Friday, July 27, 2007

The Power of Friends

In your journey to the quest of life-long health and fitness, you know that it's important to include exercises (both resistance and cardiovascular training), balanced diet and nutrition.

You also understand that goal-setting, mental toughness and your burning desire are critical in keeping you on track.

But all these are just bells and whistles. You need a solid framework to build upon and around it. This framework is the secret to long-term fat loss success and weight management; that's, your healthy and performance lifestyle.

In addition, it's helpful to include a mastermind group who supports you. The mastermind group is a group of like-minded people who work toward the common goals (e.g., fitness, fat loss, sports, etc.). You'll support each other, hold each other accountable and keep each other focused. It's also helpful to include a coach or trainer to provide guidance and training to you and the group.

Another missing link you cannot ignore is the "environment" around you. Put it this way, you are the product of your five closest friends in health and fitness.

If you want to stay fit and healthy, hang out and keep a good company of fitness-minded friends. It doesn't mean that you break up with your overweight or obese friends. Just beware when you want to keep your body in shape.

Surround yourself with friends and co-workers who are health-conscious and engage in exercises and physical activities. In fact, the power of friends is so far-reaching that you can influence your overweight friends in a positively empowering way.

In a recent groundbreaking Study: Your Friends Can Make You Fat, the researchers concluded that obesity is contagious, spreading through social networks.

Being obese is like having split ends. A lot of people get it, nobody likes it, but once is spreads... it's everywhere!

Christakis and James H. Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, took advantage of detailed records collected between 1971 and 2003 on 12,067 adults who participated in the well-known Framingham Heart Study.

"Friends, more than family or neighbors, are the ones propagating the epidemic. So if your friends put on weight, you're more likely to put on the pounds, too." said the study.

The study found a person's chances of becoming obese went up 57 percent if a friend did, 40 percent if a sibling did and 37 percent if a spouse did. In the closest friendships, the risk almost tripled.

However, the researchers found no effect among (obese) neighbors unless they were friends.

The researchers calculated that when an obese person gained 17 pounds, the corresponding friend put on an extra 5 pounds on the average. What a sympathetic gain!

The worst part is that your overweight friends don't have to live anywhere near you. In today's communication technologies, your friend of hundreds of miles away can just call, email or text you about his or her recent weight gain. A close friend's weight gain can be even more dangerous.

On the positive note, the research showed that heavy and thin people are causing their friends to become more like them.

So on the flip side, thinness is contagious, too.

If you're fit and healthy, you can impact your "heavy" friends to become "thinner" as they may look up to you as a role model. It could be "peer pressure" that your friend want to look more like you --- not just thin but fit and healthy.

And of course, there's always a chance that you can lose your upper hand and succumb to your heavy friends to put on weight.

That's why it's important to choose healthy and favorable "environment" around you --- your friends and circles of friends.

I have offered many tips to keep you empowered and motivated in your health and fitness program.

I hope I can have the positive impact on the obesity epidemic by educating and training people about the importance in lifestyle changes, exercise, healthy and balance diet.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Total-Body Balanced Superset & Triset Workout Programs

In earlier articles, I have covered the concept of superset as a weight training system and offered many practical superset routines and superset-based strength circuit training routines.

Triset is another weight training system that three exercises are performed back to back with no rest in between. So you'll do three exercises in a row as one set (tri set).

Both superset and triset are just two of the weight training system that can be incorporated in your whole training periodization program. They can help you change up your training program so that you make continuous progress without reaching plateau or incurring overuse injuries.

I offer more superset and triset workout routines in the following. You can alternate between workouts A and B on different days. These workout routines focus on total-body balanced training. More emphasis is placed on the multi-joint compound exercises to work the major muscle groups. Some single-joint isolation movements are also incorporated in the workout routines toward the end.

Depending on your goals, there are many training variables (weight, set, rep, rest interval, tempo, etc.) you can use and change up to perform these exercises to achieve different training effects and results: whether you want to gain strength, build muscle, lose fat or improve muscular strength endurance.

Read the weight training protocol here >>

Superset Workout Routine A
1A Dumbbell Deadlift
1B Dumbbell Bench Press

2A Pullup
2B Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3A Dip
3B Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Superset Workout Routine B
1A Dumbbell Bent-over Row
1B Dumbbell Incline Press

2A Smith-Machine Squat
2B Smith-Machine Shoulder Front Press

3A Dumbbell Overhead Press
3B Dumbbell Biceps Hammer Curl

Triset Workout Routine A
1A Smith-Machine Decline Bench Press
1B Smith-Machine Bent-over Row
1C Smith-Machine Deadlift

2A E-Z Bar Lying Triceps Extension
2B E-Z Bar Lying Triceps Close-Grip Pressup
2C E-B Bar Biceps Curl (standing or seated)

Triset Workout Routine B
1A Seated Dumbbell Press (80-85 degrees)
1B Seated Dumbbell Press (45 degrees)
1C Seated Dumbbell Press (flat)

2A Seated Row (pull to chin)
2B Seated Row (pull to chest)
2C Seated Row (pull to abdomen)

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Train with the Best!

Friday, July 06, 2007

So Are You Empowered?

The Number One challenge to health and fitness success is consistency and program compliance.

In an earlier article, I have covered the topic as to how to stay motivated in your fitness program.

You can get the world's best trainer and nutritionist to get you started in the lifelong journey of health and fitness. But you need more than just trainer, nutritionist or exercise program for long term success.

The question is not how well you start but how strong you can stay on after a year and ultimately your own long-term health and well-being.

No matter how great a program is, you still have to do it by yourself. Many people drop out of their exercise and diet program as soon as their trainers are gone and nobody is watching them. These are "external" motivations. You have to be able to "internalize" them to become "intrinsic" motivations inside yourself. The intrinsic motivations become part of you until you don't feel and need them. They turn into habits - that you don't need someone or external rewards to "motivate" you. You're automatically programmed to do it subconsciously. It's this high level of self-discipline, commitment and healthy habit that play the most important role in exercise and diet program compliance.

The model for stages of behavioral change is well known and has been applied to exercise and fat loss study.

The stage of behavioral change goes from (1) precontemplation, (2) contemplation, (3) preparation, (4) action, to finally, (4) maintenance. In the table, it summarizes the definition of each stage, some common issues, barriers and concerns that people experience as they move from a sedentary to an active lifestyle.

The progression of healthy behavioral changes is likely not to be linear. You'll bump into some obstacles along the way to set you backward. Remember, be clear in your big goal. It helps put you in the correct long-term perspective.

Ask yourself why exercise is important, why eating healthy is important, why staying physically active is important? What do you want to achieve in your life goals? And why?

By answering these questions, it helps you increase your awareness of the importance of a more active lifestyle and increase your confidence that being more active is possible. You're able to incorporate physical activities into your life that you enjoy doing on a regular basis.

When you're doing something that you enjoy doing without being forced to do, you don't need external motivation. You're doing it for the sheer pleasure of doing. You'll feel empowered because you're in charge. You won't feel bored.

So are you empowered?

Learn top 20 ways to stick to your workout. >>

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