Archive | Workouts & Routines

Exercise During Pregnancy – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Are you pregnant? Has your doctor told you to get moving in some way, to do some sort of exercise? (By the way, ALWAYS check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program.)

Exercise can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Here is some food for thought if you are struggling with starting an exercise program during your pregnancy.

==> The Good.

You need to exercise during pregnancy. You need to gently stretch and stay as flexible as possible. This can make a huge difference in the quality of your delivery and recovery.

I know. I’ve had four full time pregnancies and I’ve experienced firsthand the difference staying flexible can make. Exercise also keeps your body working at a higher efficiency rate which will help you sleep better and improve your digestion, two things not to be taken lightly during pregnancy.

The difference exercise during pregnancy can make for your post-partum recovery is amazing. Again, I can tell you from firsthand experience, that a comfortable and reasonable fitness routine (simple walking is terrific) can help your body ‘snap back’ like nothing else.

Physical exercise has been shown to improve moods. Girlfriend, we know how to have moods when we’re pregnant, don’t we? Enough said.

And don’t forget this vital point. A healthier mom means a healthier baby. How can you argue with that?

==> The Bad.

Exercise performed during pregnancy is different than exercise at other times. You’ve got to be extra-sensitive to your body needs. You’ve got to go slower and be willing to stop sooner. You must be willing to be flexible in your choice of exercise, too. If you like to run, you probably won’t be able to keep that up your entire pregnancy. Of course, that choice will be between you and your doctor.

Still, all those points have a silver lining. A great exercise for pregnancy is swimming. And hey, no one cares what you look like in a bathing suit! In fact, being pregnant is a wonderful time to celebrate the beauty of your body. Take advantage, buy a cute suit, and head for the water.

An additional safety point to consider when you exercise is not to overheat. I’ve experienced this, as well, and it is not fun. I was only fourteen weeks pregnant, but the weather was hot and humid. I was playing horseshoes (hardly an aerobic sport), but after a short time I was feeling terrible. The people around me were commenting on how flushed I looked. When I went inside it took a very long time for me to cool down, much longer than normal.

So be careful. Exercise during pregnancy is meant to benefit you and your baby, but that means it needs to be moderate and regulated. Save the Olympics for later.

==> The Ugly.

You’re pregnant. You feel sick. You’re tired. Exercise?? Are you crazy?

It’s true. Even the most die-hard fitness gal often finds motivation for exercise during her pregnancy much more difficult. So if you are not a regular exerciser, you’re wondering how you can possibly pull this off. Even if you know it’s very important to your health and your baby’s well-being, it can be hard to simply get started.

The number one recommendation I can give you is to not to do this on your own. It’s just too big of a leap during this season in your life. The great news is you have some excellent options that can make your exercise time downright fun.

Look for an exercise system or group specifically designed for pregnant women. (For a detailed review of such a system, see the author’s resource box following this article.) Look for one that gives abundant support. This is crucial! You need to be in regular contact with other exercising pregnant women. This will give you the motivation you need to keep up your exercise program even when you don’t feel like it.

Let’s face it. You’ll need someplace to vent and share openly about your pregnancy experiences. An exercise group of other moms-to-be could be a very, very helpful thing to you. I highly recommend it.

So do something wonderful for yourself and your baby today and get moving!

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What Type of Footwear Should I Put on For A Mini Trampoline?

The advantage of a mini trampoline is it can be utilized both outside and inside. This begs the particular question then: what type of footwear will be best suited? Will particular footwear wear down the trampoline pad? Would it be safe to jump with your bare feet? How about socks?

We’re here to reply to these kinds of questions once and for all so that you could increase your comfort as well as being safe.

Let’s begin by covering the shoes we recommend you DO use for your small trampoline. Certainly, you should first check with any paperwork that came with your rebounder regarding certain guidelines from the maker.

A set of tennis, running, or cross training shoes are ideal for working out on a small trampoline. They have enough traction on the soles to make sure you do not slide, yet they’re still gentle enough to not cause damage to the trampoline top layer over time. Additionally, these types of shoes provide great support for individuals that have poor arches or perhaps if you find your feet hurt after a round on the small trampoline. These types of shoes were created for bouncing, which will let you stay firm while jumping your way to your fitness goals.

Much better compared to tennis shoes are no shoes. Your own bare feet come with a natural non-slip sole. Additionally, you will be able to experience the subtle adjustments in the surface of the mini trampoline which will let you get used to changes in your jumping sequence. Also, bouncing on your naked feet can help improve your foot muscles that would otherwise not be used while using shoes. It truly is dependent on comfort and choice whether you choose to don tennis shoes or leave your feet bare.

An ideal compromise in between bare feet and footwear come in the form of Vibram FiveFinger shoes. They might look strange, but they definitely do provide you with the non-slip grip of a shoe with all the overall flexibility and subtle motions that are included with barefoot rebounding!

Regarding safety sake, our recommendation is that you don’t use the following when using a little trampoline. You’ll also extend the life span of your trampoline by following these suggestions.

Though it may be inviting to jump with your socks, especially when doing exercises at home, it’s a bad idea. Your socks give the bottom of your feet with no proper grip in any way. The top of the trampoline is sleek also. Add to that the proven fact that you’ll be jumping and twisting on the trampoline and it’s a recipe for disaster.

If we have not previously mentioned it in this posting, then it’s probably not smart to wear on a mini trampoline. We’re discussing stuff like flip-flops, sandals, cleats, boots, dress shoes, high heel pumps, slip-ons, the list can go much more. Use common sense and stick to bare feet or athletic shoes having soft soles while rebounding. It is going to make sure that you as well as your trampoline last for years in the future.

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Leadership Training – 5 Benefits Youth Gain From Leadership Training

Are you considering developing or supporting a leadership program for youth? Forge full steam ahead because there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Leadership training maximizes the potential, productivity, and results of youth. It’s a win-win!

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Likewise, sowing a solid leadership training program into the lives of teenagers reaps a harvest of leaders for life. You’ll offer youth the opportunity to gain these five benefits from one powerful seed.

1. Youth develop key skills.

Youth develop skills in communications, critical thinking, leadership, problem solving, and human relations. Leaders need these skills to be effective in their roles. At the same time, youth learn about character, values, and ethics. Where would any leader be without them?

2. Youth build confidence.

Leadership training inspires teenagers to dream more, to do more, and to become more. Everything begins with confidence and a good leadership training program helps each young person discover that he or she has the potential to lead. This potential gets nurtured through learning activities, special projects, internships, and community service.

Think about it. Who does not want to be thought of as a leader? That’s why the best leadership training programs are inclusive. They include the average and often overlooked, not just straight A students.

3. Youth receive current, cutting edge techniques, strategies and solutions.

Youth receive current information on leadership challenges, the traits of leaders, what it takes to lead, motivating others, how to resolve conflict, dealing with difficult people, effective presentation skills, etiquette, practical money skills and more.

4. Youth gain experience through service learning projects.

According to Donald H. McGannon, “Leadership is action, not position.” Hence, service learning projects provide action and valuable experience. Youth explore real issues as they work with leaders in the nonprofit sector, business, and government. At the same time they build relationships with mentors who serve as positive role models.

5. Youth get positive results.

“If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there…if you don’t know where you’re going no road will get you there. A solid youth leadership program sets teenagers on the right path – one paved with opportunity. It positions youth for ongoing positive results. Skills are developed, information is imparted, and experience is gained.

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Our Top Ten Team Building Exercises

You’ve recruited the individual members of your team. You’ve established your goal. You’ve developed a plan and a timeline. Now the trick is to get all those unique individuals working together toward the same goal. Given the varied personalities, communication skills and personal agendas individual members bring with them to the team, getting your team to work cooperatively can be a challenge.

In the most productive teams, members are individually and cooperatively focused on reaching the team’s goal. Members understand the interdependent nature of the team: that their individual work depends upon and affects the quality of others’ work and, ultimately, the ability of the team to reach its goal. Members respect, appreciate and recognize each person’s unique contribution to the team’s efforts, but place the greatest emphasis on cooperative achievement of the team goal.

Experiential team building was all the rage not long ago. The team would travel offsite for a “fun” day of rope games and unusual problem solving, typically at an outdoor education center. Unfortunately, too often there was little follow-up and any lessons learned never made it back into the workplace. Today, the emphasis has shifted to in-house team building exercises that can be accomplished at the beginning of a meeting.

Follow these key steps to plan a productive team building exercise:

  1. Keep it simple. It should be quick and easy to set up in a typical meeting room.
  2. It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can get a lot of mileage out of basic office supplies or a few items from your kitchen pantry.
  3. The exercise should be geared for normal office clothing or team members should be told ahead of time to dress appropriately.
  4. People have a hard time relating to large groups, so divide the team into small units of 2 to 4 or 6 people. By breaking down barriers and creating partnerships within these small groups, team members will be better able to relate to the larger team.
  5. Instructions must be easy to understand, especially by any non-native English speakers in your group.
  6. Limited instructions may be part of the team building exercise. Forcing people to figure out what to do or how to do something helps team members identify skills and abilities in themselves and their peers that can help them define their roles on the team: leader, facilitator, problem-solver, communicator, etc.
  7. The exercise should engage all members quickly.
  8. It should present a problem that has multiple solutions to allow for creativity, but that can only be solved through collaboration and cooperative action.
  9. You can increase the difficulty level of any exercise by adding a complication such as “no talking,” or by speeding things up by asking, “How can you do it faster?”
  10. At the completion of the exercise, it is crucial that a facilitator, often the team leader, lead the team in reflecting on what happened, the choices made, and how they interacted with each other. Team members should discuss what they would do differently next time. Reflection is critical to identifying and reinforcing learning.

Try these team building exercises to get your team off on the right foot.

  1. Scrambled Jigsaw. Before the team arrives, place a jigsaw on each table. To manage the time element, use large-piece children’s puzzles of 100 pieces or so. Remove 5 pieces from each puzzle and move them to another table. As the team arrives, divide members among the tables. Instruct teams to fully complete their puzzle, by any means, in the shortest amount of time possible. As puzzles are completed and teams realize pieces are missing, they will be forced to negotiate with other teams to complete their puzzle. This exercise promotes flexibility, communication, negotiation and cooperation.
  2. Creative Assembly. Purchase 3-D punch-out wood dinosaur puzzle kits. Divide the team into groups of 2 to 4. Without comment or instruction, give each group the unpunched puzzle pieces, one complete puzzle per group. Do not let the group see the boxes, pictures or instructions or in any way identify what you have given them. Instruct each group to assemble its project, telling them they can only use what is in front of them. You’ll get some interesting and creative constructions, a lot of laughter and some good natured frustration, particularly with the winged dinosaur kits. When time is up, ask each group to describe its construct. In this exercise, creative thinking, brainstorming, problem-solving, cooperation and consensus will certainly get a workout.
  3. Slight of Hand. Divide team into groups of 4 to 6. Hand each group 4 tennis balls. Tell them each person must handle all 4 balls in the shortest time possible. Do this several times, each time asking, “How can you do it faster?” This exercise will progress from the obvious passing of the balls down a line, to around a circle, to some interesting ball drops and hand swiping. Your team will practice cooperation, quick thinking and creative problem solving in this exercise.
  4. Going Up. Divide team into groups of 2 to 6. Give each person one 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper and one 5″ strip of masking tape. Instruct each team to build the tallest possible free-standing structure. This exercise promotes cooperation, creative thinking, problem-solving, consensus, leadership and division of labor.
  5. Gnome Dome. Divide the team into groups of 2. Give each group 20 gumdrops and 12 toothpicks. Instruct each group to build a dome. Problem-solving, creative thinking, cooperation (and possibly snacking) will be practiced during this exercise.
  6. Poisonous Web. Stretch a piece of rope across a door frame, securing it to the frame or connecting wall with duct tape. You’ll need two pieces of rope, one 3 feet off the ground, the other 4 1/2 feet off the ground. You are creating a “window” 18 inches wide that you describe to the team as a “poisonous spider web.” The team must work together to get all members through the opening without touching the ropes. They must go through, not under or over the ropes. If a team member touches either rope, the entire team must go back to the beginning and try again. This exercise builds cooperation, leadership, creativity and problem-solving. It also forces team members to trust and depend on each other.
  7. Hang Ups. Hand each person a wire coat hanger. Tell the group they may work individually or create their own groups. Instruct them to make something useful from their coat hanger. Set a time limit of 5 to 15 minutes. Ask each person/group to describe his “tool” and its use. This exercise will indicate which of your team members are natural leaders or born socialites as well as which are more shy and may need to be drawn out when working with the group.
  8. In the Picture. This is another puzzle game. Divide the team into groups and give each one a jigsaw puzzle from which you have already removed one piece. Each team will complete a puzzle with one missing piece. Ask each team what this represents in terms of the team. You’re aiming for discovery of the importance of each individual to the successful accomplishment of the team’s goal, but you may get some interesting responses about proper planning, supply officers and quality control.
  9. All Aboard. This is another physical game. Depending on the size of your team, place a 1-foot to 3-foot square of cardboard on the floor, or mark off a square with masking or duct tape. Draw numbers, one for each team member. In order of the numbers drawn, team members must stand in the square. As the number of people in the square increases, members will have to work together and get creative to get everyone aboard. This exercise practices cooperation, problem-solving and leadership.
  10. Bridge the Gap. Divide the group into teams of 2 to 4. Give each group a small ball of modeling clay and 12 toothpicks. Instruct them to build the longest cantilever bridge they can. Award points for speed of construction, length of bridge, ability to stand without tipping over and ability to hold weight (to measure this, stack quarters until the bridge tips or breaks). Team members will practice creativity, problem-solving, consensus (and manual dexterity).

To be successful, teamwork must be more than a method of dividing up the work to get the job done. Teamwork must embrace a cooperative attitude of mutual respect, shared responsibility and open communication. Teamwork recognizes each team member’s individual contribution to the team in the context of the interdependency of those efforts in cooperative pursuit of the team’s goal.

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English Bulldog Training – 4 Things You Have to Know About English Bulldog Training

One of the many things I’ve learned throughout my life as a dog trainer and breeder is the intelligence that the English bulldog posses. These are extremely intelligent creatures and are very quick to learn and extra eager to please their owners. It should be said however, that it does take special techniques and the proper knowledge of English bulldog training to get it just right. While there is no possible way to cram everything you need to know about training you’re English bulldog into one small article, here are some basic guidelines to follow by:

The first thing you need to know is that the English bulldog is a very smart animal that responds very well to almost any kind of activity that involves him/her having to undergo the problem solving process. However, as smart as this dog is, it does have a tendency to be rather lazy and inactive, so stimulation for this breed needs to occur over a longer period of time in small and short sessions. Anything over 15 minutes and you’re English bulldog will probably get too bored and simply walk off.

The second thing you need to note is that because of the English bulldog’s tendency to be on the lazy and cozy side of things, it is not a very physically active dog, even though its build might make it appear to be. Of course it is still very important that you throughout the life of the dog, small exercise sessions are put into the English bulldog training routine. This is not just so the dog can expel energy and become more focused for training sessions, but for the dog’s health as well.

Thirdly, the English bulldog while lazy can have a dominance streak in its personality; this of course needs to be cured. When training an English bulldog, the owner has to be strong and firm, while always avoiding hitting the animal. While these breed doesn’t require an extremely dominate personality in its master, it does need someone who is at least semi-dominate to ensure that the bulldog does not get too out of hand and grows up to be well mannered.

The last, but surely far from least English bulldog training principle that needs to be mentioned is that of proper socialization. This is true for any breed of dog, and far too often do I see it never mentioned and left out of a dogs training routine all together. This principle is far too essential to let it go without a second thought. If you do not properly socialize and dog, it will become overly aggressive and protective towards any other animals or strangers outside of the family he/her knows. This is always a bad characteristic in a dog and can sometimes be a dangerous one. Ensure that you’re English bulldog undergoes the correct process for socialization.

Again, these are only 4 very important principles out of very many other important English bulldog training principles. It is my very strong professional recommendation that you seek out more information on English bulldog training for you’re pet immediately after this article, there’s no reason to wait. This is far to important of a subject to just let it slide by, you’re pets health and happiness depends on it!

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Freestride Trainer Vs Bowflex Max – What’s the Difference?

Trying to choose between the Nordictrack Freestride Trainer vs Bowflex Max? Wondering which is the best machine for your home?

These are two very popular elliptical-type machines that help you get better results than a standard elliptical trainer. And coming in around the same price range means a lot of people are trying to decide between the two.

This article will give you a rundown of the main differences between the two to help you find the right option for you.

#1 Type of Motion

These two machines give you two very different types of exercise motion. The Freestride Trainer is more like an elliptical trainer.

You can go forward and back. You even can change the slope of the elliptical pathway with incline and decline.

But unlike a typical elliptical trainer which has a set stride length, you can actually vary your stride with the Freestride trainer. So you can do short stair-stepping motions, longer running strides or even longer hurdling type strides.

So you get to constantly change up the motion, leading to less adaptation and more calories burned.

The Bowflex Max Trainer gives you more of a stair-climbing motion – with elliptical-style moving arm bars to tone your upper body.

You don’t have as much flexibility to vary your movements as with the Freestride trainer but you do have a high-calorie burning workout that really works your lower body and core muscles.

#2 Workout Program Options

While this varies depending on the model of Max Trainer or Freestride Trainer that you choose, in general you get a few more built-in workouts with the Freestride trainer than with the Max Trainer.

However all Max Trainer models do come with the famous 14 minute high intensity workout built in.

This workout is part of what makes the Max Trainer so popular – and effective. It’s a high intensity interval workout designed to get you maximum calorie burn in minimum time – and even keep you burning calories post workout for hours.

#3 Calories Burned

The Max Trainer has the slight edge here – but only because Bowflex has had the foresight to actually do the lab testing of their machine.

With the Max Trainer you can burn up to 2.5 times more calories than a stairclimber, treadmill or elliptical.

Max Trainer users in a fitness trial actually burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes, which is amazing.

This doesn’t mean you can’t burn more calories on a Freestride trainer than on an elliptical. In fact you probably can (because you’re not acclimating to one set stride – and you’re always challenging your body).

But so far Nordictrack is not really publishing calories burned results yet. So there’s no hard data to stand on and compare against the Max Trainer.

#4 Console

I always like to look at the console of a machine because, let’s face it, you’re going to be looking at it a lot during your workout. So you want to see just what you’ll be looking at (i.e. is it backlit, easy to read, easy to use etc.)

The Bowflex Max Trainer models come with various consoles but for the most part you get easy-to-read feedback with an intuitive layout.

There’s even an intensity meter that lets you engage and really challenge yourself to go further. However there aren’t a lot of toys or extras on the console.

On the other hand the Freestride Trainer console is backlit and easy to read as well – but you get a lot of toys and extras.

For example the FS7 and FS9 models come with full-color, touch-screen consoles with web browsers. So you can surf the net, watch YouTube videos or read emails as you workout. Very cool.

You also get a built-in jack for your iPod or mp3 player with console speakers to listen to your favorite tunes.

#5 Price

While the price range is in the same ballpark, the Max Trainer does start out a bit cheaper, with a starter model coming in around $1200 and going up from there.

As of this writing the most affordable Freestride Trainer comes in around $1599. So if you’re on a budget, then the Max Trainer might be right up your alley.

So those are some of the main differences between the Nordictrack Freestride Trainer vs Bowflex Max. They both have a lot of advantages over standard elliptical trainers.

It really comes down to what you want, your budget and your workout goals. Good luck and have fun!

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Fixed Training Costs Vs Variable Training Costs

The current economic client makes it difficult for training departments to obtain any extra funds, much less normal operating funds. Many times departments must “make do” with the budget they’ve been handed. But once you have a budget, no matter how large or how small, you should have an idea of what costs are fixed and what costs are variable.

Fixed training costs are simply the ones you can count on at any point. You’ll budget for these costs and be able to rely on the fact that they will most likely stay the same. For example, the salaries of the training staff are relatively fixed. When you work on your budget, for whatever time period, you know if you’ll be able to add staff, which we will discuss in a moment. You’ll also know how much to budget for increases based on the average from the last year. But altogether, you’ll be able to count on salary as a fixed item.

The equipment you use routinely for training is also a fixed cost. In fact, much of the equipment training departments use is bought and paid for at one time. These items are every day use items such as copiers, computers, laptops, overhead projectors, LCD’s, screens, automatic whiteboards, and any other equipment that is routinely used in the classroom or in the administrative office. But don’t forget that you’ll need to fix the cost of the upkeep on these items. Light bulbs for overheads and LCD’s are fairly expensive, and must be replaced with an item that is approved by the manufacturer. One way to fix these costs is to know how long these items last and plan for their replacements accordingly. One of the biggest shocks to a training budget is when all of the LCD’s burn out at one time, leading to an expense item that can add up to thousands of dollars.

Overhead is also a fixed expense. As a training manager, you know how much it costs to maintain your location or locations. These costs include the rent or mortgage payment, the expenses that accompany the locations, such as office supplies and paper, and also any income that comes in from other departments or companies renting space in an owned building. You can also include utility costs as fixed overhead, but be careful when the weather becomes extremely hot or extremely cold – one way to do this is to ensure that engineering installs timed thermostats. Many organizations waste overhead money heating and cooling spaces that are empty overnight or over a weekend, so the training department can continue to prove its worth by turning off the utilities when they are not in use.

Finally, fixed or planned programs are also fixed costs. For example, if you know how many people will be in leadership development over the budget period, you can plan for the materials and outsourcing costs right away. The best thing to do with planned programs is stick to them unless changes become absolutely necessary.

On the other side of the budget, variable costs are the ones you’ll need to plan for more carefully. Do you pay usage fees for bandwidth or online courses based on the number of users? If so, this is a variable cost. You can look at average usage from the previous year, or you can simply purchase an advanced number of users for online courses in order to manage this cost. But don’t end up in the position of turning people away.

Your materials costs can also be variable. Think about which programs are not “fixed”, such as new hire training. You know what the organization’s turnover is, but can you anticipate large jumps in turnover? You also know the organization’s vision and business plan, so use that to plan your materials cost. One of the best ways to deal with this cost is to purchase materials as needed and plan as you go. There’s nothing worse than ending up with boxes of an outdated manual.

Finally, large variable costs can include mergers, acquisitions, expansions, and reductions. You should have an idea of where the organization is headed as far as mergers or acquisitions – and plan the budget accordingly. But there could be unexpected changes such as reductions or expansions that cause you to have to fork over money for space reconfiguration or additions to staff.

The management of variable items depends in a large part on the kind of budgeting system your organization uses. If budgets are fixed, there is not much leeway. But if budgets are “rolling” budgets or “pro-forma” style budgets, you can manage money a little easier as the variable costs swing from one side to the other. For fixed budgets, the best way to handle variable expenses is to look for ways to pay for them out of fixed costs. When variables come your way, find out how the organizational budget is handled and ask for help from the financial managers.

Now that you know which training costs are fixed and which are variable, you’ll be better prepared to manage the money as issues arise.

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Facial Exercises For Cheeks

The muscle associated with your cheeks is known as the Zygomatic Arch, through the two exercises detailed in this article you can tone, strengthen and lose fat from your cheeks.

Facial Exercises For Cheeks #1 “The Blowfish”

The first facial exercise for cheeks is known as “the Blowfish” The Blowfish works to reduce the fat and puffiness in your cheeks. It smooths them to form lean angles by highlighting the Zygomatic arch. This exercise for face muscle also help to bring out out and define your cheekbones.

Step 1 – Fill your left cheek with air to it’s maximum capacity. Open the left corner of your mouth and use the muscles of your left cheek to push the air out, exerting as much force outwardly as you can.

Step 2 – Now switch sides and repeat with the right side of your face.

Facial Exercises For Cheeks #2 The Cheek Flattener

This is a very comprehensive facial exercise as it works your both the Orbicularis Oris muscle located around your eyes and the Modiolus muscle ob either sides of your lips as well as working your Zygomatic Arch muscle above your cheek bones. (do not worry about these names as you only need to know the exercises). The cheek flattener may take a while to get use to, but its the quickest way to get rid of cheek fat.

Step 1 – Close your mouth and blow air under your top lip, puffing it out hold for ten seconds.

Step 2 – Move the air to your left cheek, hold for ten seconds

Step 3 – Repeat for the right cheek and hold for ten seconds

Step 4 – Repeat this entire routine ten times.

Muscle Contraction

By doing these facial exercises for cheeks, which is taken from a proper face exercise program your muscles can become contracted and thus your facial skin will also contract, giving you a nice smoothing skin surface, which also reduces wrinkles.

How Is Fat Reduced By Cheek Exercises?

Most of the time, if fat is stored in your face, your cheek area is the first part of your face the fat will be stored through your calorie intake, the other is below your chin. You may have known that targeting a specific area to lose fat is impossible, this is true, however; you would also have known that muscle is very good at burning calories. For people who have a fat face but a skinny body, this means that the fat from their calorie intake is stored in their face before anywhere else. By strengthening and toning your face muscles, through facial exercises for cheeks and chin, this will reduce the the fat that is stored in your face, because the muscle burns calories really well.

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The Best Personal Trainer Certification (Part 3)

Specialized Certifications for Personal Trainers & Strength Coaches: PICP

I just took the Poliquin International Certification Program (PICP) level 1 Strength Coach Certification in New York City ($650, 3 days). It was really good information.

I learned about the certification through a mentor, Joe Dowdell. I trust his opinion because he is very committed to continuing education and has taken pretty much every respectable certification.

Charles Poliquin is a famous strength coach who has trained more Olympians than any other strength coach I can think of (except maybe Mike Boyle).

If you read Part. 1 of this series, you know that there are a lot of good certifications out there, and there is no one best certification for everyone. It all depends on who you want to work with and your career path.

But, if you want to work with athletes to increase performance, this certification is up there with the NSCA’s C.S.C.S. and the Athlete’s Performance mini-internship (both of which I have taken, and honestly, even though NSCA is the most respected, I feel like I got more practical knowledge from Poliquin and Athlete’s Performance.)

There are several things that I loved about this certification, and a couple of things that I think could be improved.

Pros

* The level 1 strength coach certification focuses on manipulating acute training variable (sets, reps, tempo, and rest) for highly effective program design. These may seem like basics, but no other certification covers it like Poliquin. It’s amazing how few people really understand how to manipulate time under tension, tempo, and rest for specific goals and sports. They also emphasize creating precise descriptions of every exercise, to ensure the most amount of variation and adaptation (Squat vs Barbell Back Squat Shoulder Width Stance).

* I loved how much research they provided as evidence, although they could have done a better job summarizing it. I have found that the best certifications specialize in one area. (Too many certifications try to be a jack of all trades, and end up being a master of none.)

* The information easily transfers to practical application, and is applicable to your general population clients. If you want to learn program design, in particular for power, strength, or fat loss, this certification is great.

* They provide a good methodology and protocol for testing maximal strength, although somewhat incomplete (see below). Based on this test, they provide a nice formula, based on studies, for assessing the balance of strength throughout the upper body. (Ex. If you lift xxx on the bench press, you should be able to do 8rm of external rotation with 8.6% of that bench press weight, and if you can’t there is an imbalance etc).

* The course instructors were friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with their attention.

* You have to take a test before being admitted to the class, in addition to a test at the end. I like this! Only committed trainers show up, and they show up with a good understanding of the basic material, so nobody asks stupid questions.

Cons

* One of the instructors didn’t understand BASIC biomechanics. Either that, or we had a major miss communication.

* Some of the pictures in the manual were misleading and/or confusing.

* The little demo on stretching was a waste of time at best, and misleading at worst. Stick to what you are good at, leave the stretching to certifications that focus on that!

* We were quizzed on Cluster Training and German Body training, which is very cool stuff, but we only glossed over it during the lecture. I would like to have spent more time on these specific programs, but there is a lot of good info about them online too.

* Some of the topics in the manual could be worded better. Initially, they do an ok job of defining the different strength qualities (limit strength, maximal strength, absolute strength, speed strength, strength endurance), but aren’t as clear when they refer to these qualities later on in the manual.

* They were clearly negligent and not following their own methodology when they chose a trainer to demonstrate the 1rm testing protocol for the bench press. The specifically chose someone who appeared to be out of structural alignment, and then tested him to his limit, without ever asking him if he has been working out consistently for the last 12 weeks (which is their own protocol).

* Furthermore, they should change their protocol and ask what kind of workout has been done over the last 12 weeks, because a person could be working out for 12 weeks and still not be ready for a 1rm bench press. RULE # 1 in personal training is do no harm. The trainer came in the next day and couldn’t participate in certain lifts, and my understanding was that he had joint pain, not just muscular soreness. Not cool and not necessary. I later talked to another trainer who said he was injured in a PICP certification.

You may read this last part and say “Whoa, no way am I doing this certification” but I think you should reconsider, it is a very valuable certification, just know your own limits and don’t do anything you think is risky (and keep the ego in check! I know it is hard when there are other trainers around).

We all had to do a 1rm test to get experience; I chose the pull up because I am a rock climber. I was able to do 1 pull-up with 90lbs loaded on me, chin over bar. There are several exercises to choose from, so you should be able to find one you are comfortable with, and if not, you can and should pass.

Biomechanics

Regarding the biomechanics issue, one of the instructors mentioned he does 1 and ¼ reps on bench press with girls with the ¼ rep at the top of the motion, because this part of the motion overloads the triceps and girls care about the back of their arms looking good.

Totally cool with me. This instructor had mentioned that he is very precise in tracking his programs and exercises, so I asked was if he ever manipulated their intention on the bar to overload their triceps also?

In other words, you can push out against the friction of the barbell with your triceps, your hands aren’t going to move, but the line of force caused by the friction, when combined with the line of force of the barbell (gravity) creates a resultant with a different line of force that changes the force angle’s at the axes of rotation of the shoulder joint and elbow joint. (Not a typo, axes is the plural of axis. Who knew?)

With intention, you can make the lowest part of bench press harder for the triceps, and the top part harder for the chest. Can you do this and still lift maximal weight? No! Can you just lift a barbell with only your triceps? No! But that was not my question.

His response was “I would love for you to come do chest with me sometime” as if who could bench the most would settle who knew the most (It doesn’t, duh).

Whoa there cowboy, first off, I was just asking a question, second off, I would be honored to workout with you because you know a lot, even if you don’t understand basic biomechanics, and thirdly, you are welcome to do one of my empire state building stair workouts with me. I can get up 86 flights in UNDER 15minutes, I would love to watch your face as you try and keep up, although to do that I would have to slow down, and slow ain’t my style buddy. Either way, neither of these workouts would settle anything, I was just trying to learn from his perspective without losing my perspective.

His final response was “Yeah, you could probably do that, but why not just do a triceps exercise instead of modifying a bench press?” Really, didn’t we start this conversation because you said you liked modifying a bench press with 1 and ¼ reps to hit the triceps more? Sheesh! I wasn’t going to push, because it wasn’t a seminar about biomechanics and I didn’t want to be one of those trainers who take over a lecture to prove their point. Anyway, this instructor has a lot of potential, but he is young and testy! I liked him to say the least:)

I hope you enjoyed this post, and will consider this certification. Also, if you want to be able to rip apart knowledgeable instructors, text books, and pretty much everyone else in the gym about biomechanics or exercise mechanics, you should strongly consider the Resistance Training Specialist certification.

What is your favorite certification? Why? What information helped you pick a certification? Is there any topic you want to learn about in particular? Would you take the PICP certification?

Leave me some questions in the comments and I will get right back to you. SHOW ME YOU ARE ALIVE!

Until next time, keep your business fit.

Johnny Fitness

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How the DP Exercise Bike Stacks Up Against Better Known Brands

The name DP exercise bike might not be as recognizable as other brands like Schwinn, Nautilus and ProForm, but this brand has been around for quite some time and is one of the most respected names in the physical fitness business. Currently, DP is better known for selling exercise bike parts and exercise equipment supplies.

Most DP indoor bikes are old models and are quite difficult to get hold of except in online stores and secondhand retailers. One of the models of DP that became quite popular was the DP Fit for Life Airgometer upright bike. This model costs around $1,000 to $1,200 and carries the basic features of an upright indoor bike.

Another model from the DP fitness brand is the Vita Master MBP2. It features various program settings and tension controls. It also has a heart-rate monitor and features battery operated controls. Aside from the Vita Master and the Airgometer, DP also offers DP Air Advantage, DP AirCisor, DP Prime Fit 6100, DP Sit for Life Aircizer and DP Vitamaster MD193.

DP has been overshadowed by more recognizable brands like Schwinn and ProForm. Schwinn, for one, has multiple models out in the market, including the 230 recumbent bike, the 130 upright and the Airdyne exercise bike. Scwhinn’s products can cost from $350 to over $1,000. One of the brand’s more expensive model, the Evolution, sells at more than $1,000 and has been highly rated by product reviewers. It features an inertia drive system, adjustable resistance and direct drive gearing.

ProForm, another brand competing with DP in the indoor bike market, offers machines that cost $150 to $1,200. One of its low end models is the SR30. The features of this machine are very basic and the model is geared at entry level market. It features magnetic resistance, pulse sensors and an LCD console. Other ProForm models targeting the low end and middle markets are the SR80, GL 35 and GL 105.

The DP brand might not be at the top of the market, but its machines still serve the basic operating functions of exercise bikes. They offer users the ability to tone and strengthen leg and thigh muscles and provide an effective cardiovascular exercise routine. Limited availability aside, DP exercise machines, including the secondhand models being sold in online auction sites, might still be worth consumers’ time and investment.

The DP exercise bike is not exactly hogging the physical fitness equipment limelight, but there are still those who like the brand. For these loyal customers, auction sites and online stores are their best options of finding one these products.

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