Blog: Fitperf Fit Tips

The Sixth variable in weight training

It has always been propounded that there are five variables that can be manipulated in weight training. The five variables of weight training has traditionally been, exercise chosen, order of exercises, weight loading, number of repetitions and sets of a given exercise and rest period between sets.

I propose a sixth extremely important but neglected variable- muscle contractile speed. There has always been the consideration of contractile speed in relationship to maximum weight lifted. This is not the topic here. I am talking about a conscious slowing of the contraction to maximize effort and to minimize inertia.

This type of “squeezing” has been used in bodybuilding to create “pump’ or to maximize vascularity and promote the stretching of the muscle facia. This type of contraction will result in transient hypertrophy and not true myofibral hypertrophy. In essence a temporary increase in size but not an increase in strength.

This type of training can reduce injuries from constant muscle overloading and find it’s place into a good periodization program.

Woman Weight Training

Cardio before weight training or after?

Whether or not we should be do cardio before or after weight training is a question of priorities. If one is wishing to increase their cardio because their sport dictates the need for high cardiac output, then one wants to do cardio first. If one is doing training to lose weight and be fit then most likely cardio should be done after weight training. Engaging in cardio on a secondary basis insures adequate glycogen stores will be available to fuel intense weight training. Having burned available glycogen stores metabolic pathways will be more readily available for fatty acid oxidation, and losing body fat.

One always us to keep in mind what is the goal of one training. If you were training for sport you’re not trying to become a weightlifter or a bodybuilder if you are a bodybuilder you’re not training for sports performance. The glycogen that is needed to fuel intense training for sports is not the depleted glycogen levels one needs to prompt weight loss.

Training cam be general in it’s approach, or very specific depending on an individuals wants and needs.

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Supplements- Don’t trust the snake oil salesman

In the pursuit of physical perfection, and the improvement of physical performance the use of supplements to amplify and cause changes is not a new concept.  The search for ergogenic aids, or supplements to improve the boy’s functioning or performance is as old as: the ancient Greeks consuming ground lions teeth or the native Americans consuming ground buffalo testicles.          T The public’s conception of the means to change the body is not much better hundreds or thousand of years later.  The claims and marketing of today’s supplements make the concept of eating buffalo testicles seem logical.  Supplement companies are interested in making money not necessarily in helping, or furthering the health of their consumers.  Protein powder mixed with proprietary additives makes the claim that Mr Universe uses this formula to help achieve his massive chiseled body.  Mr Universe is obviously on a heaping helping of;  Steroids, HGH, Insulin and Sarms but they fail to mention that.  Proprietary additives are their special blend of not listed, and God knows what, ingredients.  Athletes of all types can generally benefit from a good multivitamin, possibly Creatine along with as needed protein and carbohydrate augmentation as dictated by their diet.  Everybody does not need everything.  Diet, sports specific nutrient timing and proper hydration are a matrix that is sometimes difficult to maneuver let alone understand by the layperson.

When in doubt about what to ingest for size-strength-performance or body composition do research seek out knowledge don’t run to GNC or the Vitamin shoppe and have someone who has only knowledge of what they sell and not nutrition or sports performance science.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Planet Fitness is Poisoning the Media

How I went from a pencil neck to a Lunk1425427718new1

We are bombarded with commercials talking about a no Lunk Zone.  Lunks are what Planet Fitness has characterized as what body builders are.  They are trying to reinforce the image that muscles equate to mindless idiots.  They wish to create a gym where no one is really in shape but rather are happy with their level of don’t try hard complacency.  This is a place where people can eat their pizza, and sip their sodas while they work out.  This is a so called fitness company where people aren’t fit.  This is what Planet Fitness imagines as a good thing, creating an atmosphere where people don’t push themselves to the next level.  People need to raise the bar as far as their fitness levels, not put the bar on the floor, and aspire towards nothing.

Years ago when I first started going to the gym yes I was intimidated by the big guys lifting the big weights.  Though I was intimidated I knew that if I worked HARD that one day I too would be a big guy lifting big weights.  Back then I was 27 years old, Six foot one inch, 170 pounds and flabby- skinny probably 20 per cent body fat.  I am still 6ft. 1 in. but I weigh 205 pounds with an eight per cent body fat and I look muscular and ripped.  I am sixty years old and I can; bench press the 95 Lb. dumbbells for 8 reps, Deadlift 315Lbs for 10 reps or 405 lbs. for a single, I power squat over 800 Lbs. on a machine and do dumbbell Kroc rows with a 135 lb. dumbbell, I also do Lat pulls for reps with the full rack.  This all would not have happened or had been possible if I didn’t try and push myself day after day. That is the body building credo push-push-push, don’t give up, make yourself bigger stronger and better.

Our society is inundated with health issues caused by our lack of strenuous activity and bad dietary practices.  Taking some tips from the bodybuilding life style surely could do a lot of us some good. Proper sleep, good nutrition and hard work in the gym never hurt anybody.  Don’t let media hype put you into the no judgment zone. The only one that truly can judge us, is ourselves.  Don’t let yourself down, aspire to be better and work towards that goal.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Psychological and Sociological barriers to proper eating

It is not mine, it is my mother’s fault I’m fat1409851302d_cookie

Over eating goes back to primitive times.  Primeval man had no way to maintain or store fresh meat.  The storage of meat through the use of salting goes back centuries.  Salting removes the water content and turns meat into a storable form of, tasteless shoe leather.  The killing of livestock was timed around the eating and use of the animal.  Societies had feasting ceremonies where copious amounts of animal flesh were consumed over a period of days.  These aforementioned feasting ceremonies are what we call holidays.  Along with the gluttonous consumption of food came the overzealous drinking of alcoholic beverages.  How could one celebrate without a good “buzz” on?

Starting to see how overindulgence might be programmed into our DNA, as socially expected behavior.  When we were children and we were “good” what did our parents, or grandparents give us in reward?  Cookies or candies were given to us reinforcing our socially accepted “good” behavior.  When we were children if we were “bad” we wouldn’t get any desserts, for sweets only were for “good” children.  The reward system for impressionable young minds is intrinsically meshed into eating high sugar and high calorie treats.  Santa only brings good children stockings full of candy canes and ginger bread men.

Now that we know why we are so psychologically and possibly genetically scarred what do we do?  When someone has a substance abuse problem such as drugs or alcohol they are told to stay away from their object of addiction.  When someone has a problem with their relationship with food they are advised to indulge in their addictive behavior anywhere from three to five times a day.  The individuals with food addiction have to limit their amounts of intake to that which is considered reasonable.  This type of protocol would be wrought in failure in the dealings of other addictive substance behavior modificationFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Maximum weight or Maximum contraction?

Personal Training for Weight liftingbill lutz

Weight lifters and bodybuilders have long debated whether muscle growth is initiated and maintained through maximum lifts, or maximum muscle contractions.  There seems to be merit in both theories.

Heavy lifts are necessary to tear muscle fibers and initiate the process of hypertrophy, which is the enlargement of muscle fibers.  This growth of type two fast twitch fibers needs adequate force to tear the cross bridging attachment between contracting muscle fibers.  The constant reoccurring process of lifting and tearing results in larger muscles, through the growth of muscle cells.

The bodybuilding concept of maximum contraction results in transient hypertrophy, or the increase in blood fluids and a corresponding rise in blood pressure.  The contractions also stretch the muscle fascia which is the membranous tissue surrounding muscle bundles.  This repeated stretching of the fascia can result in the ability to have a greater “pump “because of the aforementioned stretching of the surrounding tissue around the muscle fibers themselves.

My advice as a personal trainer and a lifter is:  Work with heavy weight in a safe fashion to build larger muscles.  Work with lighter poundage’s with maximum contractions when the body needs rest to recover from heavy lifting.  Older lifters will find they need more “pump” sessions and less heavy lifting to allow the body to recover.

The theory of periodization covers much of these concepts.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Low Fat Myth

Eating Good Fats to be Healthy1390349456hy-fats

This country has been bombarded with inaccurate media hype on the evils of fat in our diet.  We have been repeatedly told of the guilt free supposedly healthy choices of; fat free cookies, baked potato chips, fat free ice cream and other low fat goodies that are actually loaded with sugar and calories. Food manufacturers commonly use sugar as a flavor enhancer instead of fat.  Many Americans consume up to 130 pounds of added dietary sugar a year. The trading of healthy fat for sugar only increases levels of blood triglycerides and increases the body’s secretion of insulin, risking the onset of diabetes. Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated fat should be avoided for they increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat that generally comes from animal sources tends to raise total and LDL cholesterol. Saturated fats raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fat is one of the three macronutrients along with protein and carbohydrates that provide our body with energy sources.  Fat is essential to your body for proper functioning.  Some vitamins, for instance, must have fat to dissolve in to nourish your body.  People need to make good choices in what types of fat to eat.  Fat is not always the enemy of your waistline, or your arteries.  Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats actually lower cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease. Omega 3s found in certain fatty fish lower blood pressure and help protect against irregular heartbeats. Eating fats in conjunction with carbohydrates change the glycemic index of the foods eaten.  High fibrous carbohydrates from vegetables are a good choice for they are assimilated slowly releasing little insulin.  Nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, flax seeds, avocados, salmon, tuna, peanut butter and sunflower oil are all great choices for dietary fat sources.  Remember even cholesterol is not always bad; your body makes sex hormones from cholesterol.

Eating dietary fat helps our body burn fats as a fuel.  Stored carbohydrates(glycogen)is always burned first before the body releases fat stores to be burned as fuel (fatty acid oxidation).  The key to loosing fat, is eating fat and cutting down on carbohydrates.

Analyze what truly is in what you eat before you eat it.  Think twice before you grab that bag of fat free cookies.  Grab a bag of almonds instead of fabricated garbage food, your body will thank you.



When too much exercise is more then enough.

Athletes of all kinds are constantly striving to better their body’s performance, or its appearance.  The never ending battle with our bodies in the quest for personal bests puts us at high risk of over-reaching too long and eventually overtraining.

Overtraining is a term you hear quite often nowadays. The concept that if working out a little is good, then working out a lot must be better is a gross misnomer. Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercising exceeds their recovery ability.  Excessive in this context means either there are too many stresses in term of; number, duration, and, or, intensity.  These stresses are too much for the individual’s body to adapt to in a given period of time.

The concept of adaptation is tricky; if one exercises at too low of a level adaptation does not occur, too much the body starts shutting down systems to conserve energy, in the effort to save its’ very self.  Reproductive hormones are prone to system shut down.  Species do not reproduce in a threatening environment.  Women when overtraining are prone to aberrations in their menstruation cycle.  These aberrations cause low levels circulating estrogens, mimicking menopause. The resulting lowered estrogen levels place these women in a higher risk category for clinical osteoporosis in later life.

Men have a male counterpart to female amenorrhea.  Males that over train, experience a lowering of testicular activity, from the blunting of pituitary function.  Suppression of the pituitary results in a lowered production of luteinizing hormone. The reduction of luteinizing hormone forces the lowering of serum testosterone.  There is a causal relationship between lowered testosterone and the decrease in libido, sperm count, and reproductive ability.

The effects of over training are not limited to sex hormone levels alone.  The following are symptoms of over training:

  1. General soreness increasing form training session to training session.
  2. Sudden or gradual increase in resting heart rate.
  3. Lowered general physical resistance, as evidenced by continuous colds or headaches.

When experiencing the symptoms of overtraining the course of action is rest and laying off strenuous physical activity for a few days to a week.

Train the body- Nudge the body- Don’t beat the body.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Where to start with Exercises

Reaching your Fitness GoalsWoman Lifting Weights

How to start an exercise program can be daunting task if one does not know where to start. To quote a line from the Wizard of Oz “it is best to start in the beginning”. To evaluate where one needs to go one must first honestly ascertain and evaluate that individual’s health and fitness level. This is definitely the time one may want to enlist the services of a competent personal trainer. A personal trainer will accurately gauge your fitness abilities through fitness testing or from observation of exercise performance. Using the fore mentioned methods of evaluation a fitness trainer can then select appropriate exercises, exercise order rest periods and other exercise prescription variables.

The Fitness Performance blog article from November 8, 2012 “What is Fitness?” enumerates on the various components of fitness, this article can be used as a template for the lay person to evaluate their health and fitness needs. When first embarking on a health and fitness regimen set reasonable goals and expectations that can be reached. It is imperative to be successful in one’s initial attempt at self-improvement for it reinforces their desire, and the will to continue.

Let us start with a simple beginning progressive resistance program.

  • Rest 45 seconds between sets.
  • Squats=3 sets, 15 reps
  • Lunges=3 sets 10 reps alternate legs
  • Push-ups=3 sets 20 reps or
  • Dumbbell Bench Press=3 sets 12 reps
  • Shoulder Push-ups=3 sets 10 reps or
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press=3 sets 10 reps
  • Pull-ups=3sets 8 reps or
  • Dumbell Pull-Over=3 sets 12 reps
  • Crunches=3 sets 20 reps
  • Reverse Crunches=3 sets 10 reps

This is a good beginning routine for a novice.  For more advanced programming please contact Bill Lutz of Fitness Performance, located in Bergen County N.J., for your personal training needs.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail