Category: Lift Heavy Things

My Weekly Workout Routine

I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking for more details about my workout routine, especially after publishing a Case Against Cardio and the recent video of my beach sprints. Though I do snowboard and hike and love to try my hand at new stuff – especially while traveling – this basic weekly routine has been my foundational regimen for years. Of course, depending on travel, business and family matters, the routine varies, but this is the general idea. Over the years I’ve concentrated much more of my efforts on weight training, with great results. And I’m definitely an “outdoor” kind of guy. One thing I really appreciate about living in Southern California is the great weather; you can’t beat a hike for a natural, challenging work out. (By the way, if you’re not doing resistance activities, I encourage you to start. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are essential, particularly as we age.)

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Hard Core

Core strength – everyone is talking about it. Core is just a buzz word for your midsection, and it’s very important to maximize your core health. A healthy, strong core is the “core” of good health.

A few key steps:

– You must shed that spare tire to naturally improve core health (cut out that sugar, folks).

– Get both resistance and aerobic activity several times a week.

– Do one or two torso-focused exercise sessions a week. The midsection doesn’t need much time: 10 or 15 minutes is enough.

– Maintain good posture.

– Implement some stretching and balance exercises into your workouts.

Trainer Russ Suchala and I were discussing this “core” topic the other day – here’s why you must take care of your core if you want good health:

“Training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, and gives you a great-looking lean midsection.

Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.

Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute drive to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute drive home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.

The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.

Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement. A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.

Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.

Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?

Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash?”

Thanks, Russ. Apples, stick around for more fitness tips in future posts. It doesn’t take much to improve your health and physique – just commitment to action. As I always say, putting on the sneakers is 90% of the battle.

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[tags]core strength, aerobic, posture, exercise, Russ Suchala, training, back pain[/tags]

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Sting Operation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites: News for the men, news for the women, news for the kidlets… 1) First there was cellulite cream…now this? This week in quackery: was it the metrosexual trend that got men worrying about things like body wash and, now, testosterone cream? We’re not complaining about the body wash, but who needs one more unhealthy, questionable miracle cure on the market? Testosterone does diminish with age. But supplementing with hormones is a dicey proposition that we don’t recommend unless there’s a medical need. A better way to keep those hormones pumping naturally (make that several ways): – Pump some iron, guys! – For goodness’ sakes, go to bed before midnight once in a while. – Easy on the beer. – Overcome vegetable aversion. It’s not like they meow. – Express yourself. You don’t have to start writing poetry, but find ways to let those feelings out once in a while. Sports count. – Get plenty of antioxidants in your diet and enhance your intake with a good, potent multivitamin. – Stick to healthy friendships and relationships as much as humanly possible. It’s good to be responsible and reliable, but don’t overlook the damage that too much stress can do to your body’s regulatory functions. We all age (well, except that guy in sales who thinks he does a great Austin Powers imitation). But stress has a big impact on how you age. Cutting back on stress does a lot more for your mojo than any Rx. 2) No one said it was fun… Women, especially young women, are avoiding their annual female exam like the plague. Hey, no one loves it. But five minutes now means prevention of potentially fatal STDs and cancer. Yeah, it’s annoying. And? To learn about the new vaccine for cervical cancer, check this out. Your insurance should cover it, and if not, it’s pretty inexpensive. 3) If you want to live to 100, move here. Just leave a note for the kids first. Or not. Web it out: For the girls (but we know you’re looking, boys): How Much Energy Is In a Kiss? The reason for this clickativity: remember that it doesn’t really take a lot of calories to fuel your body, so choose them wisely. A little food goes a long way. Choose the foods that pack the most nutrition. Which definitely does not include a Hershey’s Kiss. Check out the category “Healthy Tastes Great!” at right for simultaneously delicious and nutritious foods. Dog People: 1, Cat People: 0. At any rate, this is cool health news. Remember that good health is a holistic, comprehensive endeavor. Concentrate on improving quality of life at home, at work, and at the dinner table, and you’ll feel great! Charity-Challenged Brains? This is going to be all over the news in about 20 minutes. That’s because drug merchants (ahem) some people might not want this important news about antidepressants to get out. Though depression varies in magnitude and therefore treatment needs vary, there are … Continue reading “Sting Operation”

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Shocking But True

Did you know almost a third of people who break their hip bones will die from complications?

It’s astounding – and it’s just one more example of how the commonplace is also the unexpected. We panic about bird flu, when the usual flu is really the killer. Movies sensationalize bear and shark attacks when we’re far more likely to get fatally hurt by the neighbor’s dog.

I don’t think this is cause for holing up in your bedroom (after all, you’re much more likely to die falling out of bed than being in a plane crash or getting shot). I don’t even think it’s cause for yet another worry. It’s simply a good reminder that we humans aren’t so good at risk assessment. We have irrationally huge fears about things that will probably never affect us, and we underestimate the garden-variety threats. (Check out my post “Risk Schmisk” using the search option at right to learn more about our quirky brains.)
What this means: We are far more likely to be hurt by everyday encounters – and a lot of these can be prevented with some reasonable lifestyle measures. Call me a silver-lining type of guy – I think this is pretty good news. For the most part, we don’t have to worry about catastrophic or unpredictable health threats. We are lucky in that we can prevent most health problems. In the case of hip bone fractures, which plague far too many Americans, there are some very simple ways to stop this unexpectedly dangerous occurrence.

Regular weight-bearing activity like weight lifting, walking, hiking or jogging is a great way to maintain and build bones. Avoid soda, take a multivitamin containing calcium, and remember to take it easy by avoiding stressful situations as much as you can.
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[tags]hip bones, flu, weight-bearing activity, everyday risks[/tags]

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