In fact, much of what I think I know is myth.
So I asked KJ1 (that translates to my oldest kid) to enlighten me by writing a post. I told him who his audience would be ~ YOU!
I've learned a ton just by reading this, and I hope you will too.
As you read this, you'll note he totally gets his humor from his MOM!
My name is Kuyler, and I LOVE studying and practicing the principles of two life-changing fields: personal training and strength and conditioning.
I’m a personal trainer and fitness coach, and one of my favorite things to do is help ordinary people like me reach their fitness goals and discover new energy and confidence that an unhealthy lifestyle can restrict.
If you’ll take the time to read this entire essay, I know you’ll gain some useful information and encouragement regarding your personal health and fitness goals. Some of it may seem outrageous, and you might even shake your head a bit, but I’ll do my best to present the truth and hopefully even make you laugh a bit (read the glossary). I’ll include a small glossary of terms at the end in case I lose you at “glycolytic”. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! So, here we go…
First off, let me just say that there are VERY FEW reasons why anyone would be prohibited from improving their overall health. Don’t make excuses for yourself, because YOU are responsible for your own health.
If you are in the following categories, you may have serious issues improving your overall health:
1. If you are deceased. You can’t take your body with you.
2. If you are not human. Not sure what to tell you in that case.
3. If you refuse to try.
4. If you just don’t care about your health.
If you’re not in any of the above categories, keep reading, and I guarantee that you’ll get some useful information and even some motivation.
Next, let’s cut to the chase with some TRUE or FALSE.
1. You can get fit by taking a pill or simply cutting back on food. FALSE.
a. There’s one basic thing to remember about maintaining or improving your health: The two aspects of personal health are nutrition AND exercise/activity. No supplement or diet ALONE is going to make you fit.
b. Most pills that are advertised to help you “get ripped” or “burn fat” don’t work and can be dangerous to your health. I’ve never found a study that proved any of these types of pills to be safely affective.
c. Many of these supplements, especially ones provided by small companies, may contain manipulative or even illegal substances. Most large companies that have a high reputation and the attention of supplement certification companies (USP, NSF, GMP, NPA) are GUARANTEED to provide better products for your nutritional health. Some companies desperate for results may include large quantities of powerful chemicals, such as Epinephrine, Caffeine, Tryptophan, and Ephedra. Some companies will even include small doses of illegal substances, such as HEROIN. The amount is small enough that it won’t show up in a urine or blood test, but it’s enough to affect your body. The FDA doesn’t certify most supplements for weight loss, so the producers can include almost any combination of ingredients that they see fit to get the “results” they advertise.
i. Your body can handle small amounts of these chemicals, but PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S IN YOUR SUPPLEMENTS.
ii. Losing weight naturally over a long period of time is much better than risking your safety by taking a rapid weight loss supplement.
2. Lots of cardio will melt away the fat or at least balance out what you eat. FALSE.
a. The order of importance goes something like this:
i. A healthy, balanced diet is most important. Without a balanced diet and the right amount of calories (Kcals), your body will struggle to perform properly.
ii. Strength training is next. It’s a fact that muscle uses fat as energy. The more muscle you have, the more fat will be utilized as an energy source, and the only way to building muscle is to strength train. This might sound scary, but it can be as easy as squatting in your living room for 15 minutes or doing pushups when you get out of bed. It can also be as advanced as weight lifting at the gym or even explosive power lifting exercises.
iii. Cardio comes in 3rd place. Yes, cardio is important for keeping your heart and lungs healthy, but cardio exercise should be practiced responsibly along with a healthy diet and strength training. Using cardio exercise as an excuse to eat what you want and avoid activity any other time is unhealthy and just plain silly! Remember to take care of your joints and muscles by warming up before you run, swim, bike, etc. Don’t be afraid to push yourself a little, but start slow and become familiar with your limits so you know when you NEED to stop, not just when you WANT to stop.
b. Cardio does not equal running! Running is a great cardio exercise, but don’t forget to use your imagination. Here are a few examples of joint-friendly cardiovascular exercises:
i. Riding a bike
iii. Barefoot walking/running (You have to run on the balls of your feet, because that’s how they’re designed to work. Start slow with this one.)
iv. Yoga or other endurance exercises
v. Use your imagination and create fun activities that will get your heart rate up.
vi. If any of these seem boring, find ways to involve your kids!
3. Strength training is only for men and will make you big and bulky. DOUBLE FALSE!!!
a. Remember what I said before? Muscle eats fat for breakfast. As you gain muscle, you will lose fat. I’m so tired of hearing women tell me that they don’t want to be big and bulky like a body builder. Trust me; it takes at least 8 hours a day for years to get big and bulky like that. You’d have to quit your job, ignore your kids, forget about getting any lovin’ from your other, and basically live at the gym to look big and bulky. Building muscle isn’t easy, and getting bulky is REALLY HARD, so relax, beautiful woman. Strength training can be fun and will only make you feel stronger and more attractive if you just go for it.
b. Men and women are built differently and we have different chemistry, but most women are already much stronger than they think they are. As always, you should start slow with any new exercise routine, but I’ve trained women who weighed 140 lbs and could bench press 105 lbs and squat 135 lbs. I even trained a couple 2 years ago who were both over 65, and the woman could leg press 245 lbs while remaining slender and pretty darn attractive for a 65-year-old with a bunch of grandkids to spoil. I was so excited about their enthusiasm and willingness to push each other to be stronger and healthier!
c. Remember, how you train is up to YOU. Get recommendations and ideas from trainers and others who have had results, but decide your own path. You are unique, different from everyone else on earth. What works for someone else might not work for you. Get out there and find something that you like to do and that helps you reach your unique goals.
d. Set realistic goals. If you have never done any strength training, your goals probably shouldn’t be to do 100 pushups in a day or squat 300 lbs by next month. This will take time. That’s actually one of the best parts about setting healthy goals. You get to spend the journey being amazed at every little improvement, and YOU WILL LOVE IT! Even if you have to spend 4 weeks doing the same 5 things, that first time you do an extra repetition or increase the resistance, it’ll be worth it just to know that you worked hard to get there and you got stronger or lost a few pounds. It’s the little things that will keep you going.
e. Strength is sexy. I think I can speak for almost all men on this one. A woman who can carry 4 kids at once, chase you through the house without getting winded, squat the end of the couch so that kids can get their lost toys, or load all of your luggage into the 12 passenger van BY HERSELF for the vacation she so badly needs, is SO ATTRACTIVE!!!
4. Setting and accomplishing smart fitness goals is much easier with a partner. TRUE TRUE TRUE!!!
a. Why do most people pay so much for a personal trainer? They just want a workout partner who knows what they’re doing. A personal trainer is just a normal person who has studied and practiced how to successfully get stronger, faster, bigger, smaller, etc. They don’t have special powers to make you fit, as the Lord knows we all wish was possible. My goal as a trainer is always to provide a friendly helper and some strong encouragement to whoever I’m training. A lot of people actually prefer that I exercise WITH them so that we’re in the same boat. If you’re blessed with financial abundance, find an awesome personal trainer whose goal is to motivate and educate you. That’s what they’re for.
b. Use your fitness goals as an opportunity to build relationships with those you care about. Invite your best friend over or go to the gym together. Work out with your spouse. It might be a little awkward at first, but use that as an opportunity to build trust and fall in love with each other even more as you work together toward a common goal. Imagine the power of a little encouragement from your soul mate. What a reward! Then, return the favor, because judgment and embarrassment go out the door when you’re both sweating and struggling together.
c. If you can’t find a buddy, find something that motivates you. I listen to dubstep music when I work out. It’s fast and gets me pumped up. Some people like to exercise in a specific location, such as a park, their favorite gym, or even the back porch. Find what gets you pumped up and get started!
5. Educating yourself is the most important thing you can do for your personal health. TRUE AGAIN!!!
a. Ask lots of questions. As a personal trainer with lots of knowledge to share, I LOVE it when people ask tons of questions.
Here are some good ones I’ve received:
i. How is squatting good for me?
ii. Why do I need to take a 30-60 second break between sets when I’m lifting weights?
iii. How many times per week should I exercise?
iv. Am I doing this right?
v. Why is it better to start with exercises that involve more than one joint?
vi. Can I add more weight?
vii. Why do my muscles hurt the most on the second day after exercising them?
viii. What is glycolytic exercise?
b. Buy a copy of Essentials of Personal Training or Essentials of Strength and Conditioning and READ IT! Those are two books that helped me understand how the body works and how to maximize your training results.
c. Take a class and PAY ATTENTION! Personal training and strength and conditioning classes are EXTREMELY helpful if you do your homework and take advantage of the instructor’s wealth of knowledge.
d. Do you know a personal trainer? Slip him/her a twenty and conduct an interview. Ask as many questions as possible, and make ‘em good ones.
Congratulations! You made it to the end!
That’s all I have room to include for now, but there is SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN. Feel free to contact me or my awesome mom for even more information and motivation. Now get out there and DO STUFF!
Kuyler Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Strength training: Exercising with the goal of increasing one’s strength, usually with the use of weights, machines, or other forms of resistance.
2. Cardio exercise: Exercise that puts stress on your cardiovascular system (your heart and lungs). These exercises are usually endurance based and have low levels of physical strain. See Oxidative Exercise below.
3. Personal training: Assisting ordinary individuals in reaching fitness goals, usually limited to gaining better overall health and fitness. Some personal training can be done in small groups, as it is only focused on general health and fitness.
4. Strength and conditioning: Assisting athletes or trained individuals reach goals to improve sports or other specific goals. This is usually done in a private environment with a very strict diet and exercise program specific to only one person.
5. Squatting: The act of lifting weight while standing upright with the majority of the movement taking place below the waste. Look up Back Squat or Front Squat for more information.
6. Dubstep: Electronic music, usually possessing a very aggressive beat, a dark minor chord progression, and a heavy bass layer. The “sawtooth” effect is most commonly used as the main melodic instrument sound.
7. Vacation: This is myth. If you read this blog, you probably don’t have time for one of these. Some would define this as a journey which requires one to angrily travel hundreds of miles only to discover that you forgot to pack your swimming trunks.
8. Glycolytic exercise: Exercise that combines the oxidative and phosphagen systems for energy. This is often a combination of high energy exercise for intermediate periods of time, such as hard swimming for 2 minutes, doing 50 box jumps, or running up and down bleachers with a short break between laps. This type of exercise will cause lactic acid to build up in your muscles, causing a burning sensation.
9. Oxidative exercise: Exercise which requires the respiratory system to act as the main fuel delivery system. This usually involves endurance activities, such as running, long distance biking, swimming laps, or triathlons. This exercise is not intense enough to allow lactic acid to build up and is primarily beneficial to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This type of exercise will not result in muscle growth, but will utilize stored fat cells as an energy source.
10. Phosphagenic exercise: Explosive exercise which quickly utilizes Phosphate stores within the muscle cells being utilized to provide a short, powerful movement. This type of exercise will result in quick fatigue due to the rapid use of the Phosphate energy stored in the cells. Creatine Phosphate is a powerful energy source and can serve as an effective supplement for this type of exercise. Olympic lifting, power lifting, and other forms of short, explosive exercise are considered phosphagenic.
11. Lactic Acid: A toxic fluid that builds up in muscles during Glycolytic exercise as a result of glucose and ATP being converted over time. This will cause a burning sensation during exercise. The onset of lactic acid can be delayed by regular resistance training. To rid the muscles of lactic acid, continue to use the “burning” muscles lightly for about 30-60 seconds after an exercise or longer depending on the intensity. This will keep blood flow through those muscles high enough to carry the lactic acid away from the muscles and cease the burning sensation. Immediately stopping a glycolytic exercise without ridding the muscles or lactic acid can be unhealthy for the muscle cells and can hinder your training improvement.