Archive | October, 2012

Post 6 – From Working Out to Working In

26 Oct

If you live in the South Jersey area, you know Hurricane Sandy is on the horizon. The impending storm can potentially cause problems when it comes to traveling, which also means getting to the gym.

Working out at home can be an efficient alternative if you can’t get to the gym. John Costantino, a 19-year-old junior, had his car break down on Thursday and could not get to the gym. Despite the inconvenience, Costantino went trough his workout routine with objects around the house.

(John Costantino stretching out his hamstrings before his at home workout to prevent inuries / Photo taken by Tyler Mulvey)

(John Costantino, an experienced lifter, prefers diamond push ups to traditional push ups / Photo taken by Tyler Mulvey)

(Tricep dips can be done on any surface. Costantino chooses two chairs / Photo taken by Tyler Mulvey)

 (“Sprints raise my heart rate and really get my blood pumping. I love to end my workouts with them,” says Costantino / Photo taken by Tyler Mulvey)

 (Studies show that soy, whey, and casein protein taken after a workout builds muscle / Photo taken by Tyler Mulvey)

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Post 7 – A Week Workout Is Better Than A Weak Workout

26 Oct

It can be overwhelming to think about an entire week dedicated to the gym. A Monday through Friday routine, dedicated to lifting weights and pushing your body to the limit. You might be asking yourself, “where do I start?”

I am going to lay out for you a complete workout schedule for Monday through Friday along with directions for each workout. By following this routine, you will minimize your chance of injury and maximize your opportunity to see results. Click on the name of the workout for directions on how to do each exercise.

Monday: Shoulders

1. Shoulder Press: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

2. Lateral Shoulder Raises: 3 Sets- 10 reps, 10 reps, 10 reps. Keep the weight the same, until the third set, add five pounds.

3. Arnold Shoulder Press: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set. During these sets, use less weight then you would during shoulder press.

4. Dumbbell Front Raises: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

Tuesday: Biceps and Triceps 

1. Dumbbell Bicep Curl: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

2. Hammer Curls: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set. Use lighter weight than with dumbbell bicep curls.

3. Barbell Preacher Curls: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

4. Overhead Cable Curls: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

5. Triceps Kickbacks: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 12 reps, 12 reps. Keep the weight between five and 15 pounds.

For this exercise  you do not have to use a lot of weight. The results will be the same whether you use 15 pounds or 50 pounds. All you do by adding a lot of weight is increase your risk of injury.

6. Triceps Push Down: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

7. Triceps Dips:   3 Sets- 12 reps, 12 reps, 12 reps. If this is too easy for you, or you are looking for a challenge, try using a dip belt.

8. Dumbbell Skull Crusher: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

Wednesday: Chest

1. Bench Press: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

2. Incline Barbell Bench Press: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

3. Lower Chest Cable Raise: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

4. Chest Fly: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

Thursday: Back 

1. Lat Pull Downs: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

2. Seated Rows: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

3. Pull Ups: 5 Sets- 10 reps, 10 reps, 10 reps. If this is too easy for you, or you are looking for a challenge, try using a dip belt. If this is too difficult, use assistance by having someone hold onto your knees and help lift you.

4. Back Fly: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

Friday: Legs

1. Squats:3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

2. Leg Press: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

3. Leg Extension: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

4. Leg Curls: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

5. Calf Raises: 3 Sets- 12 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps. Add weight to each set.

If you follow this workout closely for six weeks you will start to not only feel better about yourself, but you should start see results*. It is important that after six weeks you change up your workout, otherwise your muscles will get used to the same movements and not have the same benefits. Switching up your workout is called “shocking” your muscles.

If you need a gym in South Jersey to go to, here are a few options:

1. Retro Fitness- Turnersville

2. Manzo’s Gym– Glassboro

3. Vanity Health Club– Pitman

4. Bodyblast Personal Training– Sicklerville

5. Curves– Haddonfield (for women only)

Happy lifting! If you have trouble with any of the exercises, drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

 

*Results are not guaranteed.

Post 5: Working out with John and Kimmi

20 Oct

When it comes to health and fitness, two well known trainers in the South Jersey area are John Tyson and Kimmi Sterner. Tyson is the Rowan University Intramural Manager and Supervisor as well as a certified personal trainer. Sterner is also a personal trainer, as well as a turbo kick, YogaFit, and Spin instructor at Rowan University. When it comes to lifting and staying active, these two know the tips of trade. Both recently sat down with me to tell me what they know about health and fitness in South Jersey.

Courtesy of John Tyson

Kimmi Sterner
Courtesy of Kimmi Sterner

Tyler: Thanks you two for talking with me today!

John: No problem!

Kimmi: Of course!

T: So tell me, at what age did you start to get into fitness? 

J: I was about fifteen years old.

K: When I was a senior in high school I began expressing an interest in fitness. Nothing too serious, I just really wanted to start doing yoga.

T: So you both were in high school at the time. What made you interested in fitness? 

J: I had starting gaining weight after I quit sports in sixth grade. I joined a summer basketball league and lost about 20 pounds over the summer. Aside from feeling and looking better, when I got back to school it brought me a lot of good attention that I was not used to. This was something that boosted my self esteem while allowing me to get into a healthy lifestyle. 

K: My senior year of high school I was severely depressed- it was bad. I started looking for other ways to solve the issue other than medication. That is when I started taking yoga, joining the gym, and beginning to find what it is that makes me happy.

T: Kimmi, since those days in high school you have come a long way. You are now well decorated in certifications. How many do you have?

K: As of now I have certifications for YogaFit, Turbokick, PiYo, Hip Hop Hustle, Spinning, AFAA Primary Group Exercise, and ACE Personal Training.

T: John you also are certified in personal training. Describe the process to me. 

J: First, research which CPT license you want and how much it costs to take the test. For example, there is ACSM, NASM, ACE, etc. They all have different prices and have different topics. Purchase whatever study materials you feel are necessary for you to learn the most and take the most out of. There are flash cards and all types of different books that go into more detail with some of the topics for each one of the tests. Study for a good 12 to 24 weeks so that you have enough time to actually learn and not rush the material. Sign up for a test date and testing center. The last thing you do is actually take the test. If you follow this process then you should have no worries.

T: I imagine it is a gratifying feeling to train someone. Can you explain the feeling to me?

K: The feeling I get when I train someone is indescribable. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, training a client never fails to put me in a better one. I’m lucky enough to get the chance to change a life every single day. Being a trainer isn’t just about fitness- it’s therapy for people. Each time I train a client I am reassured that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

J: Exactly. The feeling I get when I am training someone is somewhat comparable to the feeling of giving someone a gift on Christmas. It just feels good to see that person want and anticipate something so much, and I am the one to help give that gift to them and bring a smile to their face. It is an amazing feeling.

T: Can you give my readers some advice on how to stay healthy in South Jersey? 

K: Wake up early, work harder than anyone you know, and before you go to bed at night feel confident that you did something that day for yourself that made you feel healthy and energized. Oh…and don’t funnel beers every night.

J: The journey of living a healthy lifestyle is something you have to do for yourself. When you do it for others the feeling will not be intrinsic and you will not enjoy it as much. Don’t rush into making a lifestyle change. It is a process that takes time and if you do it the right way it will be something that becomes habitual and enjoyable.

T: Along the same lines of advice, what do you tell your clients when they first start out? 

J: I tell my clients that whatever you give into this program is what you will get out of it. If you don’t give it 100 percent, you cannot expect to get 100 percent of the results back. I tell them to always stay positive. If they don’t see the results they want immediately and if they continue to give it their all, they will get to where they want to be at the right time.

K: I tell them that what they are doing is amazing! However, there’s a difference between being interested in getting in shape and being committed to it. I tell them that they’ll find out which one they are when they are faced with an obstacle or set back. I tell them this because they will either keep pushing through because it’s important to them, or they’ll give up. It’s my job to get them to commit.

T: What is one mistake people tend to make when starting out?

J: Definitely running too much. A lot of people think cardio is the immediate answer to all problems when it actually is the smallest part of making physical changes and lifestyle changes. Strength training and nutrition is a lot more crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you run too much, all you do is eat away your muscle and contribute to your body fat instead of decreasing it. It honestly is a double edged sword.

K: People starting out tend to do exactly what society says is “right.” What people don’t realize is everyone is different and honestly, getting in shape is pretty easy- the key is to find something you like to do. When embarking on the journey to get fit everyone automatically assumes they have to suffer. The truth is, if you do the things that you don’t like doing, you’ll give up a lot quicker than if you find something you like to do.

T: Thank you both for spending time with me today and teaching not only my readers, but myself so much about what you do and why you do it. You gave a lot of  great advice and I can’t wait to apply it to my life. How can my readers get in touch with you if they are interested in you becoming their trainer in South Jersey? 

J: They can visit my website. (If the link does not work, copy and paste “users.rowan.edu/~tysonj44” into your browser.) My email is linked there to contact me, my certifications are on there, and also some information about health and fitness.

K: Go to the Rowan Recreation Center main office! Fill out a form and just request Kimmi

Post 4 – Working Out Your Brain

10 Oct

In the gym most people have one goal: improve their body. Rarely do you ask someone why they work out and they say, “to raise my serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels.

Being that this is a health and fitness blog, it isn’t exactly appropriate to say working out is like having your cake and eating it too, but let me explain. When you work out, you are bettering your body and getting to that ideal physique that you set as your goal. In addition to sculpting your body, you are also doing so many positive things for your brain that you do not even realize.

Michael Hopkins, a Dartmouth graduate student affiliated with the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Laboratory, says “it looks more and more like the positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms.”

For residents in South Jersey, this quote an important piece of information. In a Press of Atlantic City article titled, “Smoking and cancer rates much higher in South Jersey than in North Jersey,” author Hoa Nguyen says, “while most smokers know of the health risks, several in South Jersey said that their habit had become so ingrained in their lives that that they believed smoking helped them cope with stress.”

Unless for some reason you have a pre 1960’s mentality, you should be aware that smoking is not good for you. Emphysema  lung cancer, and blocked blood vessels are just a few of the repercussions smoking can have on the human body. To do it because you’re “stressed out,” is no excuse.

Dylan Coladonato, a 20 year old junior at Rowan University, says, “Working out is my stress reliever. That one to two hours everyday in the gym gives me time to get away from my homework, my job, and everything else that I have to worry about. I look forward to being able to have that personal time to myself.”

While working out, you are not just bettering your body, you are bettering your mind. This is just one example of how time in the weight room benefits your brain power as well as your lifting power.

Next time you’re stressing out about a paper, grab your running shoes and go for a nice jog. If your boss is getting on your last nerve, get in the gym and pump a little iron. The benefits of staying healthy far outweigh the consequences of harming your wellness.

Top 10 Tips to Prepare For a Workout

5 Oct

You wake up and decide today is the day you are taking initiative in your life to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Suddenly you are getting first day jitters, hoping you have everything you need to make a smooth transition. Remember, everyone who lifts once had a first day. Nobody is born knowing how to do an exercise, and nobody is born “in shape.” This is a guide to make sure you have everything you need to have a flawless first day, first month, and eventually routine.

  1. Find a Gym
    1. This step probably seems obvious but there are so many different gyms in the South Jersey area. The differ in size, price, and sometimes clientel. Here are a few options of different gyms and health centers based on your town in South Jersey.
  2. Schedule
    1. Working out is obviously the main purpose of going to the gym, but repeating the same work out everyday is not beneficial. In fact, it is possible to overwork your muscles and joints. That is why it is necessary to make a schedule so you can plan out your sessions. An example of isolating body parts to workout is,
      1. Monday: Legs
      2. Tuesday: Chest
      3. Wednesday: Biceps and Triceps
      4. Thursday: Shoulders
      5. Friday: Back
      6. Saturday: Rest or Cardio
      7. Sunday: Rest
    2. It’s important to give your body a day or two to rest. Adding an abdominal workout or a run to the days routine won’t hurt either.
  3. Music:
    1. Working out is a time where you can tune out the world and really just take a break and have some alone time. Listening to music is not for everyone, but it really helps a lot of people stay focused and pump them up to maximize their performance. Pandora radio is a great application for smart phones that allows you to customize your playlists including ones specifically for workouts.
  4. Shoes/Outfit: Nobody really thinks too much about shoes or clothes at the gym, but when you look good you feel good. You do not want to be at the gym with no motivation to perform well. Feeling good is going to give you a positive mind frame to lift and work out well. Plus, you’re going to be on your feet 95% of the time there anyway, so you might as well make the investment to be comfortable.
  5. Pre/Post Workout: What to eat before a workout should be a light meal like peanut butter on toast or fruits with natural sugars like an orange. Post workouts should be something high in protein such as a steak, chicken, or protein shake. For more information on protein, view my post on working out in the kitchen.
  6. Partner: Today is the day you hope to bench press your personal best. However, you will not be able to do that if you don’t have a spot. Going to the gym with a partner is helpful for not only encouragement, but for having a spot. A spot is short for spotter, who makes sure that you do not drop the weight and hurt yourself.
  7. Motivation: For some it’s a picture, for some it’s watching Rocky or a favorite song. Whatever it is, have something accessible to hone in on when you need that extra encouragement. Some examples is make the background on your phone a picture of someone whose body you hope to emulate. Find a YouTube video that really gets you pumped up, such as this one. Whatever it is, have it in you back pocket for those days when you just do not have the motivation to lift.
  8. Notebook: One of the best parts about starting workouts is to track your improvements. By taking a notebook with you to your sessions you can track how much stronger or how much better your endurance is getting. Example,
    1. Day 1: 3(sets)x 5(reps) lifting 125 pound
    2. Day 8: 3(setes)x5(reps) lifting 135 pounds
    1. Day 1: Ran 1 mile at 8:04
    2. Day 5: Ran 1 mile at 7:55

Being able to track your improvements and see how much your hard work is paying off makes the lifting fun and something to work for.

9. Check Form: Most injuries happen from poor form while lifting or lack of stretching. It’s vital that if you do not know how to properly use a machine or do an exercise, you ask someone who works at the gym or you look it up online. There are many websites that provide tutorials how to do different types of lifts.

10. Cleanliness: Hopefully you join a gym that is clean, but no matter how clean a gym is there is still bacteria from sweat on machines or benches. Bringing a towel to the gym to wipe your sweat prevents you using your shirt that has been on multiple surface areas. Most gyms have a liquid cleaner to spray on the machines after to wipe down. Also, to prevent bacterial diseases like ringworm, impetigo, or athletes foot, be sure to shower right away and do not re-wear gym clothes until they’re washed.

Hopefully this list is beneficial to your beginning stages of going to the gym! I want this to serve as a reference and helpful reminder for many workouts to come!

Working Out In The Kitchen

5 Oct

Sure the kitchen is not the first place you think of when it comes to working out, however most times leaps and gains are made in the cook room in addition to the weight room.

A great workout needs to be complimented by what you put into your body. Running one mile to McDonalds so you can order a Big Mac is counterproductive. Don’t get me wrong, Big Macs are delicious- fortunately so are many other foods and drinks that would be better options.

There are MANY products on the market and it can be overwhelming to find a launching point. There seems to be a supplement for everything, priced anywhere from a few bucks to hundreds of dollars.  The question is what is best for you? Luckily in South Jersey there are many options.

When it comes to buying products in South Jersey for fitness, the best option is Pro Source. Not only do they offer the cheapest prices, but in all my times ordering from there it has never taken more than two days to receive an order (most days one.) The reason being is the headquarters is located locally in Manasquan, New Jersey.

If you would rather see the products in person before ordering, I recommend visiting a GNC. They are sprinkled all over the Garden State. If you want to find one close to you, use their store locator.

Now the real question…what do buy? Well, depending on what you’re looking for there are a lot of different options. Most people either want to gain size or lose weight, so here is a quick run down of my favorites depending on your motive.

Protein

Protein is very important to consume after a workout, whether it is a run or a high intensity lift. When you lift or run you are essentially breaking down your muscles. What the protein does is help repair the muscles by pumping amino acides into your body. Some people take the protein before, some people take it after, and some people split it and take half before and half after. There is no right way but the rule of thumb is to take 20-25 grams. It is easy to be taken aback when trying to chose one, so here is my recommendation.

1. Muscle Pharm Combat Powder:  This is the product I take now and I am absolutely in love with it. There is a multitude of delicious flavors (banana cream being my poison of choice) and it offers very beneficial results. It also has an advanced time-release system that lasts for eight hours, a whey protein isolate, and a whey protein concentrate. You cannot beat the value either: four pounds for less than thirty dollars on Pro Source.  One user named Jose on Pro Source reviewed Combat Powder.

“I highly recommend this product due to the nutritional value of it. High in protein, low carbs and sugar and not to mention it taste phenomenal! I have the Vanilla and it literally taste like vanilla ice cream melted down!”

Taken by Tyler Mulvey

Dietary Supplement 

Diet pills main ingredient tends to be caffeine, so it is important to be careful while taking them. The purpose is to give you energy at the gym, raise your metabolism, and help burn fat. The best one on the market currently is a product called BSN Hyper Shred. I personally have never taken the product before. On www.bodybuilding.com, a reputable and well-known site for health and fitness ranks it a 9.5 out of 1o and is the most recommended dietary supplement on the site. User “jayrussel” reviewed the product:

“This isn’t just a lose-fat-now gimmick, it has helped me slowly lose excess fat, and after 4 months, I am starting to become more tone. It’s a slow-but-steady process, and I am feeling great.”

The same website also offers the product at a much cheaper price than retail.

These are just two out of the MANY categories you can chose from and these are just one product out of each category. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of products but these are good starting points. Just like anything else, when choosing a product you want to feel connected to it. Read reviews, check results and make educated decisions. If you have a question or would like more suggestions drop a comment below and I will be happy to discuss things further! Happy lifting!