Friday, July 29, 2005

Hidden workout secret in St. Louis

When you find something really good it's hard to keep quiet about it. Befrore I tell you what I found let me put this disclaimer out there... I hate cardio. I don't just sort of hate it. I loathe it. Unfortunately, I can't get away from doing cardio altogether. Be that as it may I can't sit in one place for 30,45 or 60 minutes. I get bored way too easily. This reality finds me outdoors more times than not looking for new places to run. I hate running so I don't usually do tracks I need scenery to distract me. Well, I found one of the most challenging yet scenic places to run in the St. Louis area. Many people take advantage of the bike/jogging/rollerblading track that surrounds Creve Couer Lake. In fact it has been one of my changeup spots for running since last year. But directly across the street heading up into the park there is a hidden set of steps. 222 of them to be exact. The lengths of the steps vary as they wind through a picturesque woodland scene, and when you get to the last run of steps your legs are like lead and on fire. Its not just something to be enjoyed by hardcore fitness buffs. I have taken several of my clients down there to walk the steps. If you are unused to exercise I wouldn't recommend going up and down more than twice as you will almost assuredly be sore the next day (that's a total of 888 steps by the way). For some, once up and down may be plenty. I am able to cut my total cardio time in half because the vertical distance provides so much more intensity (especially if you are sprinting up and jogging down).

Directions: The easiest way to find these steps is to take I-270 to Dorsett Rd and head west. Dorsett will dead end at Marine Ave, and you will want to make a right at the stoplight. You will pass the entrance to Greensfelder Memorial and then the 1st entrance to the lake's parking on your left. Once you pass that make the very 1st available right. Follow it back in towards the corner of the park and Marine Avenue. You will see a gravel path heading into the woods. This leads to the first run of steps. There is a way to park at the top of the steps by going through the park itself, but when you are tired and want to walk back to your car would you rather walk up the steps or down them?

I hope to see some of you out there. The view of the lake as the sun cuts across it and filters through the canopy of leaves as you round the last 4 sets of steps is absolutely breathtaking.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sorry, It's been a minute

I have had a full life recently and not enough time to get online to type in my blog. Gigi and I had another jacked up dining experience that looked something like a peach pit in a burger patty at Applebee's the manager tried to make it better by a free order of wings that they rushed (and since they rushed they came out bloody). My meal was free but I still had to pay for Gigi's. Quita said she wouldnt have paid for jack. I don't got it like that apparently. I've been spending more time in the gym lately and have been cruising through Raymond Feist books like Japanese giant hornets through a honeybee hive (see the National Geographic Channel's special called swarms- the toxin from the Japanese giant hornet dissolves human flesh! Have fun Adam). I'm trying to find another job... anyone in St. Louis, help! Umm and if you need a personal trainer, come holla at me. Wishing everyone who happens to view this page an abundance of love and tranquility within your life, and until our paths may cross again may God continue to bless you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why does fat have a propensity for being stored in the midsection?

Before this is all said and done I might need to retitle my blogspot 'Ask a personal trainer'. Fat has a dual role in the human body. Its primary function is to serve as stored energy. Every gram of fat on the earth is 9 kilocalories or simply calories to us. whether it is a 1g drop of olive oil, 1 gram of beef fat or 1 gram from your stomach. Its all the same. Why store it close to the midsection. Frankly, thats where the action is. If you had a train where would you put the coal car? I'm guessing somewhere accessible to the locomotive. That is the same concept with fat. The body looks to store fat close to internal organs 1. for accessibility 2. for protection 3. it needs to store it somwhere relatively cool on the body. You would be hard pressed to find much fat on someone's fingers or toes. It's too far from where it can be converted, and since those parts move quite frequently its too hot to efficiently store energy there. For this reason midsection fat is one of the last places your body will use fat from. It's too efficient of a storage area. And while you cannot spot reduce. If you can keep the midsection warmer than other parts of your body. It will be a less likely place to store it. But if you meet the conditions for fat storage your body will just put it somewhere else close enough like on your back, back of your arms, inside of your thighs, etc. The conditions for fat storage are 1. calories in excess of your base metabolic rate (which can be guestimated by 15 calories x each lb of bodyweight if you are relatively active and as low as 12 or 10 multiplied by bodyweight if you are sedentary) and 2. insulin in your bloodstream. Taking in excess of what your body can process and having insulin present in your bloodstream are your body's only requirements for fat storage. That is the main reason why low carb or ketogenic diets are so popular. They limit the amount of insulin your body has so that you can't store fat. Your body can't store fat without insulin. Women have a propensity to storing more fat than men because of estradiol ( a potent form of estrogen) that is converted in peripheral fat. more fat=more estrogen=more fat etc. Every pound of fat on the human body is equal to approximately 3500 calories. To lose 1lb of fat you must simply go into a caloric deficit = to 3500 calories. if your BMR is 2500 calories and you take in 2000 calories for a week you will have lost 1 lb of fat. But, remember as you lose body mass your metabolism drops. The key is to spare muscle tissue which has a greater caloric need than fat. fat is easy to store and muscle is difficult to store. You need to maintain muscle with protein and glycogen to keep it. Fat is pretty much stand alone :P I hope that answers your question cousinsarah

Monday, July 18, 2005

Exercise equipment doubling as clothing storage/display racks?

Raquita made a comment on my ab myths post that made me wonder. You always hear people joke about exercise equipment that had long been converted to clothes drying racks in their basement, but I was wondering how true and how widespread that phenomenon is. I was also wondering what the actual usage of equipment once purchased is. Is it 1 year? 3 months? 1 month? a week? an hour? I know that a large percentage of the people that I speak to don't view fitness and exercise the same way that I do, but I am curious about the purchase of exercise equipment and its actual usage. For instance how many people bought a Bowflex and used it 3 times then sold it at a garage sale? That might be a little extreme but maybe not :P

Sunday, July 17, 2005

3 Ab myths dispelled

I keep running into people outside the gym (my office-literally) who want to hold on to certain myths about abdominal exercises that have been haunting health clubs for eons and seem to be perpetuated by mass media. Please allow me to dispel them (maybe I won't be able to dispel them but at least I can vent :P)

1.If I do enough creative ab exercises in thousands of reps I will have a great looking 6 pack.

No. If you do ab workouts like it's cardio maybe you can burn a few extra calories, but the reality is that without dieting you will feel your great set of abs beneath the layer of fat that isn't going to go anywhere because there is NO SUCH THING AS SPOT REDUCTION when it comes to working out and burning fat. Also, abs should be worked like every other muscle group that you would train as fast twitch fibers. Do your cardio with big muscles not little ones. Little muscles burn little calories and most people end up over training abdominals which in turn becomes catabolic. Besides breaking down muscle and increasing cortisone production you are ultimately slowing down your metabolic rate. I can destroy anyone's abs in less than 5 minutes. 10 minutes max (and that would include obliques and serratus anterior).

2. Doing ab exercises causes lower back pain.

No. Not doing lower back exercises causes lower back pain. Your body like everything else in nature requires that a certain balance be maintained. This becomes no more obvious than on skeletal muscle. Every muscle system on the skeletal frame has an opposing muscle group whose main function is to put the bone back where it was before we started. Some of the simpler groupings look like this: Chest/Back, Biceps/Triceps, Quadriceps/Hamstrings, Abdominals/Spinal Erectors. When one set of the opposing group shortens the other one lengthens. Lets look at bicep/tricep for a moment. If you touch your right shoulder and look in a mirror you will see that your bicep is in its shortest or most contracted position. Your triceps on the other hand are elongated and in their most stretched out position. Slowly extend your arm until it is perfectly straight. Notice that now your triceps have shortened and your biceps have lengthened. The muscle which is contracting or shortening for this matter is doing the work while the other muscle is for the most part passive but the combined length of both muscles will always be the same no matter what position the muscles are in if you had a way to measure them because the muscles stay in balance. Lets add a new element to our arm demonstration. What if we came to the gym 3 times a week and ONLY trained biceps. what would eventually happen to our triceps? The biceps would start to shorten and stay shortened while the tricep would stay stretched out because it isnt as strong as the bicep and unable to pull it back into position. Moving back to the abdominal/lowerback situation this is frequently the case. People will train their abs and neglect their lowerback. So their abs become strong and eventually shorten while the spinal erectors remain weak and get stretched out of position. This will not only cause lower back problems but will also create posture problems do to the resulting pelvic tilt. When you begin to experience discomfort in the lower back while performing ab exercises take a break from training abs for awhile and concentrate on your spinal erectors. Perform exercises like hyperextensions and static exercises like plank holds and supermans. After a few weeks time begin to reincorporate abdominal exercises back into your regime, but continue to alternate days in which you train your abs and then days in which you focus on your lower back.

3. The faster I do my ab exercises the more reps I can do before I get fatigued so I will gain more benefit.

No. Intensity can be determined by the formula Intensity=(Amount of stress)(distance moved)/(duration of time under stress). You are increasing distance moved but dramatically decreasing amount of stress because you are allowing momentum to take some of the workload which also decreases actual time under stress, because inertia is providing aid rest is achieved which delays true lactic threshold, doesn't allow for complete innervation of the muscle, tends to lean harder on secondary systems that may normally receive incidental incorporation but are now becoming the main force behind the movement. With abdominals this is almost always the hip flexor. Doing ab exercises slowly will definitely insure that you get a more complete innervation of the abdominal muscles and not your hip flexors. Also, make sure that your ab muscles are shortening. don't just bend at the waist. You need to curve at the spine. The same thing for doing hyper extensions for your lower back. don't bend at the waist. If you don't curve your spine you will be just working hamstrings and glutes primarily with a secondary emphasis on your lower back. Concentrate on your target muscle and your results will be better

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hairy Dinner Experience

Why Hometown Buffet managed to make the ranks of my worst dining experiences ever with so much strong competition for the title:

Have you ever been to a buffet where both you and the person you were dining with ended up with hair in your food and you both got completely different things? I was eating fried shrimp when I happened to notice a short thick dark curly hair on a piece that I was about to bite into. I calmly set that piece aside and continued to cautiously eat my meal. Less than two minutes after my discovery my girlfriend, Gigi, finds a long dark hair on her roll in the butter they put on the outside. We grab a waiter's attention and hand him the plate with the roll. He takes the plate over to the bussing area and tells us he will let someone know about it. At this point we aren't too terribly upset. We both head back up to the buffet to get more food. The manager in the mean time has come over and informed us that we probably had a piece of stringbean on our food, yet neither of us had gotten stringbeans. The manager offered us two $5 discount coupons for our next visit.3 minutes after the manager had walked away I find ANOTHER hair on a piece of steak I am cutting from a completely different plate. I threw it on the table and would have gotten the manager's attention after carefully insuring that it was indeed a piece of human hair. Gigi felt that the manager would think I staged it for a free meal since I didn't leave it on the plate so I didn't bring it to their attention. 3 different human hairs in one meal on 3 plates on 3 different items. It was the first time I can recall ever leaving a buffet hungry. So the Hometown Buffet on West Florissant in North County receives a 4 1/2 frowny face rating for a most unsatisfactory meal

:o( :o( :o( :o( :o

Friday, July 15, 2005

Raquita, I blame you!

Well, here goes blog#1. Raquita I blame you! (and Jerry too) I better not get addicted to blogging

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