Tag Archives: Health

It’s Getting Hot In Here

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A quick delicious Indian-style curry with spinach, chickpeas, onions, and/or whatever veggies you have. I have added cauliflower, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to this recipe in the past. All were very good. Serve with nan, pita or rice if desired.mmmmmmm Happiness.


Is This Your Idea Of A Group Workout

imageMy complete lack of focus and also my ignorance of my surroundings were both things that alcohol can cause. Alcohol and bodybuilding simply don’t mix! This article is not intended to dissuade people from using alcohol moderately, for recreational purposes, but will point out, from an athlete and a researcher’s point of view, its significant shortcomings Alcohol consumption is not something that any bodybuilder wants to get involved with because it has many adverse effects on everything we need to gain muscle- hydration, recovery, anabolism, and focus being a few examples.I know nobody would ever think of consuming alcohol directly before a workout or after one – but even having a few drinks a night or two before a workout can cause a negative impact on you. Since alcohol consumption is very hard on the kidneys, drinking will have a negative impact on your body’s hydration. Your body’s water will go to the kidneys to metabolize the alcohol when it should be used to help process other substances! Hydration is key to performance in sports or weight lifting because water is needed in all energy-creating reactions. It can take the body awhile to become re-hydrated, so I suggest if you are out drinking, have a glass of water as well, to maintain proper hydration.


Primal Instincts Teaser #2

THE BRITISH FLAG

The Untied Kingdom Flag – The Union Jack

Incinerate calories, matrix approved stamina, increase your endurance and full body strength. It is broken down into two Tough Spotter stages, the first stage is designed to prepare you, and the second stage burns calories, speeds up your metabolism, and develops stamina.

Tough Spotter Duration: 20 minutes

  • Spotter      Intensity:      Medium to High- Tough Spotters never go lower GRRRRRRR
  • Equipment: weighted vest,  heavy bag, logs, rocks, whatever your heart desires J!

Tough Spotter warm up

Run 3 – 5 minutes up a steep incline whilst carrying at least 30-35 lbs of weight / wear a weighted vest. Stay at 60% to 75% of your physical limit for warm up duration. The purpose of this stage is to get you warmed up and ready for Tough Spotter Stage #2.

Spotter Highlighted Tips: Improvise by carrying a weight behind your neck whilst walking up and down stairs, or even carry a heavy bag in each hand whilst stepping up and down onto a single step or bear hugging a heavy bag.

Remember! Stay at 75% intensity, don’t burn out! You can go Tough Spotter ballistic in the next stage.

Tough Spotter Stage #2 – Intense Interval Training

Set up a small circuit of 4 – 6 exercises. Now do each exercise one after the other at 100% intensity – with no rest in between 🙂 Each lap of your circuit should take no more than 3 minutes.

Incorporate some of these exercises:

  • Chin-ups or Pull-ups.
  • Pushups.
  • Presses – pushing a weight above your head or chest.
  • Sit-ups (not crunches).
  • Squats or Leg Raises.

Vary the exercises so you’re working as much of your body as possible

 Send us your times the best time will be featured on our site Best Of Luck


How to Squat Properly

The squat is a key functional movement that is essential to building strength and fitness and maintaining overall health.  There are a lot of common misconceptions about the squat that are perpetuated by misinformed media outlets and health and fitness professionals.  You may be familiar with many of these myths, such as, “Squats will damage your knees”, “You’re not supposed to squat beyond 90 degrees/parallel”, or “Squats are bad for your back”.  First, it is important to understand that the full squat is a natural movement that is necessary for everyday life.  The squat movement allows you to get up from a sitting position and also to pick up objects from the ground.  If you’ve ever spent any time observing a young child, it becomes clear that the ability to squat correctly is something that humans are born with, but then forget in the process of becoming older and exchanging natural play for structured sports and activities.

To learn how to execute a proper squat, it is advisable that you first practice air squats, which are squats performed using only your bodyweight.  Follow these steps for a proper squat:

1.)  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  The toes should be turned out slightly at about a 15-30 degree angle.  The head and spine should be in a neutral position, with the head lifted and ears over the shoulders, which are pulled back slightly.

2.)  Begin the movement by pushing your hips down and back, as though you are going to sit down in a chair.  Raise the arms and hands out and up as you squat down.  For a challenge, the arms are raised alongside the ears as close as possible.

3.)  As your hips go down and back, maintain the natural curve of your lumbar spine and keep your weight in the heels of the feet.  Do not allow your weight to come forward onto the balls of your feet.

4.)  Do not look down at the ground, but keep your head up and ears in line with the shoulders throughout the squat movement.  Your gaze should be slightly above parallel at all times.

5.)  Keep the torso elongated and the midsection tight as you descend.  The knees should track over the insoles of the feet, but they should not move forward or roll outside of the feet.

6.)  Go down beyond when the thigh is parallel to the ground.  You’ve reached the full squat position when the hip fold is below the knee.  The bottom of the squat should not be a resting position, but your hip flexors and core should be engaged.

7.)  Use the glutes and hamstrings to rise from the squat, following the same route that you took on the way down.  Do not shift forward or move the feet, but focus on putting pressure on the outside of the feet as you push up.

8.)  At the top of the squat, stand tall with the hips and knees extended.

Be sure to include the squat regularly into your training routine for best results!

 


Keep Those Curves Ladies & Work It Out

Katy 1 body defination

When you think of muscle you think of guys, but muscle matters for women too! Muscle = weight loss, All women should be looking to build a bit of muscle, both to look good and lose weight. If you have the basics of building muscle down but simply need a few more pointers to get you along your way, take a look at the following tips from Spotter Katy on advice for women who want to build muscle.

1. Push yourself. While you don’t want to workout too often, when you are working out, you want to make sure you cannot do one more repetition in a set because you are too exhausted. You want it to burn (this feeling is lactic acid stimulating muscle growth), leaving the next set harder to do.

2. With burn comes resistance, and with resistance comes stronger muscles and a more toned look.

3. Harness the big three exercises. The big three exercises when you build muscles include the deadlift, squatting, and the bench press. They should always be included in your workout plan in some fashion as they build strength.

4. Workout a few times a week. You should workout at a minimum of 3 times a week – that should provide more than enough exercise required by your body to build muscles. If you’re more advanced at lifting weights and have done it for a while, you have the ability to attempt maybe one or two more sessions a week – alternatively, if you’re new, start with 2 a week. If you haven’t got a workout, follow our site for workout ideas.

5. Keep it balanced, but limited. You want to focus on both cardiovascular workouts like running and biking while you try to build muscles. However, if you never want to do both extremes at once – for example, training to run a marathon while still lifting 5 times a week. It is great to mix cardio and strength training, but just don’t push each to the max at the same time.

6. Eat well (www.thepaleonurse.com).  The importance of nutrition in the fitness equation cannot be overstated.  Adopt a whole food, nutrient-dense diet that excludes all processed foods.

7. Measure body fat, not weight. If you are participating in a diet and weight loss regime and perform strength training, be sure to measure body fat – not your weight. If you’re actually gaining muscle, you will be gaining weight (pounds on the scale), even if you’re losing fat in other places on your body. Remember, weight does not equal size – it’s about how you look in the mirror, not how much you weigh!

8.  Consume healthy carbohydrates.  Instead of processed carbohydrates and grains, opt for starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and squash.  Include some fruit in your diet as well.

9. Consume protein before and after workouts. Consume about 10 to 20 grams of protein less than an hour before training to help increase the muscle-building effect of training.

10. Shoot for the stars, but it might take a while. It takes a long time to send a rocket shuttle into space and to complete a mission at NASA — this analogy applies to your weight building efforts. You need to make sure to set systematic, reasonable goals for your muscle building program that you can track, progress, and meet overtime. It also needs to be said that genetic plays a role in building muscles – if your body wasn’t designed for a large frame, it’ll be harder to achieve.

Spotters, the bottom line, however, is that if you keep training you will lose weight, and you will also gain muscle and strength. It’s time for the women to get in the gym and start training with weights! Girl Power all the way Spice up your life!

If you need any advice about training with weights or muscle building for women email us toughspotgym@gmail.com  and we will answer you.


Functional Training: What it is and why you need to be doing it!

functional“Functional training” has become one of the buzz words in the health and fitness industry in the last several years.  So, what is functional training?  Functional training involves exercising the body in ways that prepare it for activities of daily living.  Physical therapists were the original teachers of functional training, as the method is used to help patients recover from injuries or surgeries and return to their normal activities that they need to perform at home and work.  In the context of the fitness world, functional training helps you to be able to perform activities of daily living safely and more efficiently.  If your typical activities involve sports, functional training can also be applied to help you improve certain skills that you use in the sport.

Functional exercises tend to involve multiple joints and muscles.  Most functional training is performed while weight-bearing and likely involves muscles of the hip flexors, abdomen, and back.  A great example of a functional exercise is the squat.  The squat involves both the hip and the knee joints and activates the primary muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus.  As secondary stabilizer muscles, the erector spinae, transverse abdominus, abductors, adductors, and calf muscles are also activated with the squat.  The squat can easily be applied to daily activity as it mimics being able to sit down and get back up.  There are numerous types of functional exercises, including the deadlift, pull-up, push-up, lunge, kettlebell swing, and any number of compound movements, such as a squat to overhead press.

Exercises that are performed on machines tend to be at the lower end of the functional training continuum because machines isolate muscles and joints.  That is not to say that machines should never be incorporated into workouts, as there are good uses for isolating muscles at times.  However, if you are hoping to strengthen your body in a way that allows you to apply the strength to your everyday life, you definitely need to incorporate some functional training into your workouts.  Come check us out at the Tough Spot Gym to learn more about functional training!


Do that Thing Just Do It Diferrent

Push ups are a great work out that exercises your chest, shoulders, triceps,  abdomen and lateral muscles (connecting to your back). They’re also extremely  easy to do and are a more than adequate alternative to bulky equipment or costly  gym memberships. Still, they can be awfully boring if they’re the only thing you  do, and boredom is the death knell of a consistent exercise routine.  As well, you might not be maximizing the workout potential by doing traditional  push ups only. Get more from your push-up routine try our KATMA Strength & Conditioning Guide Tough Spotters push routine to keep it spicy


The Importance of Nutrition in the Fitness Equation

One of the common questions that we receive at the Tough Spot Gym is, “How can I lose weight and get in shape?” (Or one of the many variants thereof- “What’s the fastest way I can lose 10 lbs?”, “How can I slim down my hips and thighs?”, “How can I lose the post-baby weight?”, “How can I reduce fat and build muscle?”, etc.).  Our philosophy at the Tough Spot Gym is that each person is unique and what works for one person may not be the right formula for another individual.  However, although the specifics may differ for each person, many may be surprised to learn that the fitness hierarchy does not actually start with physical activity- the cardio, the cross-training, and the weight-lifting.  Whether your fitness goal is weight loss, muscle gain, sports performance improvement, or chronic disease symptom reduction, one common factor is absolutely essential to your success…NUTRITION.
The importance of nutrition in the fitness equation cannot be over-emphasized.  It is simply impossible to out-train a poor diet.  No amount of time spent pounding the treadmill or hoisting the weights will be able to catch up with excessive amounts of hydrogenated fats, processed sugars and carbohydrates, and additives in your diet (or equally as devastating severe calorie restriction or malnutrition that is caused by many popular “diet” plans).  In the health and fitness world, this is sometimes referred to as the “80/10/10 Rule”.  It is estimated that for the average person, what you put into your mouth accounts for about 80% of your body’s appearance.  The remaining part of the equation is impacted by exercise (10%) and genetics (10%).

In our practice, we have seen rare exceptions to the 80/10/10 rule and the impact of nutrition on fitness goals is certainly irrefutable.  The proper combination of foods and timing of meals ensures that the body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function optimally,  increase the metabolism, and recover faster from workouts.  It is important to note that “healthy nutrition” does not equal “diet”.  Research shows that diets simply don’t work long-term.  Furthermore, many diets are actually unhealthy because they don’t provide the body with varied nutrients and they usually contain highly processed ingredients preservatives, and chemical additives.

Our nutrition philosophy is fairly simple- fuel your body with real, whole foods that are as close as possible to their natural form.  As inspired by the words of Michael Pollen (a nutrition journalist), if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, don’t eat it!  At each meal, combine protein, carbohydrates (only those that are properly prepared), and healthy fats.  For the macronutrient composition, most people should obtain approximately 40% of their total caloric intake from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats.


About Your New Year Resolution

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We  understand. We  wish I had a magic solution for you and millions of others. Basically, keep doing something each day even if it is just stretching for 5-10 minutes or walking a few minutes after meals. There are many opinions on how long it physiologically takes to build a habit. For daily lifestyle changes, it may only take 3-4 weeks. For athletic movements like throwing a baseball, it may take 10,000 repetitions to get good at it. So, if you can just add in something to your world for 10 minutes a day for 3-4 weeks, you will build a habit. Then that will be able to grow to 20-30 minutes a day of NEW activity to get healthy. You have to do this IF you want to feel better, look better, and be an example to others.

About Your New Year Resolution

By week three of the New Year, the word “resolution” has left our vocabulary. Either by now you have made your resolution a daily habit and will be one of the less than 50% who actually accomplish their goal or, statistically speaking, have resorted back to your old ways. Do not feel bad, this happens every year to millions of us. Typically, 40-45% of Americans make resolutions. In fact, you are TEN times more likely to achieve a goal by making a resolution at the New Year than not – so that is the good news for those of you who started a resolution. It is NOT a waste of time. However, it is time to make it an obtainable goal


Cardio versus Strength Training for Weight Loss

weightlossThere are a lot of conflicting opinions in the health and fitness industry regarding which exercise modality is most effective for weight loss- cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise versus strength (resistance/weight) training. The weight loss law states that energy expenditure must be greater than energy intake in order for weight loss to occur. Of course, the importance of good nutrition in this equation cannot be overstated! But when it comes down to choosing which type of exercise will contribute the most to fat loss, which one is most effective?

A method of measuring energy expenditure is the amount of calories burned. When considering calories only, research shows that cardiovascular exercise burns more calories per hour than strength training. Accordingly, cardiovascular exercise is a very important part of a weight loss or maintenance regimen. Besides contributing to quick energy expenditure, cardio strengthens the heart and lungs and has numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer, increased bone density, decreased stress, elevated mood and relief from depression and anxiety, less fluctuation in blood glucose levels, protective aging effects, and many more!

While it is clear that cardiovascular exercise burns more calories per hour, the amount of calories burned after strength training is higher. In scientific terms, strength training leads to a higher exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). This means that strength training will lead to a higher metabolism, or amount of calories burned to maintain normal body functions, for a longer period of time than cardiovascular exercise. While the metabolism remains elevated for 30-60 minutes after a cardio workout, it will increase for up to 48 hours after strength training. It is also important to note that muscle mass itself increases the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR determines the majority of calories burned during the day, so the more muscle mass that you have, the greater the number of calories you will burn, even when you’re not exercising. Like cardiovascular exercise, strength training also has numerous health benefits, including increased bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis, anti-aging effects, injury prevention, and immune system boosting effects, among many others.

When it comes to weight loss, both cardiovascular exercise and strength training are critical components. The amount, intensity, frequency, and timing of cardio and strength training may vary depending on your specific goal and your fitness baseline. When designing a weight loss program, it is also important to include all of the components of fitness- cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

At the Tough Spot Gym, our philosophy is that true fitness is about much more than weight loss!  We cultivate a comprehensive approach to fitness and health to help you become the best that you can be.


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