Archive for June, 2011

Fitness Ball Reality

You might be inclined to think that the participants in this video have done something devious to magnify their claims- like deflating the ball to make it flatten more than normal- but this is the reality of the fitness ball.  What the fitness ball has become is largely the result of marketing genius.  The claims and accepted uses of today go so far beyond the original intent and purpose for the ball.  Is it okay for core training?  It’s better than the floor, and it could be the difference between someone doing core training and not, so it’s okay, but it is not the best product for core muscle activation.  Beyond the reasons stated in the video, fitness ball core training does not lend itself well to increased weight resistance, and the instability compromises workout intensity.  The AbMat is the more effective core trainer.

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Friday, June 24th, 2011 Fitness & Wellness, Video No Comments

Have a Heart… Rate

If you spend any time at all doing cardio, you will eventually- if not immediately- hear the words “heart rate” as a point of interest or focus.  Anyone would figure that it’s important.  Afterall, if your heart rate is zero, that means you are personally extinct.  It stands to reason then that it should factor heavily in the pursuit of personal health and fitness.  Beyond the reality that zero is very very bad, you might be foggy on how the heart rate figures into the fitness equation.  For instance, your heart monitor might tell you that you achieved an average heart rate of 145 during a 30-minute workout.  Is that good?  The answer is: for some, yes, and others, no. › Continue reading


Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 Fitness & Wellness No Comments

Abdominals 101


Should You Embrace Failure?

This may come as a shock to you, but you need to know that some trainers and fellow workout enthusiasts want you to experience failure.  There’s no denying it; it’s true.  They want you to know what it is to be unable to complete that last repetition.  The rest of the story is that this failure principle is part of a workout philosophy intended to maximize muscle growth stimulation.  In this approach, with the help of a spotter (or two or three), you complete repetitions of whatever exercise until you literally cannot do one more repetition.  The argument hinges on the premise that the last rep, whichever number that may be, is always the hardest and most productive.  The question is: is training to failure legit? › Continue reading


Thursday, June 16th, 2011 Fitness & Wellness No Comments

Getting Fit When Sick

There I was- my body worn out and sweaty, my throat raw, my stomach queasy.  There was not much more I could give.  I felt spent.  The problem was that I hadn’t touched a weight or made the faintest attempt at upping my heart rate.  No, it was just a summer bug come early.  I had a healthy dose of nasal/sinus congestion, sore throat, fatigue, and a heavy chest.  The onset was gradual over a day or two.  I don’t know about you, but that’s usually when my struggle kicks in.  “Should I work out feeling this way?” › Continue reading


Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 Fitness & Wellness No Comments

Ab Stimulation Belts

If you’ve even semi-regularly watched television over the last few years, you’ve most likely seen the infomercials for the various electric abdominal stimulator belts promising six-pack abs with almost no effort.  You can work out your abs while sitting at your desk, washing the dishes, lying on the couch while watching infomercials about abdominal stimulator belts, etc.  The next thing you know, you’re a camera-ready model.  There have been more than a few different belts offered in a relatively short amount of time.  If they didn’t sell (and well), you would not be seeing the infomercials.  The question is: for all of the units sold, do they actually work?? › Continue reading


Friday, June 3rd, 2011 Fitness & Wellness No Comments

Be Goal Oriented

The health and fitness industry is absolutely huge.  The differences of opinion and approach are sometimes varied so much that you might be tempted to wonder, “Are we even talking about the same thing…??”  (Maybe not.)  While there certainly are experts and professionals who are very balanced in their approach to physical fitness, there are others who are extremely specialized.  Yoga and Pilates lovers may avoid the weight room like the plague.  Bodybuilders frequently avoid the cardio elements.  Cardio lovers, including endurance athletes, may avoid strength training.  Some dieticians and nutritionists embrace exercise only to the extent of brisk walking.  For some lifelong gym rats, “health” doesn’t even register in their goals- but they’re in the industry. › Continue reading


Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 Fitness & Wellness No Comments