The Biggest Loser is a reality TV show/contest that awards obese contestants for losing crazy amounts of weight. I used to think the show was a great motivator until I watched the season premier last week. As I watched the show, I found myself feeling frustrated by what I saw. First, the show is far from reality. If you take anyone out of their normal environment, have them work out with personal trainers for hours a day, cook them healthy food, and provide support from medical staff, trainers, and fellow contestants, you have a winning combination that is sure to promote huge weight loss. Losing over 10 pounds a week is NOT the norm. Second, I question the ethics of these training practices. Pushing clients to the point of injury or exhaustion is not appropriate in any way. The approach seems to be break them down before you build them back up. I cannot imagine what would happen if this type of training took place at a local gym. I would hope it would be shut down. I don't want this type of training to set the standard for what personal training is about. I see changes in exercise and training taking place in a negative way. CrossFit and bootcamp-style training may be appropriate for some, but I am seeing over and over again, clients that are getting injured in the process of trying to be healthier. Health does not have to be so difficult. Progressive training and diet changes are the most successful and allows the body to adapt both physically and mentally to new challenges. No, you won't lose 20 pounds in one week, but 1-2 is not too shabby. And your body will be sure to thank you 20 years down the road for not over-training to reach an unattainable goal.
Stretching helps improve flexibility. Did you know that the type of stretching you perform can make a big difference in how much and how long you will maintain flexibility? Static stretching is no longer the gold standard. Here are the reasons why:
1. Time consuming- the stretch reflex will cause the stretched muscle to contract therefore requiring a prolonged hold time to allow for the muscle to habituate and relax before the lengthening can occur. This typically takes 20-30 seconds for 1 repetition.
2. Reduced blood flow- therefore decreased oxygen and nutrients to the stretched muscle during a prolonged hold. This can lead to muscle soreness.
3. No education- the muscle may lengthen, but will progressively lose the length over time. With dynamic stretching, the agonist (contracting) muscle is learning to move through new ROM and the antagonist (stretching) is learning to allow the new ROM. The active component provides the needed education for lasting results. A recent study comparing active stretching and static stretching on hamstring flexibility yielded interesting results. The study used active knee extension ROM to determine hamstring flexibility. After 3 weeks of stretching, the active stretching participants showed improvements that almost doubled the passive participants. By the end of 6 weeks, the passive participants caught up slightly, but were still significantly less. This shows active stretching gains occur more quickly. The most interesting finding was in the maintenance of the ROM. The stretching was stopped and the participants were retested at 4 weeks. The passive group lost almost all the gained ROM while the active group only lost about 25%.
Active Isolated Stretching is one very effective type of active stretching that uses a 2-second hold time allowing for more repetitions, maintenance of blood flow and neuro re-education.
I challenge you to sit down and write down 10 Reasons to Get Healthy. Here are my 10 to help you get started:
1. I want to look good
2. I want to live to be 100
3. I have to walk the walk
4. I don't want to have regrets
5. I want to be a role model for my daughter
6. I don't want to be in pain when I am older
7. I want to have energy and feel great
8. I want to enjoy all life has to offer
9. I refuse to let the companies feeding us all the crap and making toxic meds control me
10. I AM WORTH IT!