Monday, January 29, 2007

The Best Way for Weight Loss, Diet or Exercise? Why Not Both!?

It's a long-time debate as to how to lose weight (fat). Diet? Exercise? or both.

The ability to lose weight on a short term basis is not so much an issue than keeping the weight off for the long term. It's the "quick fix" weight loss mentality that messes up many people's wishful thinking.

A controversial headline breaking news story hits the internet today that really shocks me. It has stirred up so much heated dispute and debate in the health and fitness community.

Based on the study finding, "diet and exercise are equally good to take off weight. A calorie is just a calorie, whether by dieting or by exercising." Read more here >>

Like many other fitness professionals, I have been advocating a combination of healthy lifestyle changes, balanced nutrition and regular exericses (strength and cardiovacular training) for weight loss and successful long-term weight management.

There is no magic pill or quick fix.

It takes discipline, commitment and accountability.

Fat-loss is that simple, but not easy.

The benefit of adopting a performance healthy lifestyle goes far beyond just weight loss. This is the insider secret to weight loss.

By incorporating these elements in your life, you're able to lead an active, balanced and quality life. Not only that you can improve your body composition, physique and shape, you'll never feel starved or deprived. You'll have more energy to handle your daily tasks and get through the inevitable ups and downs.

Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, increases bone density, and enhances cardiovascular health. It also helps improve physical mobility, range of motion and flexibility. Healthy food choice and eating habit helps you fuel your body. The boost in self-confidence from being healthy, looking good and feeling great is beyond any words you can describe. The list of benefits goes on and on.

I encourage you to visit Fat Loss Expert Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat blog for his response to this news release and research finding. Leave your comments or questions if you wish. Use your own judgement and personal expereince. Half-baked scientifc study based on 24 people proves absolutely nothing.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Modified Olympic Style Weightlifting for Martial Arts & Explosive Power Training

Weightlifting for Your Martial Power

When you heard about Olympic Weightlifting, the first image popping out of your head could be some freaking strong athletes lifting enormous amount of weight in a split second. It's so "knee-jerking" to watch them do clean & jerk and snatch.

Olympic style weightlifting can be modified and adapted to help athletes develop explosive strength and power for all sports. If trained and done properly, modified Olympic style weightlifting can help athletes to condition themselves for explosive power, muscular endurance, strength, speed, quickness, agility and cardiovascular fitness.

Anaerobic Power and Endurance

In any martial arts training including MMA and BJJ, it requires a fairly good combination of both anaerobic and aerobic fitness. You need both types of energy to excel in sparring or fighting. You will also need to know how to generate explosive power to break boards or execute your knockout punch or kick. In a typical round of sparring, it involves a series of short bouts of anaerobic power output (punching, kicking or grappling) followed intermittently by aerobic movements (bouncing around, shuffling, checking, or faking).

Depending on the specific type of sparring or fighting, a match could be 3 to 12 rounds and lasts 3 to 5 minutes for each round. In addition to excellent technical skills, a top conditioned fighter has to have peak level of anaerobic power and endurance to be able execute his techniques repeatedly. Anaerobic conditioning and performance is achieved by training and pushing his VO2 max and lactic acid or lactate threshold.

H.I.I.T. for Ultimate Martial Fitness
For the types of energy system utilized in martial sports, moderately long distance running at slow steady pace isn't the best method to condition your aerobic fitness. High intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) is the better way of conditioning your cardiovascular fitness. In the same token, the power lifting type of weight training isn't the best way to train your explosive power either as you don't just give it your one best shot and be done with it. You'll need your sub-maximal muscular power output anaerobically for several times repeatedly. That's muscular power and endurance all together.

How do you train your exploseive power?

How do you train your energy systems for martial arts?

How do you utilize Olympic-style weightlifting to get in top combat conditioning for martial arts?

Read on . . .

World Class Olympic Power Circuit Training

Before you follow the power barbell circuit training routines below, I suggest that you master these basic but technically complicated weightlifting techniques before you attempt to put your hands on the Olympic bar. An "empty" standard Olympic bar weighs 45 pounds. Maintaining good forms when lifting weights will help you lift more weights and prevent injuires. Gayle Hatch Systems is an excellent website to get you started. You can also find coaches or personal trainers who can train you to execute these moves properly without getting injured.

Power Barbell Circuit Workout Routine #1
Deadlift x 6 reps
Bent-over Row x 6 reps
Power Clean x 6 reps
Front Squat x 6 reps
Push Press x 6 reps
Good Morning x 6 reps (body weight)

Power Barbell Circuit Workout Routine #2
Snatch-grip Deadlift x 6 reps
Snatch Pull x 6 reps
Jump Shrug x 6 reps
Reverse Lunge x 6 reps each leg
Push Split Jerk x 6 reps
Jump Squat x 6 reps (body weight)

Power Barbell Circuit Workout Routine #3
Romanian Deadlift x 6 reps
Bent-0ver Row (reverse grip) x 6 reps
Power Clean x 6 reps
Push Split Jerk x 6 reps
Overhead Squat x 6 reps
Double Jump x 6 reps (body weight)

This is not to load up the Olympic bar with your one-rep max weight. Rather, select a weight that you can typically lift 6 reps for three sets with good control for the weakest lift in the circuit (except the body weight exercise). Shoulder press (military press) is normally the weakest one. The proper weight might well be about 60% of your one-rep max.

You should perform each rep with good control (about 2 seconds per rep) and move from one exercise to the next without rest till you finish one circuit as one set. Leave your ego at the door and listen to your body. In addition, you should choose a load that feels challenging yet controllable. You can stay with one power circuit training routine to begin with. Repeat two more times for a total of three sets with 2-minute resting in between the circuits (sets).

Manipulate Training Variables to Make Progress

As you become more familiar with the moves and get in better conditioned, you can add more training volume to four or five sets. There are many training variables to change up to make continual progress. One training variable to manipulate is to reduce your rest intervals in order to add challenges in your routine as well as a training principle of progression. Rest intervals of 90 to 120 seconds are common for most people to recover from one circuit. You're rarely able to rest shorter than 30 seconds to repeat the next circuit.

In some cases, you can increase intensity by loading up to no higher than 85% of your one-rep max and reduce the repetitions to no lower than three. When you get more skilled and proficient, you can perform one circuit for each of the three routines in a given workout session. Alternatively, you can also mix and match your own power circuit training routine.

You've Just Moved Tons of Weight

Don’t underestimate this type of training. Power circuit training can be very grueling. This six-movement circuit x 6 reps has a total volume of 36 reps per set! Even with only 100 pounds on the bar, that comes out to 3600 pounds of total work per set. That's over ten thousand pounds of total work capacity in less than 10 minutes!

At the end of one circuit, you'll feel like just finishing a breath-taking 100-meter sprint. This routine will really help any martial artists to condition their bodies to handle the high levels of lactate produced in a fighting ring. It is also an excellent fat loss exercise for any athlete who needs to preserve muscle and strength while losing fat.

Pack a Punch

Give this power circuit workout a try! People in the gym will turn their heads toward you when you perform these exercises. Learn how to train and harness your knockout power. You'll be a better conditioned fighter in your next match.

>>> Sign up for FREE monthly e-Newsletter to receive insider training tips, workout routines and check out your FREE bonus e-books to help you build muscles, lose fat and uncover your six pack abs.

Copyright 2007 by C. Carey Yang and Beyond Fitness Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Avoid Overtraining to Improve Performance and Prevent Injuries

Train, Train More, Train Longer, Train Harder

Many people have made their New Year's Resolutions to improve their health and fitness. They run out of the gate like hungry tigers with great enthusiasm hoping that this year will be different. They'll do the same things - going to the gym five days a week, lifting weights three times a week and doing cardio five times a week - and yet they expect different or even better results!?

Some people don't even take the time to rest and recover and tend to go overboard. Well, if working out five times a week is good, seven times must be even better. Right!? People want to see the results fast. They spend two hours a day, five days a week in the gym for a good hopeful couple of weeks. You can tell by the gym traffic. These are all great. Or really?? Remember, it's how strong you finish the year that counts, not what you start the year with. Don't end the year like a lamb.

Truth in Life

Then the reality starts to set in. We're living in a super busy society. We all have other commitments in our life - career, family, or kids, etc. Very soon these super busy over-committed people cannot go to the gym as regularly due to late long hours of working, business traveling, time conflicts with kids' games and other social obligations, or getting sick. They start to lose their work-life balance.

They cannot come to the gym to work out on a regular and consistent basis. But when they do get a chance to work out, many skip warm-up to save time. They attempt to lift the heaviest weight they can remember from last time and do as many as possible till they're wiped out. It ends up that they get hurt because their bodies weren't used to sudden heavy weights. Injuries prevent these people from coming back to the gym, if ever, to train regularly at desired intensity. You know what happen next. They'll gain all the weight (or fat) that they have tried hard to lose and plus some more.

Consistency Is The Key

One of the challenges to achieveing your fitness goals is consistency. You need regular exercise to stay on track your fitness resolution without overdoing it and becoming sick or injured.

There is a fineline between
overloading and overtraining!

Appropriate and progressive overloading your body is one of the fitness training principles to use so that your body learns to adapt to the loads and grow stronger.

On the other hand, overtraining will have adverse effect on your body and performance. Your body may actually start to break down than build up. To juggle the right amount of training with adequate sleep, rest and nutrition is not an easy task, even to many professional athletes.

What Is Overtraining?

Simply put, overtraininig is the result of subjecting your body more work or stress (load) than it can handle. It happens when a person experiences neuro-muscular stresses from exercise faster than their body and mind can recover and repair. This doesn't typically happen overnight or from just one or two over-workouts. In most cases, it is an accumulated effect of consistent over-stressing without adequate recovery.

You've heard the old saying before: "You lift weights in the gym but grow outside the gym." It is the properly loaded exercise that breaks down your body. However, it's through rest, recovery and proper nutrition to repair your body that makes you stronger and healthier. Improvements occur during your recovery, not during your gym time.

Signs of Overtraining

Stresses can come from physical, mental or emotional sources. They all have effect on your health and well-being. How do you know that you're overtrained? How can you read the signs and symptoms of overtraining? Check the following by youself.

  • Elevated resting heart rate or pulse
  • Increase in minor injuries, colds or flu's
  • Chronic muscle soreness or joint pain/tenderness
  • Exhaustion, lethargy, fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Decreased performance
  • Anxiety, irritability or depression
  • Apathy or lack of motivation

How to Avoid Overtraining?

Somestimes it's difficult to tell if you're overtrained or simply ill based on these symptoms. The most common signs to look for are lack of motivation in the areas of your life and feeling of exhaustion. Reduced concentration and decreased performance in lifting weights is also a warning sign to watch out carefully. Prevention is definitely better than cure. But what do you do if you think you're overtrained?

Follow these suggestions ...

  • Make small and gradual change (progression) in your exercise program over a period of time.
  • Make sure you have adequate rest between workout sessions.
  • Eat a well balanced and nutritious diet to refuel your body.
  • Adjust your training program to fit your work schedule and lifestyle. Perhaps exercising two or three times a week is more realistic and achievable than five times a week. Be flexible and have fun with what you do.

All-or-nothing gung-ho approach to

fitness training is doomed to set yourself up

for failure and disappointment.

  • Change up your training program by cross training to add fun and variety, or hiring a personal trainer to help you to design an individualized training program.
  • Periodize your training program by cycling your training routines and taking time completely off from training every so often. For example, taking one or two weeks off for every 10 weeks of training is a common training practice. Even professional athletes have off season for a break to rest and recover from wear-and-tear and injuries. Why shouldn't you?

Taking time to take care of your body and mind. You'll come back stronger and be more focused in your next workout session or training cycle. Over the long term, you'll improve your performance consistently and stay injury free.

Copyright 2007 by C. Carey Yang.
All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Diet Pill Makers Got Busted

Millions of Americans make New Year's Resolutions every year. Once again, improving their health and fitness in always on top of their lists. Within this category, weight loss is the number one resolution.

Some people seek special diets, magic pills, crack soups, pre-packaged meals, support group or medical procedures. Keep in mind that diet pills have a long dubious history. Some others follow the most logical approach by combining healthy lifestyle changes, consistent strength and cardiovascular exercises, and healthy eating habits. The latter approach is the one that I advocate to the public and my clients. The weight-loss results may come a little slower than the quick fixes. But the fat loss will be more gradual and healthy. You're more likely to keep it off for the long run.

In an earlier blog, I blasted Dr. Phil's Diet Pill lawsuit settlement. I guess this message didn't get to raise the public awareness about weight-loss diet pills. Several well-known diet pill companies were fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by making false claims and misleading the consumers for several diet pills. Click here for details.

The marketers didn't have enough scientific evidence to back up their claims. In fact they had a study that said those who took a placebo actually lost more weight than those taking the pill! “They not only didn’t have studies to support the claim, they actually had a study that went the other way.” said the FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras.

Informercials and celebrity endorsements seem to be tempting and convincing. “Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science,” Majoras said. “And that’s what Americans need to understand.”
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