Category Archives: Fitness

Understanding the Definition of Health Related Fitness

Being a Health and Fitness Professional, it is my job to understand terms and definitions which are commonplace to this industry, as well to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have found that a number of terms deserve a little more clarification than that which they are granted.

Aside from clarifying the definition of Health Related Fitness, this article intends to shed some light on a few of the associated terms, and to show their respective distinctions.

Is it simply all in a name?

The fitness world seems to use the concept Health Related Fitness like a generic fitness principle – interchangeable with others like “Physical Fitness”, “Health and Fitness” or simply “Fitness.”

While all of these terms can be included under the broad term Health and Physical Fitness, they individually refer to different aspects – both generic and specific. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms are often vague, while consistency in their intended use is meager at best; there is a kind of “generally accepted” use for them, but individuals often rely on own interpretation, and this can lead to confusion.

With that said, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness by means of good health? Not quite. That is why we need to understand a little more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the term Health Related Physical Fitness come about?

That is a good question. One could probably ask what is this concept all about – can we not simply use the terms “Fitness” or “Physical Fitness” instead?” Why Health “Related”?

The main reason stems from the fact that most health and fitness terms are used inconsistently and often refer to different concepts or notions. Subsequent to the 1996 report from the US Surgeon General (Physical Activity and Health; a report of the Surgeon General), there was a move to try and address the alarming rise in obesity levels among the general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, health practitioners and fitness trainers to grapple with the task at hand. Enter “Health Related Physical Fitness”, a working term to address the general state of health among the public.

The definition of Health Related Fitness

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the main authority in this field, ineffective definitions with unclear and subjective wordings, as well as definitions containing terms which themselves require defining, have contributed to confusing the term “Physical Fitness.”

There exists no reliable guide for Health and Fitness Professionals to measure “Physical Fitness”, because the term has been so loosely and inconsistently defined. It is therefore that one should consider the concept of Health Related Fitness. The definition therefore centers on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness which relate to “good health.” These Components are:

  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness
  • Body Composition
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance

On the other hand, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

  • Balance
  • Reaction Time
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Power

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the definition of Physical Fitness emphasizes the difference between Health Related Physical Fitness and Athletic Ability Physical Fitness. Its point-of-departure is the “health” of the US nation, which is often referred to as the “public health perspective.” In that respect, the 5 Health Related Fitness Components are more important than those related to Athletic Ability (or Skill Related Components).

Although the concept of Health Related Fitness has an integral association with “good health”, the 5 Components are addressed individually by health professionals to allow for their measurement.

Now that we have a deeper understanding of the term, what purpose does it serve?

Continuing from where the definition left off, the objective of measuring the 5 Components is to advise clients about their own particular Health Related Fitness, and to use data obtained from the tests to design appropriate exercise programs which can then be evaluated.

The 5 Components contribute evenly to make up a holistic Health Related Fitness, which is of direct interest to the health of the ordinary citizen, in that the concept is normative. In other words, it is a standard which allows for consistent application.

It is therefore important for those working in the health and fitness industry not to mistake “overall physical fitness” with “Health Related Physical fitness.”

To conclude, let us consider this distinction between Physical Fitness and Health Related Fitness

One needs to bear in mind that regular physical exercise can improve overall Physical Fitness, as well as Health Related Fitness. However, overall fitness is a generic term and is up to subjective interpretation, while Health Related Fitness can be assessed.

The distinction therefore, between these two terms, exists in that Health Related Physical Fitness can be measured according to a set of established comparative norms.

This is where the “rubber hits the road.” The guidelines set out by the ACSM enable health professionals to work with clients to assess and measure their response to exercise and prescribe appropriate exercise programs. A client’s progress can then be monitored and adjusted where necessary in order to obtain the desired fitness goals.

Cleto Tirabassi is a certified Fitness Trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

His work centers on the “sensible approach” to Health Related Fitness, which entails the use of practical, flexible and sustainable methods to achieve optimal levels of health and physical fitness.

His clientele belongs mostly to the group he calls “average everyday people”, who in short want to be in excellent shape, yet still lead a conventional life.

Based in Rome, Italy – he is dedicated to guiding the individuals he works with to realize their health and fitness goals. He also understands that the health and fitness industry is constantly evolving and therefore maintains a close watch on trends in his field of expertise.

Final Word On Fitness For Women

When women are looking for a fitness program you know they’re not just looking to ‘get fit’. Anyone who understands women knows that they always have more than one reason for doing anything!

As women we want to get fit, but we also want to: lose weight, halt the effects of aging, improve our tone, improve our flexibility, look younger, be more attractive to the opposite sex and even more importantly help us look attractive enough to pass inspection by other women.

Know Why You Want to Be Fit and Make Goals

Before you start any fitness program you have to really decide that your goals are important enough to keep you motivated and overcome all the excuses you used in the past. Your fitness program must become one of those things that you do without question, like eating or brushing your teeth. Unless you are convinced of the benefits of your fitness program and that you want it enough to stay focused, and then want to avoid the risks you’ll face if you don’t use your fitness program properly, you won’t have any success.

Regardless if you feel that you are in good health or not, you should always see your physician before beginning any fitness program. A good fitness program will provide for vigorous exercise but involves minimal health risks for you if you are in good health or following a doctor’s advice.

A woman fitness program for your unique needs and wants will enable you to perform up to your true potential. A specific fitness program written for you will help you look, feel and do your best.
It will also give you the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with energy left over for enjoying leisure-time activities after you’ve finished with your daily fitness program.

As you start your exercise routine, it’s important to remember that fitness is an individual quality that varies from person to person. It is influenced by age, sex, heredity, personal habits, exercise and eating practices, so if you have someone you admire who is really fit and want to be like, make sure it is someone who is most like you, just like comparing apples with apples.

A good woman fitness program will help you to determine how often, how long and how hard you exercise and what kinds of exercises you do should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish. So decide beforehand what it is you most want out of your program, when your trainer is writing you program this is one of the first questions you will be asked.

What you do during your actual exercise sessions will also depend on your specific goals, your current fitness level, age, health, etc. However, don’t try to do too much too soon and don’t quit before you have a chance to experience the rewards. You can’t regain in a few days or weeks what you have lost in years of sedentary living, but you can get it back if you are consistent. Remember take baby steps and you will avoid ‘burning out’ before you really get going.

A Good Fitness Program Should Provide You With…

The following health benefits:

  • Increased efficiency of heart and lungs;
  • Reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
  • Increase and maintain bone density to prevent osteoporosis;
  • Reduced blood pressure;
  • A reduced risk of cancer, including colon cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart attack, heart disease, and many other diseases and ailments;
  • An improved sense of wellbeing;
  • More energy;
  • Less stress;
  • An improved quality of sleep;
  • Reduced stress levels;
  • Improve your sexual performance and restore libido.

Did you know that to lose ½ kilogram of body fat each week through exercise, we need to burn off approximately 2,500 kilojoules (600 calories) extra each day? Based on this figure, the answer to how much exercise is easy: that amount of exercise which burns an extra 2,500 kilojoules (kJ) per day, or 16,000kJ per week.

So this means that the amount of exercise needed for a 100kg person (the amount of energy burned during exercise varies depending upon the body weight of the exerciser) to burn the total 16,000kJ per week equate to:

  • Approximately 10 hours of walking at 5kph (3mph) per week – or 90 minutes per day.
  • Approximately 4 hours of jogging at 10kph (6mph) per week – or 35 minutes per day.
  • Approximately 4½ hours of cycling at around 20kph (12mph) per week – or 40 minutes per day.

So, if the same 100kg person walked only three times a week for twenty minutes each time, they would only burn 1,500 kilojoules. That’s more than just a few short of the 16,000 needed isn’t it!
If you’re overweight, eating your usual amount of calories while increasing activity will see some good results, but eating fewer calories combined with good fitness program is even better.

Scientists have proven that calorie restricted diets extend life!**

It seems that when a woman limits her intake to 1000 calories a day and 1500 for a man they could extend their lives past 150 years and live well. According to this research the biomarkers of aging: cholesterol, fasting glucose and blood pressure can almost be reversed using this method. More scientific research is needed to qualify exactly why this seems to work and people are advised to take a cautious approach to strict dieting (especially with children and those with health challenges) , but the research is conclusive. (check it out for yourself online: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20746251/; or
http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/37246/)

**Of course it goes without saying that we are not recommending you starve yourself, this is almost as bad as eating too much! And always consult your health professional first.

The only way you can increase your metabolism so your body burns more fat and have a nice firm, toned body is to use an good fitness program that includes variety and use that exercise routine consistently.
A lack of a consistent fitness program will cause your muscles to get soft, and if food intake is not decreased you will add body fat.

What Else Will A Good Fitness Program Do For Me?

  • Lose weight, easily & quickly – And Keep It Off!
  • Improve your appearance and self-esteem;
  • Tone & firm your muscles;
  • Improve your posture & relieve back, shoulder & neck pain;
  • Fit into the clothes you’ve always wanted to;
  • Enhance your social life;
  • Increased Stamina;
  • Be the envy of all your friends;
  • Have a lot more Free time to spend with family & friends;
  • Save a lot of money!

Thinking about starting a new diet and fitness program is much harder than actually doing it. But once you do get started with an effective fitness program you’ll love the changes you’ll make in your body and get addicted to feeling and looking good. The main thing is to think about it as a lifestyle change, more in keeping with the person you have always known you are, deep down inside.

Some Final Thoughts…

You need to understand that there are no magic tricks, no shortcuts and no other way to improve your health and the way you look but with dedication, consistency and an effective program. It is also important to remember that if you feel that it is all just a chore, you will more than likely give up. So make it fun, and change not just your fitness habits, but your life outlook to include health and vitality right at the top of your list of priorities.

Lifestyle Fitness

A number of you have written me about how to approach the days when you are not working out, when you are not following a meal plan and when you are not scheduled to participate in a physical fitness event of some kind. We tend to call these “off days” or “rest days,” some people even have an “off-season” and I tend to think these names are pretty appropriate. I think the major idea or concept we who engage in and live the fitness lifestyle must have is that there is never a time when our body is doing nothing. The only time your body will even come close to doing nothing is when you are dead and then it is still doing something; it’s called decaying. But on a serious note, we have to get it in our minds that living fit is more than a gym workout or a series of well planned meals, it truly is a lifestyle. Media and marketing do a great job of selling products but they have also given many people an unrealistic idea of what being fit is, what it looks like and how to live fit.

Popular mindsets to avoid

So often I talk to people who engage in body building and physique competitions. These are sports that I personally love and respect. These sports are characterized by a huge number of amazing athletes and they have always had a firm place in my heart as some of my favorite personalities and friends. However, most people (but rarely the athletes) tend to place the wrong label on these people and incorrectly think of these people as the ultimate symbol of the fitness lifestyle. In the majority of cases (there are exceptions) I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I lived that lifestyle for the majority of my life so I know what I’m talking about.

In my experience the majority of these people only engage in fitness lifestyle endeavors around the clock when it’s time to get ready for a competition. The rest of the year many of them won’t train for weeks at a time, they eat anything they please and engage in binging, literally gorging themselves with food then turn around and initiate extreme dieting practices in order to prepare for their show. In addition to this, most of the people I’ve known in these sports (including myself at one time) only exercise and eat “clean” at various times throughout the year during the years that they are competing.

Over time, the great fluctuations in body weight, the steroid abuse and constantly changing dietary practices take their toll. Once their lives have moved past the competition phase, most of them tend to become recreational exercisers and end up having the same physical fitness shortcomings that most other people face. While sport is a tremendous way to stay in shape and enjoy our lives we have to ensure that we create lifestyle characteristics that will remain once our days of competition have passed. I struggled with this for years and can tell you that this is a tremendous challenge for the former physique athlete.

Get To Know Yourself It’s Going to be a Long Ride

Living fit (for life) is about you becoming aware of your body’s fitness shortcomings and designing a lifestyle that will improve them and maintain them at a high level. It’s really that simple. It’s not a get ripped-up for summer then gain all the weight back in the fall type of lifestyle. Sure there are times when a fit person may decide to take some aspect of fitness and improve it considerably in order to enjoy the benefits of it, but the thing to remember is there is no stopping point.

This is a key concept that is so simple, but so absent from most people’s lives. The fitness lifestyle never stops. It doesn’t end when you quit playing a sport, it doesn’t end when you get married and it doesn’t end when you start your own business. There is no stopping point for those who live fit. Sure we all have setbacks, struggles and challenges to overcome; but we overcome them. We know that these setbacks, struggles and challenges will be overcome while living in the fitness lifestyle. In other words we do not modify our lifestyle in order to deal with issues, we deal with issues while maintaining our lifestyle. As simplistic as this sounds, I’ve found that this is perhaps the hardest aspect of living fit that most people deal with.

Of course there are meals, days and times when we do things that are contrary to our fitness beliefs and lives. But they are the exception, not the rule. These things are allowed into our lives as a break from the norm, as brief events that add to our lives in other ways and are worth the cost.

Some examples may be:

  1. Eating cake with your child on their birthday – there are so many positives that come from this
  2. Having some drinks with an old friend who needs to talk – friends are priceless, this won’t hurt you
  3. Enjoying cultural events by partaking in its food and drinks – many things in life can’t be replaced

So you get the picture. Living fit is not about sporting six-pack abs year-round (but can include this) until you get married then adopting the beer belly. Living fit is about a lifetime of choices and actions that lead to your physical betterment as your life goes on from phase-to-phase and relationship-to-relationship. The greatest thing I love about the fitness lifestyle is that it is never too late to begin. This is an amazing concept that has changed the lives of millions, myself included, and it can do the same for you if you so choose.

I challenge you to take a long look at many of the lifestyle choices you now make and consider ways to incorporate a healthier fitness mindset into those things in order to create and build a lifestyle that will provide you with a great level of fitness from this moment forward. You can do it! Living fit is a choice and that choice is yours.

Commitment To A Successful Fitness Training Program

The undertaking of any fitness training program requires that individuals not only have a realistic view of their own personal fitness goals, but that they also consider the variables they may be faced with in accomplishing their objective for better health and wellness.

Choosing the right fitness training program is not the only important step of getting in shape – you must also construct your plan realistically so that you can stay fully committed. Anyone can begin a fitness training program after getting clearance from his or her physician, and there are thousands of different programs on the market today; however, the real trick comes in knowing how to achieve the personal fitness goals you have set forth.

Determining Your Own Personal Fitness Goals

Most people have a skewed idea of what fitness is exactly. Ask anyone, and they’ll most likely envision a skinny model-like woman or a huge man that seems like he just stepped off the stage of a body-building competition. You, too, might think this, but personal physical fitness is something much more specialized and unique. This is where commitment comes into play. When most people think of the term “fitness,” it has a broad range of definitions that each of us can apply to our own abilities. Fitness generally has nothing to do with your general weight or body shape. If you eat right and work out regularly, sticking to your individual fitness training program, odds are that you’re on the right path.

The completion of personal fitness goals is controlled entirely by the mind. You have to want to get in shape. If your mind is not truly committed to the final outcome, your goals will never be met even under the best of circumstances or any obstacles that may impede the process. You, and only you, can control your commitment to fitness and ensure that you meet your personal fitness goals.

How to Stay Committed

The biggest challenge of a fitness training program or plan is teaching yourself to stay committed – the fact is that most plans fail because there is an overall lack of drive or inspiration to meet those individualized personal fitness goals. Luckily, you have a few options if you find it impossible to stick to your diet and workout plan. Most people talk about finding or using an exercise buddy, but never actually seek one out. Try finding someone at your gym or fitness center with a similar schedule or convince a friend or colleague to join you on your quest for fitness.

Another good way to keep focus is to promise yourself a reward if you meet your personal fitness goals. If you’ve always wanted a pretty piece of jewelry or a new television set, save up during your commitment challenge and splurge once you’ve met your planned goal. Promising yourself a reward will help you keep your eyes on something you want.

What If Your Fitness Goals Aren’t Met?

When personal fitness goals are not met, disillusion and despair begin to set in, and the whole venture seems worthless. You must ultimately revisit your commitment to the fitness training program and process and take a long, hard look at all of the factors that are hindering your program. You might find that your level of commitment was lacking; for instance, knowing when you should have rested more, eaten better and more frequently, or perhaps even turned down that additional serving of alcohol or dessert. Some people might dismiss willpower as just a personality trait, but everyone has the ability to resist.

Once you re-examine the flaws of your fitness training program, you’ll understand why you’re not achieving the personal fitness goals you created. However, you must remember to make goals that are attainable and realistic, and this is where many people slip up in planning an effective fitness training program. Research acceptable weight loss or gain, find cookbooks meant for your diet, and set your schedule for workout times that are manageable.

The Bottom Line

Making your fitness training program fully attainable is the biggest part of ensuring commitment. Without realistic personal fitness goals, it is highly doubtful that you will succeed. Examine your routine as it is now and slowly work the new regime into your lifestyle. Once you start your fitness plan and get used to the motions, it soon becomes second nature to live a healthy lifestyle.

The bottom line is determining if you are really committed to this fitness venture. If you see getting in shape as just another item in a long list that may or may not be completed, this is probably not the right time to start your fitness training program. Look inside yourself and see if you have what it takes to make this goal a reality.

Fitness First

Whatever your reasons you are to be commended, but how exactly does one go about getting into shape. Well here are a few suggestions to improve your fitness health and lifestyle. With each suggestion there are pros and cons, some will work for some people and some will not, try and decide what fits you and your circumstances best.

Join A Gym – This is a pretty obvious place to start. At a gym you have a variety of methods of getting fit, whether it’s aerobically or based on toning muscle you will find this a great place to start. At a gym you can get the help of a professional who will guide your fitness while keeping their well trained eyes on your progress. However, while a gym is a great way to get fit, it’s also very expensive and can be time consuming!

Running – A great way to get fit and virtually free! If you want to take up running a word of caution, running can cause injury. You must follow routines and have good quality foot wear. Running on tarmac is usually more convenient but it can damage your knees, so where possible try to run on grass or even better on a beach if this is an option. When you start off running, start slowly and build up the distances over the weeks. Start by slowly jogging for 5 minutes, as your fitness increases you can run further and at a faster pace. Do not push yourself to hard as this will lead to injury. Experts recommend doing a full run on day one, day two run half the distance at a slower pace, this relaxes the muscles and lessens the chances on injury. Then on day three rest. You can then start the cycle over. This is a great way to improve fitness and it will really enhance your endurance.

Swimming – Possibly the best way to get fit! Swimming tones all of your body and gives all your muscles an excellent work out. The great advantage of swimming is that it’s almost impossible to injure yourself. Many people swim to recover from injury and this can be a great way to build up worn down muscles. Similar to running, don’t over do it and take a day to rest up on a regular basis so not to exhaust your muscles. Again start slow and build up distances as you increase your level of fitness. The only real disadvantage of swimming is that you need somewhere to do it, some people may not have a nearby pool so this could be an issue. Otherwise swimming is a great fitness booster.

Aerobics – Something that is not as popular as it once was, but is still a really good way to get fit. Whether you join a class or do it in the privacy of your own home, this is a great way to get fit. It’s a low impact activity so again the danger of injury is minimal. Buying DVD’s to watch and follow fitness programmes is very helpful and can really improve muscle tone and general fitness. The only possible downside to aerobics is that if you want to be super fit it tends to be limited. You will probably have to do something else as well to take your fitness to a higher level.

Cycling – Another great low impact activity that really can get you super fit. After purchasing a bike it’s pretty much free and as you increase the distances you cycle you can travel round some interesting places which makes it an enjoyable activity. The risk of injury is low, unless you fall off, then this can be a real danger. But if you ride sensibly and safely you should not have any problems and you will find cycling a wonderful way to boost fitness levels.

Sports – This is one that many people take up. Some people find running or swimming boring as it can just be you on your own. They need the thrill of competitive games to excite them. Playing sport on a regular basis is a great way to get fit. Depending on the sport though there is usually a higher risk of injury. Some sports are obviously better than others for building fitness, but if you enjoy your sport you are more likely to keep it up and enhance you condition.

Changing Life Styles – Sometimes it can simply be walking places you might usually drive. Cycle to work instead of taking the bus. Just making more effort to get out and walk is something that is very simple but can really help you boost your fitness. Obviously walking a mile a day is not going to get you super fit but it’s a great place to start.

The Little Things – Most of the ways I have mentioned represent changes in your life and putting forward lots of effort. But there are simple things you can do that will improve your fitness. Don’t walk up the stairs, run! Dance while your making your morning coffee. Do a few star jumps while your cooking your dinner. Just be more active in everything you do. If you work at a desk, tap your feet for a while, any kind of movement will increase your level of fitness, even if it’s only a small amount it all helps.

So there is a list of a few ideas. There are plenty of other things you can try but these tend to be the best and most accessible options for most people. You may find that some of the suggestions are not for you but somewhere in there most people will find something that suits them. Another excellent suggestions is mix and match. Run one day, swim another, walk to work another, a combination of activities is excellent as it will get more of your muscles working and be more interesting. Whatever you decide I wish you well in your pursuit of fitness. Building your fitness even if only slightly will lead to you feeling more confident in yourself, better health and a feeling of achievement! So it’s well worth making that decision and getting yourself fit.

Physical Fitness for you

Physical fitness is to the human body what fine-tuning is to an engine. It is not a race, it’s a pursuit. In its most general meaning, physical fitness is a general state of good physical health. It is a foundation for a long and successful life.

Physical fitness is usually measured by periodic tests measuring strength, endurance, agility, coordination, and flexibility. Physical fitness is the capacity of the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and muscles to function at optimum efficiency.

It has two meanings — General fitness (a state of health and well-being) and specific fitness (the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations). Physical Fitness is important, even on bed rest.

A general-purpose physical fitness program must address the following essentials:

Cardiovascular Fitness: It is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to muscles during continuing physical activity.

Regular exercises enable more blood to be pumped with each stroke of heart.

Flexibility Training: Stretching increases the range of motion of a joint. It improves suppleness.

Strength Training: Strength training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, and size of skeletal muscles.

Muscular Endurance: Endurance is the ability to exert for a long period of time. In humans, it is usually used in aerobic or anaerobic exercise.

Body Composition: In physical fitness, body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in human bodies.

Fitness

Fitness, most importantly cardio-respiratory fitness, has been directly correlated to the mortality rate. Fitness can be described as a condition that helps us look, feel, and do our best.

In previous years, fitness was commonly defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. These days, physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist diseases, and to meet emergency situations.

Many sources also cite mental and emotional health as an important part of overall fitness. This is often presented in textbooks as a triangle made up of three sub-sections, which represent physical, emotional, and mental fitness.

Physical fitness involves the performance of the heart, lungs, and muscles. And, since what we do with our bodies also affects what we can do with our minds, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional stability.

People normally prefer walking for fitness activities followed in order by: swimming, fishing, bicycle riding, camping, golf, bowling, exercise equipment, hiking, hunting, aerobics, calisthenics, jogging, and tennis. Women prefer fitness-related indoor activities and men prefer outdoor sports.

The top level of physical fitness tends to mesh physiology and psychology. The exercises improve function of the muscular and skeletal systems, enhance circulation, augment energy and elevate overall individual levels of fitness. The level of physical fitness can be influenced by regular, systematic exercise.

As energy depends on nutrition, proper nutrition is important to physical fitness. If diet is not adequate, the fitness level will drop. Overweight, underweight, and weak individuals will have below average fitness levels.

Exercises

Exercise that doesn’t raise your heart rate to a certain level and keep it there for 20 minutes won’t contribute significantly to cardiovascular fitness. It is better to select exercises that involve total body involvement.

Such exercises improve and maintain fitness most effectively — e.g. Running, swimming, golf, dancing, cycling, and brisk walking. The correct exercises will help you decrease body fat and increase or maintain muscle mass.

By performing many different exercises for a low number of repetitions, the muscles are strengthened, elongated and toned without creating bulk. Total concentration on the body during each exercise emphasizes movement quality, coordination and breath.

Health

Healthy people have more active and more interesting life. Physical fitness can also prevent or treat many chronic health conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle or aging.

To stay healthy it’s important to participate in physical activity. Even those of us who haven’t always led active lifestyles, increasing our physical activity now will help us live longer & healthier lives.

To live a full and healthy life, exercise must be a part of it. It is the ability to endure, to bear up, to withstand stress, to carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue, and it is a major basis for good health and well-being. A physically fit body has less chance of acute health problems and chronic disease.

Portable Fitness Equipment

Since I first began personal training in 1985 people have stated basically the same goals: To lose fat and gain muscle, improve athleticism, heal the body,increase movement skills, spend little money and train whenever and wherever they wanted. I am pretty sure you want the same, but there’s a problem. Maybe you travel, it’s hard to get to the gym, or maybe you don’t like the gym and/or you can’t afford to build your own machine laden gym at home? So what do you do? Well the answer has been here for over 30 years. The answer to true physical fitness is portable fitness equipment from the Monkey Bar Gym! Portable fitness equipment has evolved from the light resistance bands and ankle weights they use in aerobic classes. Today portable fitness equipment is literally all you need to get into the greatest shape of your life. Whether your goal is basic overall fitness, strength, conditioning OR high level sports performance you can get it all with portable fitness equipment.

How do I know this? It is all I have ever done and all that my dad Bobby Hinds has ever done. My Dad started the beginnings of portable fitness equipment with the beaded jump rope and training program in 1973, which sparked the Jump Rope for Heart program. He followed it up in 1976 with the first ever Portable Gym. Back in the day people thought my dad was crazy…still do , but he was way ahead of his time. He saw a huge need for people to stay in shape while on the road, traveling, working out at home or outside. He knew that not everyone wanted to workout on machines, or had the money, time or drive to workout in a gym or inside for that matter. So, he took it upon himself to change it and the fitness world has never been the same.

Today, portable fitness equipment can do everything you desire in your fitness training: YOU CAN get stronger, leaner, improve athletic performance, heal & prevent injuries, increase movement skills, spend little money and train anywhere you want, anytime you want!!! Portable fitness equipment can also allow you to follow an online training program, almost like having your own personal trainer! Because of all of these tremendous benefits, portable fitness equipment is a common term in the fitness industry. I feel my Dad and his company, Lifeline USA, are a huge reason for portable fitness equipment being such an integral part of the fitness industry today. I have always believed in portable fitness equipment, so much that I opened up my Monkey Bar Gymnasium in 2001. It is the first hard core strength and conditioning training facility in the country that uses ONLY portable fitness equipment!

“Full body anywhere, anytime training is all we do and all we’ve ever done” says Monkey Bar Gymnasium, Certified Natural Trainer, Jessica Rucker. “We teach movement mastery first and then add resistance via portable fitness equipment. Using Resistance cables, Kettlebells, Jungle Gyms, Med & D-balls, Jump Ropes, Power Push ups, Power Jumpers, Vertical Jumpers and Power Wheels all add more challenge to basic bodyweight movements, thus taking them to the next level. It’s clearly the main reason everyone who trains with us either online or at the Monkey Bar Gymnasium is incredibly fit”.

So what exactly is portable fitness equipment? Any piece of exercise equipment that you can easily pack and take anywhere in the world and get a tremendous workout. That is why my dad’s first Portable Gym’s tag line was “a gym in a bag”. Portable fitness equipment gives you a great workout, not just an okay one.

IT WORKS!! A workout with really good portable fitness equipment improves your strength (functional muscle), conditioning (leaner body), sports performance, agility, mobility, stability, strength and power. Want proof, At the Monkey Bar Gymnasium we AVERAGE 17 lbs of fat loss and 5.4 lbs of muscle gain over the first 60 days of training…did I mention, only using portable fitness equipment!

More Proof. On a recent road trip, Jessica and I brought along all of our favorite Portable Fitness Equipment, a Power Push Up, Jungle Gym, TNT Cable, Power Wheel, Power Jump Rope and even the new Lifeline Kettlebell. Yes, the Lifeline Kettlebell. This may not be a true piece of portable fitness equipment, but it is a heavier version, it still is portable and definitely is fitness equipment. On our road trip we really put all of the portable fitness equipment to the test.

Could we drive more than 3,000 miles & get great workouts at the same time? The answer was definitely YES!!Every hour we drove, we stopped and did a killer set with each piece of equipment. One hour we did a set of squat presses with the TNT Cable, the next hour a killer set of chins and rows with the Jungle Gym, the next hour 100 doubles jumping rope as fast as possible, the next hour 40 snatches each arm with the Lifeline Kettlebell. Honestly, it was amazing! Each set only took us 3 minutes! When we would get back in the car we felt incredible! We were totally energized and ready to go and looked forward to the next hour and what we would do. By the end of the day, we had without question, gotten a heck of a workout and we were both tired but very satisfied in knowing that we not only can do these workouts anywhere at anytime, but that working out with Portable Fitness Equipment is the best way to attain ultimate fitness.

The World is your Playground” workout anywhere / anytime (AA), indoors or outside!!!

Lets lay out a Backpack of Portable Fitness Equipment for you to workout AA!!

1) Jungle Gym: Pure bodyweight training: chin ups (assisted to kip ups), push ups, dips, rows, flys, assisting pistols /1 leg squats, leg curls, runners, core rollouts and lots more. One piece of equipment that can do full body training for strength & conditioning! Weight about 1.5 lbs, fits in pocket.

2) TNT Cable: Pure resistance training: squats, full extensions, cable cleans, presses, Russian twists, diagonal chops & lifts, resisted running & backpedaling, 1 arm punches, rows and lots more. Weight about 1 lb., fits in large pocket.

3) Power Jump Rope: Pure conditioning training: probably the single best tool for overall full body conditioning. Weight 1.5 lbs, fits in pocket.

We put them all together in the Portable Monkey Bar Gym. It even includes a comprehensive training DVD.

Add more fun to your BackPack with the following:

The Power Push up: Voted Best piece of exercise equipment by Mens Fitness. Can adjust from 20 to 270 lbs of resistance for your push ups. Weight 2.5 lbs., fits in backpack easily.

The Power Jumper: The Best Jump Training device on the market…and it’s portable! Get the Jump Training DVD, it’s great. You can do all lower body exercises with it too. Athletes average 6-8″ improvements over 12 weeks of training. Weight 2.5 lbs, fits in backpack too.

A Note on the Resistance Cables – 3 big points:

1) Non-Fixed ranges of motion – meaning you must react and balance the resistance, this improves motor function and performance greatly.

2) Progressive variable resistance – as cables lengthen they increase in resistance, creating an excellent balance as your leverage becomes greater, it becomes greater!

3) Adjustable resistance – in seconds you can lighten or increase the resistance. This means you can match bodyweight movements with precision resistance, can load or resist up to max loads thus giving covering all levels of strength training from endurance to power.

In general portable fitness equipment is in a league of its own. It’s accessible, light weight and convenient but yet can generate max resistance loads if needed or maximum challenge of exercise if needed, it literally can do it all!! With portable fitness equipment you never need to stop your workouts because of business trips or vacations and working out at home with $1,000.00’s of dollars of bulky equipment has become a thing of the past. Compare that with a mere $100 or so for all of the above listed portable fitness equipment. You can use portable fitness equipment to perform online training with any of the great sites out there, and achieve incredible results!

Selecting a Fitness Center

Selecting one of the finest fitness centers in NJ is not such a troublesome task if you know precisely what to seem for before joining the gym. There are multiple fitness facilities in NJ that are offered; however, you would like to use caution and comfy before deciding upon one. Before deciding upon a specific gym in NJ, you wish to be sure regarding your needs and if that fitness facility can cater to your desires effectively.

Primary factors that you would like to seem for before choosing a fitness center in NJ

· Payment, discounts or membership choices

Value is one in all the foremost vital factors when making a decision everything. You’ll be able to visit a fitness center and enquire with them concerning the numerous payment options and fitness programs offered with them. You can conjointly raise them about the various membership schemes and discounts options. Some fitness centers provide you temporary membership in addition to lifetime membership. You can decide among any of them, relying on your needs. After all you need to form positive that the facilities and services provided by the fitness centers are worth the worth you pay.

· Location of the fitness facilitiy

Attempt choosing a fitness facility which is close to your house or work place or located conveniently with a parking lot. Most of the days it happens that we tend to neglect our daily exercise regime by not going to the gym just as a result of it’s too way from our house or work place. Build certain that location of the gym in NJ be around your house or work place, creating the fitness center simply accessible to you.

· Comfort level

You must be comfortable with the group, the equipments, the ambience and the trainers at the fitness center. Typically most folks visiting fitness facilities in NJ are comfortable with everything that they offer, that’s as a result of of their highly developed skills and services in the fitness world. NJ gyms supply you necessary fitness routines inclusive of aerobic exercises, sustainability and muscular exercises, and suppleness based on American Council on Exercise. Create a positive that the gym in NJ, that you decide also provides you with of these exercises and comfort levels.

· Trainers and services

Make positive that the trainers at the gyms are well qualified, approved and have a sensible reputation in their field. These gym representatives are those who guide you through a correct fitness program. They additionally guide you through numerous equipments and diet plans. Build positive that the workers and services at the fitness facilities are friendly. If you expertise an overall sensible atmosphere at the gym, you’re feeling a lot of snug and motivated to visit it regularly.

· Hygiene and cleanliness

Another necessary issue that you’d want to think about is that the hygiene and cleanliness of the NJ gyms. NJ fitness facilities are typically equipped with clean, well functioning equipments. Build certain that the locker rooms, bathrooms etc are clean and in smart hygiene.

· Consult your friends and acquaintances and also undergo the testimonials from their previous or existing clients.

You can consult your friends and acquaintances and enquire with them concerning the numerous fitness facilities in NJ that they may bear in mind of. This will facilitate your to figure out the most effective, most widespread fitness centers obtainable in your locality. You’ll additionally undergo testimonials that regular customers at the fitness center would possibly have written, thus that you get a transient plan regarding the fitness center and its services.

5 Components of Physical Fitness

While the definition of physical fitness can be a little complex or unclear and the definition of physical fitness can vary, most government health agencies and exercise scientists agree that there are 5 components of physical fitness related to health. These components provide a fairly accurate representation of how fit and healthy the body is as a whole (total or overall fitness). The 5 components are cardiovascular fitness (also referred to as cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance), muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

Let’s take a closer look at these components individually.

1.) Cardiovascular fitness (or cardio-respiratory endurance or cardiovascular endurance)

Of the 5 components, cardiovascular fitness is the cornerstone that creates the pathway to improving your other fitness levels.

Cardiovascular fitness is the efficiency with which the body (the heart and lungs) delivers oxygen and nutrients to the required working muscles and transports waste products from the cells over a sustained period of time. Or to put it another way, it’s the ability of your heart and lungs to work together to provide the necessary oxygen and fuel to your body without quickly reaching a high level of fatigue and tiredness.

In our daily lives, we need cardiovascular fitness to handle the physical tasks and all of the “running around” we do.

A common test of cardiovascular fitness usually involves some type of sustained running. But typical examples of physical activities that relate to cardiovascular fitness are jogging, swimming, cycling, brisk or speed walking and any type of aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness.

2.) Muscular strength

Muscular strength is the maximum amount of force (weight or heavy resistance) a muscle or muscle group can generate in a single effort to the point that no more repetitions can be done without rest. Muscular strength is quite the opposite of cardiovascular fitness in regards to the fact that cardiovascular fitness is measured over a certain period of time. While on the other hand, muscular strength is measured in one repetition.

In our daily lives, we need modest levels of strength to be able to perform everyday physical tasks like lifting, moving, carrying, etc.

A common test to measure upper body strength is some type of weightlifting exercise, such as the bench press. Anaerobic weightlifting exercises like the bench press, leg press, shoulder press, or bicep curls are examples of the best ways to improve muscular strength.

3.) Muscular endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated movements (or to hold a particular position) with less than maximum force for an extended period of time or until muscular fatigue. Or, to put it simplistically, it’s how long your muscles can do something before getting too exhausted to finish.

Be careful not to confuse muscular endurance with muscular strength. While they can work together, they are definitely not the same. For many athletes, there may be a need to distinguish between muscular strength and muscular endurance. But for everyday people who want to easily perform their daily routines, are trying to stay healthy and fit, and just want to enjoy physical activities like hiking, biking, or just playing in the park with their children, muscular endurance plays a major role in fitness.

Common testing for muscular endurance can be dynamic (the ability to repeat contractions) or static (the ability to sustain a contraction). Dynamic tests would be to see how many push-ups or sit-ups, for example, a person can complete in a designated amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds, a minute, or maybe longer). Or, without being timed, the person could do as many repetitions of the exercise as they could until they couldn’t do anymore. An example of a static test would be the flexed-arm hang whereby the performer hangs on a bar until the designated stopping time or until they become too weak to continue hanging.

Muscular endurance can be improved by both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Some examples would be biking, step machines and elliptical machines.

4.) Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to move the joints or any group of joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons through their full, normal range of motion without hindrance, discomfort, or pain.

Flexibility is actually more important to physical fitness than people realize. Not only does flexibility play a big role in performing many daily tasks, but maintaining or even increasing your flexibility is critical to protecting your joints and keeping them healthy. In addition, being flexible contributes to improving your lower back health, reducing the appearance and effects of arthritis, and reducing muscle-tendon injuries.

Not everyone has the same flexibility or flexibility requirements. Your flexibility tells you how limber you are. And, when it comes to testing your flexibility fitness level, the sit-and-reach test is most often used.

Stretching is the best way to improve flexibility. And, most fitness experts recommend a daily routine of static stretches for each joint.

5.) Body composition

Body composition is the percentage of fat in your body compared to your lean body mass (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc.).

Body composition is a better indicator of your overall fitness condition than body weight. So understand that your total body weight or what you see on your bathroom scale does not tell you how much fat or lean body mass (muscle) you have.

Body composition is useful in helping to determine health risks. Therefore, knowing your body composition and how it relates to your overall fitness level is essential. An optimal ratio of fat mass to lean mass is a clear indicator of good fitness.

Your body composition is a consequence of the extent that you perform the other components of physical fitness. In other words, when you improve the other four components, it will have a positive impact on body composition resulting in less body fat. Alternatively, when you have a high body fat content ratio, you are considered overweight or possibly obese. And, it negatively affects the other fitness components as well as your daily performance, your appearance, and your overall health.

There are several methods that can be used to calculate body composition. The best method is underwater weighing. But due to the expense, this isn’t practical for the everyday person. Incidentally, if you can go to a university or some other place that is set up to do it, it would be well worth your time to check it out. Therefore, the most common method of determining your body composition is skinfold readings – using skinfold calipers and taking measurements from certain areas of your body.

A regular program involving aerobic exercise and strength training can help you decrease your body fat and increase your muscle mass; and thereby, significantly improving your body composition and general overall health and fitness.

In conclusion, you now know that being fit is not just about being able to bench press a lot of weight, but you also need to know how well you can handle running a mile, for example, and a few other things. The key is that by understanding the 5 components of physical fitness, you’ll be better able to assess your fitness level and determine what specific health and fitness goals you’d like to achieve.

9 Pioneers of Fitness

In composing any list of important people in almost any field, everybody will have his or her own favorites. Also, in weight lifting, body building, physical fitness, aerobics, just to name a few areas, there are so many people who have contributed so much that it is difficult to pare the list down adequately. I have attempted, however, to include people who have repeatedly come to my attention since my first contact with weight training at age 16 in 1961. I have tried to put the emphasis on people who I felt were somewhat pivotal in the areas of weight lifting, body building, aerobics or general physical fitness. I am sure that many readers will have their own favorites.

Eugen Sandow The Non Pareil (1867 – 1925) Born in Germany, Eugen Sandow has often been called “Father of Modern Bodybuilding”. Like Charles Atlas, as a youth, Sandow was a great admirer of Greek and Roman statues depicting athletes and gladiators. Sandow is considered to be a pioneer in bodybuilding because he measured statues to determine exact proportions and then worked to develop his own body parts to match them. In his late teens, while performing in strongman shows, he was spotted and taken on by legendary showman Florenz Ziegfeld. His big splash in America was at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His intelligence, natural charm, and cultured appearance combined with his astounding physique and strength made him a star. Women actually paid him money for the privilege of feeling his muscles. For the men, he wrote widely on health, fitness, and bodybuilding. He, like Bernarr Macfadden and Charles Atlas offered a mail order course teaching his students how to achieve health and fitness. He eventually opened a progressive fitness club in London which stood in stark contrast to the dank, dark, and sweaty gyms of the day. Through his personality and innovation, he made exercise and physical fitness popular for a broader audience than had previously been reached.

Bernarr Macfadden (1868 – 1955) Born Bernard Adolphus McFadden in the state of Missouri, Bernarr Macfadden changed his first and last names because he felt that the new names had a greater appearance of strength. This was not the only strange activity of the man who advocated regular fasting, and some very esoteric health practices for the day and whose wife called him a kook. He combined his own personal views of fitness training and health practices into an entity he referred to as “Physical Culture” which became the title of his first magazine. He eventually became a bit of a publishing mogul, but was usually considered to be skirting the edges of reality in his obsessive approach to physical fitness. However, he inspired young men like Charles Atlas and brought the idea of health and fitness as a way of life to a broader portion of the public.

Charles Atlas (1892 – 1972) was born Angelo Siciliano in 1892 in Acri, Calabria, Southern Italy. In 1905, his parents emigrated to America with young Angelo. A few years later, he had changed his first name to “Charles” when he won a photo competition in a magazine run by the creator of “Physical Culture”, Bernarr Macfadden. Young Charles was inspired to improve his physique.by Greek statues he saw at the Brookly Art Gallery. His first attempts at fitness was with improvised barbells made of sticks and stones. His observation of animals in the zoo, however, led him to base a series of fitness actions on their apparent means of maintaining their fitness in captivity. He called his discovery Dynamic Tension and went on to market his program to thousands of boys and men. On the path to becoming “Charles Atlas”, he posed for statues of Atlas. Some of which were exhibited in the museum where he found his initial inspiration. At the time of his death, he was still exercising daily and running every other day. His course on Dynamic Tension had been the inspiration for over three million men and boys.

Bob Hoffman (1898 – 1985) Bob Hoffman is considered by many to be “Father of World Weightlifting” and was the founder of York Barbell. He was an athlete, nutritionist, weightlifter, coach and philanthropist. Although an exceptional athlete as a young boy, the mature Bob Hoffman was never a great weightlifter or coach. However, his vision, sense of purpose, and personal belief in the value of weightlifting led him to create York Barbell, a company which was long recognized as the leader in the manufacture of weightlifting equipment and which is still in existence today. while many felt his writings and opinions were “over the top”, his personal bravery and willingness to face adversity was shown not only in his later life as he espoused and defended his positions, but also during World War I where he was awarded three Croix de Guerres with two palms and a silver star from France, The Belgian Order of Leopold by Belgium, the Italian War Cross by Italy, and the Purple Heart by America.

Jack LaLanne (1914 – present) Francois Henri LaLanne, better known to the American public as Jack and considered the “godfather of fitness”, had a widely viewed TV show in the 1950’s. Interestingly, his show was probably seen and followed by more women than men, and he may have been instrumental in promoting the idea that women could “get fit”. Unlike many of the earlier proponents of fitness, Jack LaLanne studied his field very carefully and introduced what he felt his studies told him was the proper way to do things. He is still active in fitness today, marketing a wide line of fitness and nutritional products.

Joe Weider (1922 – present) Joe Weider is probably one of the most easily recognized figures in the field of bodybuilding today. He has been credited with not only being a driving force in the fields of body building and fitness, but has helped the careers of innumerable bodybuilders, not the least of which was a young Austrian named Arnold Schwarzenegger. He began his own fitness career by building his first barbells out of junked car wheels and axles. At age 17, with a stake of $7, he began his publishing career by rolling out the first issue of “Your Physique” in 1939. In 1968, he changed the name of the magazine to Muscle Builder, and in 1982 changed it again, this time to “Muscle & Fitness”. Together with his brother and partner, Ben Weider, Joe Weider founded the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB). His publications now include such diverse offerings as “Shape”, “Men’s Fitness”, “Living Fit”, “Prime Health and Fitness”, “Fit Pregnancy”, “Cooks”, “Senior Golfer”, and “Flex”. Weider now offers a broad range of books on fitness and bodybuilding, nutritional supplements, and bodybuilding and weight lifting equipment and accessories.

Kenneth Cooper (1931 – present) A doctor (MD) and former Air Force officer, Dr. Ken Cooper is probably most widely known for his book, “Aerobics” which was published in 1968 and which was a driving force in getting me interested in fitness. Dr. Cooper’s down-to-earth description of what he called the “Training Effect” as well as a formatted process by which one could achieve health and fitness coupled with vivid descriptions of what the personal effects would be for someone pursuing a fitness program, made his book a success. In fact, some have speculated that Kenneth Cooper’s simple little book, “Aerobics”, may have been the impetus which put physical fitness into the minds and hearts of millions around the world. Today, Dr. Cooper is the head of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

Richard Simmons (1948 – present) Flamboyant is one word commonly used to describe the bouncy, incessantly cheerful aerobics guru, Richard Simmons. It has been estimated that Richard Simmons has helped and encouraged people around the world to lose over 3,000,000 pounds through a combination of healthy eating and energetic exercise. Simmons has produced several programs, such as “Disco Sweat”, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”, and “Stretchin’ to the Classics” that all include his humor and signature high level of excitement. He has created instructional products and programs that range from gentle stretching for the elderly to highly intense aerobic workouts. My wife, who hates exercise, loves Richard Simmons and actually got to where she could follow some very intense routines although she had to begin by sitting on the couch and just making the hand movements.

Jane Fonda (1937 – present) Many would not recognize the famous star of such films as “Barbarella” and “Coming Home”, and daughter of actor Henry Fonda, as a fitness pioneer or guru. For many years she was better known as an actress with a sexy body, a big name, and intense political views. However, beginning in 1982 and continuing into the mid 90’s, Ms. Fonda released several fitness videos which became very popular, particularly with women. In fact, today, many people who know of Jane Fonda know her more as a proponent of fitness, health, exercise, yoga, and aerobics than as a famous movie star. While Jane Fonda made no immediate contributions to the science of health and fitness, she, like Richard Simmons, was able to elevate its stature among a large female audience and helped make it fashionable to work out, sweat, be fit, AND feminine. Jane Fonda may have helped move the public awareness of the value and virtues of exercise and fitness to the point where many people now consider a physically fit woman to be a sexy woman just by virtue of her fitness.

Well, there you have it. Nine people who in some way positively affected, altered, or enhanced the fields of body building, weight lifting, aerobics, or physical fitness in general.