5 Tips to Improve Your Physical Fitness Level

 

Sorry for not being so regular with my blogs lately. Training clients and handling family life can be overwhelming! Thanks again to everyone that voted for Bring It Home Personal Training in the clickondetroit.com “Vote 4 the Best” contest. If you haven’t heard, we did win the contest! That’s the last I’ll mention it. Let’s get back to blogging…

These 5 tips are my best tips for improving physical fitness levels:

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A standard push-up is a great example of a strength training exercise that improves muscular strength and endurance.

1. You must do strength training at least twice a week. Total body workouts are great for building muscular strength and endurance.

2. You have to do cardiovascular endurance training every day for at least 30 minutes. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. Keep it strong!

3. Be sure to stretch all muscle groups every day! Stretching may help to prevent injuries and will certainly help you to release stress and relax.

4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example: if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink approximately 60 ounces of water a day.

5. Get plenty of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours a day. Your body grows and repairs itself when sleeping. A good night sleep will help you to get through a long day of school and/or work and leave you with plenty of energy to exercise.

Obviously there are many more healthy tips out there. These are just five of my favorites to help improve physical fitness levels. Of course, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. Improving your physical fitness level can be accomplished at any age. As you’ve heard from me in the past, consistency and motivation are keys to achieving your goals. Stay active and eat healthy!

 

Exercise Slump: Everyone Does It

 

Shhhh…Don’t tell anyone, I’ve been in an exercise slump for nearly two weeks! Yes, it happens even to us professional physical fitness gurus. One day I’m running 4 miles at 7 mph on the treadmill and feeling great, the next day my mojo was lost. It all had to do with that darn storm that came through and knocked out our power for four days along with devastating our little neighborhood. No major damage, however several sheared off and uprooted trees, downed power lines, and of course, the hole in our roof. Compared to other storms around our country and the world, our storm was tiny and really insignificant. However, it was enough to change our daily routines, disrupt our lives, and make me really think about how lucky we were that the damage wasn’t worse. It was very easy for me to get out of my daily exercise routine thanks to the storm of 2014. DSC_1789-Edit-3

I can see how it’s easy to get out of the routine of daily exercise and how difficult it is to get back into it. Motivation is a key issue. My motivation has been more focused on getting the neighborhood cleaned up, dealing with the insurance company, deciding on what type of home generator to buy, and trying to keep my kids on schedule with school and homework while juggling 8-9 clients every day. I’ve had no time to fit in my own exercise.

I’ve heard this from clients for all the years I’ve been a personal trainer (16 years now!). “I don’t have time to exercise”, they say. I always come back with, “You have to make the time.” It is difficult to make the time to exercise, especially if you really don’t like it. I understand that. I also understand that “life” gets in the way of exercise. However, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the lack of daily physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle, and the negative effects that come along with it such as heart disease, cancers, strokes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, low self-esteem, and a lot of medical bills.

My exercise slump is over as of today. I put on my running shoes and got back up on the treadmill. My motivation? Life. I love the life I have here on Earth. I love my boys, my wife, my family and friends, and all the clients I’m able to interact with every day. I enjoy spreading my knowledge of physical fitness to everyone I come in contact with. Whether you’re a long time client from Bloomfield Hills, a new FaceBook friend from Kenya, or a student from the United Kingdom using our website for research. My motivation comes from all of you that read my blogs, watch my YouTube videos, and listen to my exercise and fitness advice. All of you are my support group that keeps me moving and physically active.

A support group is the best way to stay motivated. Your spouse, family, and friends are the most important support groups to have when getting out of your exercise routine. Be sure to talk with the people who care about you. Let them know that your exercise routine has slipped and that you need help getting back on schedule. With encouragement and support from your loved ones, you’ll find yourself lacing up your running shoes, stepping outside with a smile, and feeling more motivated now that you’re out of that exercise slump. For me, I’m cranking up the treadmill to 8 mph tomorrow! I’m back, thanks to you!

 

Back to School Fitness Tips for Kids and Parents

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Summer’s over. It’s sad to say. We had a great summer with our boys, Max and Will. Our summer trips were full of traveling around our great state of Michigan and a lot of physical activity such as swimming, biking, running, football, and throwing the frisbee just to name a few. With no school to worry about during the summer, it’s easy to keep our physical fitness levels high. Everyday this summer has been filled with exercise. I’m sure it’s easy for most families to stay active and physically fit during the summer. I see it on FaceBook all the time. However, school schedules are back in place and I know that for our family it’s a lot more difficult to get family fitness in. Vacation 2014 100

Teaching my kids about physical fitness, exercise, and proper nutrition comes naturally to me. Ever since the boys were toddlers, I’ve been teaching them the importance of eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits, the health benefits of exercise, and how to incorporate physical fitness into their daily lives. My kids are 9 and 5 years old now and both know the difference between “good carbs” and “bad carbs”. What a lean protein is and why protein is important. They also know that in order to stay strong and physically fit, they should do some sort of physical activity or exercise every day.

With school starting back up, keeping up with daily physical activity will be a bit of a challenge for the boys. However, we, their parents, always find ways to keep them active in order to keep their physical fitness levels high. One of the best ways we find to keep our kids active during the school year is to get the kids involved in an organized team sport they enjoy. Key phrase here is “sport they enjoy”. If your child does not enjoy the sport you put him/her in, then it simply will not be fun for him or for you. When a child enjoys and has fun playing a specific sport, then he will certainly put more effort into getting better which will lead to more exercise and training. My son, Max, played on several organized flag football and basketball teams and never really enjoyed it. He was pretty good at both sports but never really liked either one. We’ve found that swimming is his sport. He loves it! Will, my 5 year old, loves any sport right now. So he wants to be on all the sports teams he can.

Participating on a sports team is great exercise and physical fitness for kids. However, this may not be for everyone. So, it is up to the parents to help figure out ways to keep their children active and physically fit during the school year. Remember to make exercise fun and educational for kids. Parents should incorporate the 11 components of physical fitness into kids’ exercise programs. These 11 components of physical fitness can be found by clicking here. The following physical activities and exercises are what I have my boys do outside of their team sports in order to keep their fitness levels high during the school year:

  • Set up an outdoor obstacle course that involves running around chairs, jumping over low brooms supported by chairs, bear crawling on hands and feet, and racing towards a finish line. Obstacle courses help to improve your child’s coordination, agility, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular strength and endurance. High intensity work-outs like this will help to burn a lot of calories and keep your child’s body fat low. Obstacle courses are not only fun, they are a total body work-out.
  • Have your kids complete 50 push-ups throughout the day. Ten when they wake up, ten after breakfast, ten on the playground, ten when they get home from school, and ten before bed. Push ups are a great way to improve kids’ muscular strength and muscular endurance.
  • Jumping rope is a great exercise for kids and it’s fun! Jumping rope will improve your child’s reaction time, speed, and cardiovascular endurance and will certainly help to keep your child at a healthy weight.
  • Go for a bike ride. This is my boys’ favorite exercise to do. Biking helps to improve your kids’ cardiovascular endurance, balance, and muscular strength and endurance. We love riding bikes with our kids!
  • After homework is done, we send our kids outside. We’ve found that our boys are always running around when they go outside. Instead of sitting inside and playing video games or looking at a computer, get your kids outside! Their imaginations will take over and they’ll be running around in no time.

Vacation 2014 102These physical activities for kids are just a few of my favorites. Remember to keep exercise fun and educational. Physical fitness should be fun for kids and adults. If exercise is not fun, kids will tend to not engage in it and their physical fitness levels will drop. Be sure to teach your kids the importance of  incorporating the 11 components of physical fitness into their daily exercise program. These components of physical fitness, along with healthy eating, are important for total body health and wellness. Just because summer is over, don’t neglect your child’s physical fitness. Make the time for exercise everyday, be creative with your child’s exercise program, and parents should exercise with your children. You and your kids can be healthy together!

What is the Best Exercise?

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I have many people ask me this question every week. What I tell them is that there is no “best” exercise. All exercise is good. You just have to find the “best” exercises that suit your needs, physical fitness level, and lifestyle. For me, the best exercise is jumping rope.

I’ve been jumping rope for 20 years now. I had gotten out of the Marine Corps and got a membership at my local Bally’s Total Fitness. My first day working out there I saw a gentleman in the aerobics studio jumping rope all by himself. I watched him in awe. The way he moved.  Swift, steady, precise, and rhythmic. I had visions of watching the movies Rocky, Rocky II, and Rocky III from when I was a kid. Trying not to disturb this obviously “in-shape” man, I entered the aerobics studio, picked up a jump rope, and attempted to jump rope on the opposite side of the studio. I thought, “I’m a Marine, if he can do this so can I”. Ha! My attempts to find rhythm, steadiness, and precision were replaced with clumsiness, stumbling, and continued misses on the jump. I felt a little embarrassed, especially since we were the only two in the studio.

The expert rope jumper obviously watched me struggle and stopped to offer advice. He gave me these 3 following tips:

  • Start slow and low – “Low” meaning you should not jump high when jumping over the rope. You should jump just high enough to get the rope under your feet. “Slow” meaning when you are first starting out with this endeavor go slow to get the rhythm, coordination, and reaction time when the rope is coming around.
  • Keep your body tight – “Tight” meaning keep your arms and shoulders tight and let the rope turn from the wrists. Don’t waste energy moving your arms in big circles. The more movement you have, then the quicker you will burn yourself out.
  • Start with the most basic foot work that you learned as a kid – Meaning just try skipping over the rope. Don’t try the fancy “Rocky” moves right away. You must get a feel for the rope and learn timing and coordination. Once those 2 things are accomplished, then move on to more advanced foot work and speed.

Those 3 tips were just the beginning for me as they are for everyone else that has learned that jumping rope is much more than just skipping and jumping for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Over 20 years of training with the rope, I have developed skills that are very advanced. Not only has my reaction time, coordination, agility, and speed increased, but I’ve found that my muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance has drastically improved also. I can easily jump rope at a high intensity level for 30 minutes now. Jumping rope can get boring just like any other cardiovascular exercise, but once you know a good routine of tricks, foot work, and movement, you’ll find that it is not boring at all. Quite the opposite!

You will certainly see the following improvements when you add jumping rope into your daily exercise program along with practicing healthy eating habits:

  1. Improves overall body composition by decreasing body fat, increasing muscle mass, and increasing weight loss (health-related component of physical fitness)
  2. Increased cardiovascular endurance (health-related component of physical fitness)
  3. Increased muscular endurance (health-related component of physical fitness)
  4. Decreased blood pressure
  5. Increased agility (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  6. Increased coordination (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  7. Increased reaction time (skill-related component of physical fitness)
  8. Increased mental focus
  9. Increased speed (skill-related component of physical fitness)

So, my best exercise is jumping rope. It improves 7 of the 11 components of physical fitness. It is a total body workout. It is challenging. Most importantly, jumping rope is fun! Thank you to that expert rope jumper I met at Bally’s. If it wasn’t for him, I may have given up and never found my “best” exercise.