGH releasing workouts:
-always complete a thorough warm up, including the emPower dynamic stretches
-intensity VERY high (should feel like a 9-10 on exertion scale) and short (:30 is ideal, no longer than :45!)
-recovery slow and easy, between 2-3 minutes between intervals.
-overall workout (including warmup and cooldown) less than 45 minutes.
-the exercise needs to be hard enough to induce muscle burning and oxygen debt. Think SPRINTING!
-sprinting uphill in grass is ideal because of reduced ground impact.
-bicycle sprinting on very high resistance is next best, as well as rowing on highest setting, or sled sprints with a heavy sled or band resisted sprints.
2. Avoid high-glycemic-load carbohydrates, especially after workouts. Insulin is a powerful, direct inhibitor of HGH secretion. To prevent the insulin spikes that decrease your body’s HGH level, eat a diet that is higher in fat and protein. Most importantly, to maximize the HGH released by a workout, don't eat carbs in the first two hours after a workout. Whey protein mixed with skim milk or water is a great post workout meal.
3. Insist on sleep. The majority of GH secretion occurs at night during slow-wave (deep) sleep. Along with high-intensity exercise, another natural stimulus of HGH secretion is sleep itself. It is well documented that inadequate sleep or and poor quality sleep can substantially inhibit GH secretion.
4. Plan your last meal of the day carefully. Your last meal of the day is important for maintaining a robust GH/IGF-1 axis. So what does that mean? A high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before bedtime allows for maximum HGH secretion while you sleep.
Still have more questions about how you want to get lean as fast as possible? The key is to stimulate more of this hormone by incorporating these four habits. So if you want to dig deeper, talk to your emPower coach to get details on safely incorporating these workouts into your fat-loss program, and let the results speak for themselves!
Word on the street is that fruits and vegetables are good for you.
But why!? And what exactly are fruits and vegetables?
Let’s start with the basics. A fruit is a seed-bearing structure, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts; roots, leaves and stems. Using this definition, apples, squash and yes, tomatoes are all fruits. Vegetables include all non-seed containing plants such as beets, potatoes, spinach and broccoli.
But why should you eat them?
Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that a diet rich in plants can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases as diets founded on fruit and vegetable intake tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and E.
How many should I eat?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the recommended guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption are as follows:
Vegetables // Fruits
Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower incidence of:
“But I don’t like veggies!”
No excuses! There are many ways to hide veggies in your diet:
If you would like to learn more about how nutrition can help you reach your health and performance goals, contact Nicole Cascio at firstname.lastname@example.org for a nutrition consult or to join one of our ‘Think Yourself Thin’ nutrition support groups.
Get your daily VitaminE on.