Thursday, August 23, 2007


During the years I have been a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I've noticed the tendency in many exercisers to skip two very important parts of a workout. Some students race into a fitness class 5 to 10 minutes late and begin with the "serious exercise," and/or they grab their gear right after the aerobic section and race out, their hearts still pounding. The solitary exerciser often minimizes the time spent on the warm-up and cool-down when not under the watchful eye of his or her personal trainer.

"Serious exercise" starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down. The first step in helping students and clients to include warm-ups and cool-downs in their workouts is educating them about the benefits:

  1. Warming up raises the temperature of the body. For each degree of temperature elevation, the metabolic rate of the cells increases by about 13 percent.
  2. The blood supply to the muscles increases, permitting a greater release of oxygen to feed them.
  3. The speed and force of muscle contractions improve, along with a faster nerve impulse transmission.
  4. Warming up helps prevent injuries. Muscle elasticity and the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments are increased. Synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, is released during easy activity.
  5. Heart function is improved and ready for the increased demand of intense exercise.

Warm-up activities are movement activities. Stretching is not a warm-up exercise because it does not raise the body temperature. In fact, an exerciser can tear cold muscles by stretching them.

To warm-up, use large movements at an easy pace to heat the entire body. Gradually increase the intensity. Some examples of warm-up are slow jogging or walking, easy biking, slow jump roping, and slow aerobic dance patterns. If you are warming up for a sport, do the movements for the sport but at a slow pace. This will produce a rehearsal effect and your muscles will remember the movement and respond faster during the sports play.

The warm-up should produce light perspiration. When this occurs, you can do some light pre-exercise stretching. However, deep stretching should be performed after the workout is over.

After heavy exercise it is time to taper off with a good cool-down, which is just as important as the warm-up.

  1. Respiration, body temperature, and heart rate are gradually returned to normal, preventing an irregular heart beat that may be life threatening.
  2. The cool-down assists the return of blood to your heart. Suddenly stopping aerobic activity causes blood to pool in the legs instead of circulating to the brain. This can cause dizziness or light-headedness.
  3. Skeletal muscles are shielded from injured by gentle stretching.
  4. Cool-downs relax you emotionally and physically.
  5. Your flexibility is increased.

There are two parts to a complete cool-down. The first follows the cardiovascular exercise and allows the heart to return to 120 beats per minute or less. Activities for this resemble warm-up activities - large movements at a slow pace.

The second part of cooling down is the stretching. This increases flexibility and range of motion, and allows you to relax. Static stretching is recommended. Stretch the muscle until it feels tight, not painful, and hold it for about 30 seconds. Never bounce the stretch.

After stretching, many exercisers use progressive relaxation and deep breathing to enhance the feeling of well-being. This activity helps return the body to normal function.

Besides education, how can fitness instructors increase the number of students who include the warm-up and cool-down in their fitness routines?

  1. Use a heart rate monitor or monitor the pulse manually every 60 seconds to demonstrate to the student how the heart rate gradually increases during the warm-up.
  2. Make the warm-up fun and interesting.
  3. Regularly assess your students' and clients' flexibility to demonstrate the improvements in stretching ability.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Eat Cookies Lose Weight

I want to say that coming from a Fitness arena the word "DIET" is being trashed and getting people scared about what is the mostessential way for the body to exist and that's EATING! And the way wego about it is going on a diet ONLY when we're out of handle with ourweight, doctors orders, the way we look and lastly the way we feel.

I found out that many people don't want to talk about it but, yetthey want to do a quick fix not realizing that if we have a good timemaking small changes and become more proactive introducing greatalternatives to nurturing our body and start feeling great that's itFEELING GREAT!So what I did was to introduce to my family, clients and closefriends "The World's GREATEST Diet cookie"!

And what happened is theyloved it! some said no good but, for the most part they realized thatall the BAD rap about getting in to a regimen of healthy eatinghabits no need to be rabbit food but great choices of healthy foodand have "The World's GREATEST Diet Cookie" on a daily bases makes abigdifference in they're diet so FEELING GREAT will come out from theinside out.Let's keep up the goo dwork and spread the NEWS and share yourvictories and tips with "The World's GREATEST Diet Cookie"

Alfredo Zapata

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Strength Training Minimizes Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition of several risk factors that place individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research to date suggests that higher levels of activity and fitness protect against developing metabolic syndrome, but what has not yet been established is whether resistance exercise provides a benefit similar to that of cardiovascular exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of muscular strength on the incidence of metabolic syndrome in men.

Participants were 3,233 men ranging in age from 20 to 80 who were initially free of metabolic disease. Two clinical examinations were performed between 1980 and 2003; these exams which included baseline muscular strength assessments.

A total of 480 men developed metabolic syndrome during the study period. Compared to the lowest strength category, the men in the highest strength category had a 39% lower risk of metabolic syndrome than overweight and obese men. This inverse relationship was independent of age and other risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, family history, alcohol intake, and premature coronary disease.

The results of this study indicate an inverse and independent relationship between muscular strength and the incidence of metabolic syndrome in healthy men. Fitness Professionals should consider resistance exercise as a primary means of prevention of metabolic syndrome.

Jurca, Radim, et al. Association of muscular strength with incidence of metabolic syndrome in men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2005: 37(11), 1849-1855.

Walking shown to be most
Effective for Maintaining Weight Loss

Research continues to point to exercise as the key to maintaining weight loss. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of exercise on weight maintenance.

Subjects were 191 adult women, most of whom where obese, averaging 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Participants were advised to follow a low-fat eating program ranging from 1,200-1,500 calories a day. Different exercise intensities were assigned to the participants during the two-year period. Eighty percent of the subjects chose to walk briskly, but the amount of time subjects actually exercised varied from 150 minutes per week to more than 200 minutes per week.

All subjects lost weight, but the women who exercised the most, more than 309 minutes per week the first year and more than 270 minutes per week the second year, lost and kept off the most weight. They lost an average of 13% of their starting weight, which amounted to 25 to 30 pounds.

The results of this study indicate that approximately 50 minutes of brisk walking five days per week can initiate and maintain a 25 to 30 pound weight loss in overweight and obese populations. It is important to note that the walk needs to be done briskly, at a speed equal to or greater than 3 miles per hour. This amount of exercise can also be accumulated throughout the day rather than done in one continuous session.

Jakicic, John et al. University of Pittsburgh. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Obesity Society in Vancouver, B.C. Reported in USA Today, October 24, 2005 page 7D.

Obese Patients May Require
Plus-sized Hypodermic Needles

The obesity epidemic has another unexpected side effect: Heavier patients now require plus sized needles for injections.

Researchers in Ireland have discovered that fatter rear ends are causing drug injections to lose their efficacy. The issue is that standard sized needles discharge the drugs into the fatty tissue of the butt as opposed to into the muscle tissue, where, thanks to increased blood flow, the medicine is carried through the body more efficiently. The researchers found that 2/3 of the heavier patients did not receive the full dosage of the medicine since the depth of their fat exceeded the lengthy of the hypodermic needle.

As reported by Reuters, 11-28-05.

Fitness for Dancing

Engage your brain switch it up! Take a cue from square dancing caller and do-si-do and switch partners when it comes to your body fitness workout routines and improve your balance and coordination on the dance floor.

Varying your dance routines and introducing workout routines will make your dance performance more exciting and will keep you from reaching a plateau. Try these tips on how to spice up your dance:

• Vary your routine by pumping iron-workout plan and target different areas of your body on different days take a day off and get back to the dance floor.

• Sign up for something different like swing or salsa dancing lessons.

• Try alternating your dance and dumbbell workout with stretching. (such as yoga, core or Pilates)

• Mix in a little tai chi for grace and swimming for cardio and fat burning.

•And last, keep a sensitive diet, eating light will keep you healthy and ready to move…Who says dancing & workout routines have to be boring?

It is important to challenge your brain to learn new and novel tasks, especially processes that you've never done before. Examples include different dance style, tai chi, yoga or Inside out fitness programs.

Have questions?? Call:

Alfredo Zapata
Fitness Expert