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Major and Minor Muscle Groups

   If you are into fitness as I am you have undoubtedly come across some discussion pertaining to major and minor muscle groups and how many of each to exercise each day and how to effectively exercise these muscles. It can get fairly confusing because there are major muscles and major muscle groups. The two are not the same. And yes it is important to exercise each accordingly but it should not be an obsession. So I want to focus today's blog on clarifying the topic.
   The body has five (5) major muscle groups. Chest, Back, (Arms & Shoulders), Abs, (Legs & Buttocks). Some people have a different classification system including more or less but this is a fairly standard list of the major muscle groups of the body. That said, the minor muscle groups are fairly easy to classify. For example legs and buttocks are major muscle groups but you have the underused section of your legs- inner thighs and hips that are underused. These are called abductors.
 Your arms are a major muscle group but you have your forearms, biceps, and triceps can and should be isolated. The goal therefore is to work your major muscles without neglecting your minor muscles and vice- versa, work your minor muscle groups while not neglecting your major muscle groups. Keep in mind they are your minor muscle groups that usually cause injury because of their underuse.
   The best way to exercise your major muscles is through compound movements, basically, these are movements that exercise more than one muscle or muscle group at a time. Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans are examples. And of course minor muscle groups are best exercised using muscle isolation techniques. I hope this helps. Next I will put together a training schedule to assist you in exercising both major and minor groups. As always, if you have questions, inbox me or leave your questions and or comments on my blog. Thanks you for your participation. We now have over 500 viewers of by blog and I am excited as new viewership continues. Talk to you soon!

Circuit Exercises

Squats x25 (Legs)
Good Mornings x20 (Hamstrings)
Side Bends/ Kettle bell windmills x25 each side (Core)
Pull ups or Incline pull ups if standard pull ups are too difficult x15 (Back/ Biceps)
Push ups or decline Push ups if standard push ups are too difficult x25 Chest/Triceps)
Reverse dips x25 (Triceps/Shoulders)
Jump rope/ run in place for 1 min.
Rest for 1min. Repeat circuit 3-5x. As always, contact me and visit my blog for more fitness advice and tips!

Circuit Exercises

Kettle bell swing (2 arms) x20
Kettle bell windmill x20 each arm
Sqaut thrusts x20
Pullups x15

FYI: You can add additional stregnth training exercises to this routine. Run this as a circuit 5 times with a rest period of up to one minute after the final exercise is completed. Do this routine 2x/ wk. Cardio and strength training the other days in between.

Water

   Our  bodies are about 75% water. Not only does that mean that we need to stay hydrated but it also means that exercising in the water is beneficial as well. It is therapeutic and a great way to build core strength because of the resistance that water or a pool provides. Water buoyancy helps protect the joints and therefore allows you to strengthen them from that perspective. It reduces pain and increases flexibility, and it is also age defying.
   Think about it. The concept of time only exists because of the force of gravity. In the water gravity is as equally strong as gravitational force on land but in the water buoyancy is its own force and helps to offset the gravitational pull. This does not mean that you can be ageless by spending time in the water. :) But it is an age defying way to exercise!

Fat Burning techniques

For maximum results strength train and do cardio simultaneously. For example, work one major muscle group and one minor, between sets, do cardio. Use the following as a guide:

Leg extensions 15reps/ Jump rope 5min repeat 4x
Hamstring curls 15reps/ Jump rope 5min repeat 4x
Tricep extensions 15reps/ jump rope 5min repeat 4x.

You can expand this routine as you'd like, adding squats, curls, dips, etc., even making a circuit out of it. perhaps jump roping isn't your thing, that is fine but do 5minutes of cardio after each set as shown. As always, leave comments or questions at your leisure!

Nutrition

An effective workout program is incomplete without an effective nutrition plan to compliment the effort. Therefore I want to suggest to you a disciplined diet that will allow you to trim down your body fat if used along with the workouts that I have listed in my previous blogs. This is a low carb diet so you will need to curb your appetite to eat for hunger not cravings.

Meal1: 1 protein 1 carb 1 fiber. Protein shake Green Tea
Meal2: 2 proteins 2 carbs 2 fibers
Meal3: 1 protein 0 carbs 2 fibers
Meal4: 1 protein shake 1 fiber

Understand that there is no room for leniency. A low carb diet must be just that. No more than 50g of carbs a day. No bread, no grain, no sugar, no sweets, no canned foods, no processed foods. No juice, no alcohol, no pasta, no starches. Whole foods only. That means foods that you label as healthy- Fiber 1 bars, nutrigrain bars, yogurt, etc. is all no good. if it is not a whole food don't eat it.

Calories:
Week1: 1500
Weeek2: 1400
Week3: 1300
Weeek4: 1500

This calorie cycle should be used along with your low carb diet. Apply is comprehensive information to your structured workout program with discipline and your goal of losing weight is sure to become reality! Leave comments or ask questions as needed!

Fitness Advice

If your goal is weight loss it is important that we are honest with ourselves as to where we are in the process. If we are significantly overweight then it is likely that we are significantly out of shape. But we can also be significantly out of shape with out being significantly overweight. I say this because intense cardio and intense circuit training works but you should graduallly build up until you are able to perform in such a fashion. This being said I would suggest the following workout twice a week to get started.

Warmup: 12 min cardio, i.e. : walk 1min/jog 30 sec for 12 min.
Lunges: 30reps (15 each  leg)
Squat thrusts 20 reps
Pushups (knees or regular) 25
Situps 30 reps
Seated dumbell shoulder press 20 reps.

Run this circuit 4x. Rest a minute after each circuit. appreciate the increase in your heart rate and focus each movement especially your muscle contraction. Allow your muscles to expand and contract all the way for each repetitioin. Then write me and let me know how you did. Also write me regarding any questions you may have. Have a blessed day!

Workout! (pt.1)

   Generally most individuals are not going to be in the gym seven days a week. Most individuals I consult may want to exercise seven days a week but are only able to actually commit to 3 or 4. Awesome! What I want to do is outline some workouts that you can do for each of those days. If you are just beginning you may be wondering where to start? Let me help you. No matter what your goals are you are going to need some level of endurance. Your body has to be able to be physically able to meet the demands you desire. So start with cardio. Nothing too crazy but a job walk routine, (1 minute intervals) will pay dividends sooner than later. Use that to warmup before you begin your strength training and also use it initially for your cardio workouts.
   Next I always place a huge emphasis on a strong core. A lot of people- trainers included- place so much emphasis on weight loss that they neglect what is most important and that is the foundation. No building is erected without a solid foundation. Weight loss is important and so is muscle definition but if you neglect your core from the onset you will reach a point- sooner than you'd like I might add- that progress stops and nagging injuries set in. Avoid this by establishing a strong core first. Today I will outline some great exercises for you to begin with.
   Burpees:  Burpees are an exercise that really gets your heart rate going and provides you with muscle resistance as well. I prefer that beginners start with a Bosu ball but if you do not have one, you can do it on your hands. Begin by standing up right. Next, bend down at the knees and waist and place your palms on the ground then thrust your legs back. You should now be in a pushup position for more athletic individuals it is a good idea to follow through with an actual pushup but if you are not there quite yet pull your feet back in and thrust your hands high about your head. If you want, go ahead and jump as you perform this motion. Repeat this exercise 15-20x. Follow this exercise with planks, (25 sec) and then immediately turn over and perform 20 leg raises. Congratulations! You just completed a circuit. Repeat these three exercises  three times.

Let's Make a Change! (Weight Loss Pt.3)

    So, we are heading into the New Year! Congratulations! However, much like Christmas, I can talk until I'm blue in the face about making sure you stay consistent with your dieting. Yet I know the odds of that happening are slim! Therefore I want to follow up where we left off. Interval training is the BEST way to yield results when it comes to fitness and burning fat. Your heart rate is key, alongside an intense level of cardio.  The correct amount of interval training forces the body to yield results long after the workout is over and you are at home sleeping it off. Let me explain.
   When you do interval training you are decreasing your body's oxygen supply. That is why it is not possible to sustain true anaerobic activity for lengthy periods of time and thus we break up these periods of exertion into intervals. Hence the name: Interval Training. Even when you are done with your workout, because your body has to replenish its cells with oxygen, it has to work to do so which means that it is burning calories in the process! The higher the intensity level of your workouts, the more oxygen and energy are needed to replace your body's depleted supply; up to 48 hours after your workout is complete!
     Understand this key concept: Exercising for fitness is not about the duration of TIME, rather, the level of INTENSITY. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing individuals repeat the same routines over and over again. And then when they come to me for advice, they go back to what they were doing before, looking for a different outcome. Not only does longer, lower intensity cardio not yield maximum results but it also makes you prone to injury because you are doing the same movements over and over again, therefore running the risk of overworking your precious body. Remember; your body is and instrument. Let's treat it as such! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And let's not shred our diet. Let's come back ready to exercise smarter and more effectively!
     Visit me again next week for more fitness information.
-Jay

Let's Make a Change! (Weight Loss pt. 2)

     You've purchased your gym membership, or maybe you've simply made the firm decision to improve your health. You have your weight loss goal locked in your mind, and now you are ready to do whatever it takes to drop those pounds! Let's start to outline the plan. First understand that the body is an instrument. It is a science. No matter how bad we want something, we still must put together a formula that our body understands and will respond to. I want you to lock two themes firmly into your head. The first is (Heart Rate), the second is (calories). You have two different heart rate levels. The first level is your resting heart rate. next you've got your heart rate reserve, then your target heart rate, and ultimately your maximum heart rate.

     My exercise methods for weight loss are simple. Find your maximum heart rate, and stay within 70%- 90% of your max heart rate for as long as possible; 30-40 minutes. Sounds simple enough right? Well. . . let's slow down. Generally speaking, your body is not conditioned to operate at this intensity level consistently for 40 or even 30 minutes. That is REALLY INTENSE TRAINING! Therefore we must develop a compromise. What is the trade off? It's a technique called interval training. Essentially you push your heart rate up to 70%-90% of your max, and then you bring it back down with the purpose of increasing your oxygen supply. You repeat this process for 30- 40 min and before you know it, you've burned a large percentage of the calories you need for the week. Understand that it takes a while to lose fat both through exercise and diet. 3500 calories equals one pound of fat. It sounds like a lot only if you try to do it all at once. But the goal is to work toward that number through correct dieting and exercise.
    
     To recap, 30-40 minutes between your target and max heart rate; we call this the fat burning zone. Interval training will allow you to reach this goal without completely depleting your oxygen supply. How you work your interval is up to you. If you are a runner, sprint for 20 sec, jog for 20. If you are a walker, jog for 20 sec, walk for 20. If you are a biker, gear down and speed up for 20 sec, then gear up and slow down for 20. Repeat this process until you've reached your 30 or 40 minute mark. I encourage you to exercise this way no more than twice a week. The other portion of your cardio workout should come from more moderate  exercise as opposed to the effects reaped from operating in between your target heart rate and your maximum heart rate.  Instead, operate in between your heart rate reserve and your target heart rate the rest of the days that you choose to do cardio.
  
     Our next topic will be toning your body at the same time you are losing weight. This is very important and a subject of debate within fitness circles.  I greatly look forward to discussing it with you!

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