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April 10, 2014

The Fit Factor:
Farewell and Thank You

BY
MICHAEL ELDER

Farewell and Thank You
Well, as the title of the column suggests this will be my last column for ChicagoPride.com. After writing this column for over two years, it is time for me to move on to other projects. And as a send off, I have decided to dedicate this article to all of the articles of the past. I am going to list some bullet points that I have tried drive into the heads of all of my readers. This article is for all of you. I hope these points will remind you of how you can stay healthy and give some pointers of how you can incorporate exercise and proper nutrition into your lives forever. Here we go:

Whenever a client of mine goes on vacation, they usually ask me what exercises they should do while they're gone. They're usually surprised when I tell them not to exercise in a gym. Rather, I try to encourage my clients to participate in active rest- activities that they enjoy. Some examples might include sports (of any kind), hiking, skiing, swimming, dog walking, and yes, even sex!

Breakdown training is one of my favorite advanced training techniques. It involves performing one set of a given exercise and progressively lowering the weight of that exercise once muscle failure has been achieved. For example, let's say someone is doing a breakdown set of cable tricep press downs. They achieve muscle failure around ten reps. This means that they have completely exhausted their muscles and they cannot do any more reps. The weight is then immediately dropped about 20% and the person continues to lift at the lighter weight until they reach muscle failure a second time. Then, you guessed it, the weight is dropped again and the exerciser continues to lift to muscle failure a third time.

In order to continually make progress in strength, health, and overall appearance, one must continually add variety to their workout plan on a regular basis otherwise the dreaded plateau is inevitable.

One of the biggest problems we run into during the holidays is an over-abundance of food. And eating when we are not hungry is one of the leading causes of weight gain. If we see more food, our brain tells us we need to eat it. Try tuning in to your body. Ask yourself if you are truly still hungry. The answer may surprise you.

Reward yourself. It is much easier to do physically demanding work if you know there is going to be a payoff. If you make it to the gym at least three time s a week, reward yourself by doing something that you enjoy. Winter seems to be a time when many people splurge on things, especially food. Instead of food, buy something really worthwhile like a good massage. It's always good to have bodywork done, the therapeutic kind that is.

A great advantage of outdoor biking is the ability to develop muscular power. Muscular power is different than muscular strength or endurance, because it deals with speed of movement. It is the speed at which the body can overcome resistance. Therefore, this is accomplished by training the body with faster but controlled movements, using a moderate resistance

With consistent and accurately performed skinfold measurements, the subject will be able to see whether or not he is losing body fat. In other words, the percentages may not be 100% accurate, but the measurements are.

Marathon running is a very easy sport to develop overtraining symptoms with. Cycling your running intensities will strongly decrease your chances of overtraining.

There is one very important element to be discussed in regards to training the body and the mind: proper rest and recovery! Your body needs proper rest from physical exercise and the mind needs rest from all of the stressors from the day. The best way to do this is to get a good night's sleep!

Regular resistance and cardiovascular training has been associated with lower feelings of depression, anger and confusion. It has also been shown that regular exercise increases motivation. The main reason for this is the physical and mental results that are derived exercise including decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, increased self esteem, increased work productivity, and better controlled stress management.

When training your biceps it is a very good idea to train the other arm flexors as well: the brachialis and the brachioradialis. This can be done by using a neutral grip (palms facing each other) for the brachioradialis and a pronated grip (palms face down) for the brachialis while curling the arm. This will enhance your bicep training and give a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing look.

Having sex is in a way a form of aerobic activity, unless of course it's over in 30 seconds, which I hope for everyone's sake is not the case. But continuous rhythmic movement over a sustained period of time can definitely burn a lot of calories. Have fun!

The simple truth is that muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, if someone is working out consistently, both aerobically and with resistance, they will lose fat and gain muscle (provided they are following proper nutrition). When this happens, weight can actually increase due to the gain in lean mass. It doesn't mean you're getting fatter.

You must eat a lean protein, starchy carbohydrate, and fibrous carbohydrate in every meal! Each of these three food sources are incredibly important and perform different functions.

Not only is fat a storage form of energy in the body, but more importantly, it insulates and protects the internal organs of the body. This is a very important function. It is also the reason that it is so difficult for most people to develop that six pack look.

Everybody needs protein in their diets, especially those who are trying to put on muscle. In our fast- paced every day lives, it is almost impossible to get natural protein all throughout the day. Whey Protein has been clinically proven to be one of the best protein supplements around. If you're someone with a crazy and hectic lifestyle, this may be a good supplement for you. It's quick, easy, and actually does not taste bad, if you get the right brand.

Yoga makes people feel better, both physically and mentally. It is able to do this because it is a mind- body form of exercise. A strong focus is placed on the breath, and breathing in conjunction with the different movements and positions that are held. It's a difficult concept to explain to the yoga novice, but this concept of connecting the breath with different movement patterns allows one to stay focused on their own body- mind connection and also helps them to feel grounded with the earth and centered.

There is a serious obesity epidemic going on in this country and people are literally dying because of it. I'm sorry to be morbid, but that's the truth. One of the reasons this is happening is because people are not educated about how to get fit and be healthy. That's why personal trainers are here. We're not just taking people through workouts; we're helping to save lives. And that's something I've always been very proud of. So before writing us off as a "luxury", think again about the things I've mentioned in this article. It might just change your mind.

And there you have it folks, two years in review! I want to send a huge thank you to all of my readers who have supported me in writing this column. Your feedback has been very much appreciated. I also want to thank ChicagoPride.com for giving me the wonderful opportunity to write this column. It has been an immensely rewarding experience.

I hope that I have been able to help some of you. Feel free to send me emails. Remember to stay active, and as I always like to say, be healthy!

Michael Elder has been working as a fitness professional in Chicago for the last fifteen years. He comes from a background in gymnastics and is certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He can be contacted directly through his website, www.MichaelElder.com.

 
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