Posts Tagged ‘Exercise


Darryl Talks About Personal Training With the Fitness Connection Nation

Darryl has made great progress in muscle growth and loss of body fat.  It’s exciting to watch people make changes in body composition and completely change their lives.

Watch the video to see Darryl talk about his experience with personal training and changing his body composition.


The St. Augustine Workout/Travel Blog

Last week I went on vacation to St. Augustine, FL.  St. Augustine is a great place to visit because of all the historical sites, great beaches, natural beauty and so many restaurants that you can never visit even a small percentage of them in just one visit. You might ask yourself  “is this a fitness and nutrition blog, or a travel blog for St. Augustine?”

While in St. Augustine you should visit Caps Restaurant...Wait, this is a fitness blog...Not a travel blog.

While in St. Augustine you should visit Caps Restaurant...Wait, this is a fitness blog...Not a travel blog.

A major part of staying fit and healthy is relieving stress.  Sure it’s great to go to the gym and lift weights or do some cardio to relieve the day to day stress of life.  In fact, I believe that stress reduction through exercise is one of it’s most underrated benefit. While on vacation, I continued to follow a routine of daily weight training and interval training.  I usually go to one of the local gyms and pay for however much time I’m going to be in St. Augustine.  This time I decided to use the gym at the condo.

Beautiful stress free day on St. Augustine Beach

Beautiful stress free day on St. Augustine Beach

I’m not a big fan of the condo gym because it’s not very big and doesn’t have a lot of the equipment I like to use.  But, it does have lots of free weights and enough equipment to get you though a good training session.  And it doesn’t waste a lot of space on cardio machines (which, by the way, are a waste of space in most gyms if you are looking to lose body fat). Because I was forced to go out of my routine and come up with exercises I rarely do in my local gym, I got in some really good workouts.

This gym had very few cable machines that I usually use for pulling type exercises.  I had to come up with exercises that involved pulling without the use of cables. Every good training routine should incorporate a balance of pushing and pulling type exercises.  In a perfect world you would do a pulling exercise followed by a pushing exercise, or vise versa.  Changing up the type of exercise you do will ensure that all muscle fibers are being activated.

It’s not that difficult to come up with pulling type exercises without the use of cables.  But, cables to help a lot.  The best way to overcome lack of cable machines is with the use of bands.  Bands will give you all the resistance you need to get a great workout. Lower body workouts are where I missed my gym at home the most.  No squat racks in this little gym.

Bands Type Exercise

Bands Type Exercise

I couldn’t imagine that there were any complaints about the lack of squat racks.  Most of the people I saw using this gym were a little older and probably would not use a squat rack. Not that I’ve never seen older people in the squat rack.  The most in shape older individuals I’ve ever met do squats on a regular basis.  Without the assistance of a squat rack I was forced to use much lighter weights.  Lighter weights meant that there had to be higher reps.

Body Weight Squat

Body Weight Squat

I usually do heavy weight for lower body, especially when training glutes.  By the time I finished the high rep routines on lower body I was whipped out.  And my glutes were on fire.  This for me is a sign of a great workout. You really can get a great workout without being in a huge gym.  In fact, some of my best workouts have been outside of the gym where I had to come up with exercises that I normally don’t do in a gym.

Going on vacation is always fun and doesn’t have to mean that you should take a vacation from exercising and eating healthy foods.  In fact, it could be a way to energize your training and nutrition plan.  It could be just what you need to come back  rested and more enthused about your fitness.


How Do You “Create” A Lifestyle of Happiness And Well-Being?

In order to crate a lifestyle of true happiness and well being you first must journey deep down inside yourself.  The answer lies deep within where no one else is looking but you.  Happiness is not just something that comes to you; it is something you choose to create for yourself.  Waiting for something to happen or change in order to be happy is putting your life on permanent hold.  It is not what happens to you that counts but instead how you choose to “react” and “handle” what happens to you that really matters. It’s your attitude of gratitude that sets the foundation for the rest of your life.  When you adopt a positive attitude and are grateful for what already “is” then life becomes much more rewarding and fulfilling instead of just something you simply endure.

Positive emotions give you energy and vitality, while negative emotions completely drain and deplete your life force.  When you are excited and happy and living life to its fullest, you radiate with energy and enthusiasm. When you are felling angry, resentful, or negative for any reason, you feel drained, frustrated and eventually burn out and lose all your life energy.  Feelings and emotions are very normal and serve various purposes.  For example, anger, guilt, bitterness and helplessness are a sort of internal guidance system.  Negative emotions let us know that something in our lives is out of balance.  They can provoke us to action, help us make decisions and alert us to emotional needs that are unmet.  While emotional variety can spice up your life, remaining stuck in a prolonged negative emotional state is something to be avoided.

Exercise is one way to foster a positive state of mind and is one of the best things you can do to maintain your mental and physical well being. When the body is healthy and full of vitality the mind will follow.  If your body doesn’t feel right, you won’t be in the mood to fully enjoy life and be happy.  The hormone believed to be responsible for our feelings of happiness is known as an “endorphin.” The more endorphins we have in our bodies and reaching into our brains, the more content and happier we feel. Exercise has been found to raise the level of endorphins in the body and when this reaches the neurons of the brain, we experience a lifting of the happiness and contentment we feel.

Adopting a positive attitude and exercising takes commitment, planning and dedication.  Be patient with yourself and follow your plan through.  Strive for a regular routine, one that is realistic and manageable.

Don’t worry about being perfect, instead be kind and appreciate yourself for the person you already ARE.  But it’s also very important to begin to make your new healthy lifestyle a “habit” of conscious decision and choice.  Becoming a more healthy and happy person is the ultimate goal and the path towards a healthy lifestyle.

Gena Livings

Personal Health and Fitness Coach

For more articles from Gena Livings please go to


Strength Training with Children

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, proper resistance training can enhance strength without affiliated muscle hypertrophy. Gains in strength in children can be attributed to neuromuscular learning, in which exercise increases the number of motor neurons that will fire when muscles are trained properly. The main argument against strength training for children is the possibility of growth plate fractures due to sheer force. The only website that I could locate any negative in this area was on hockeyusa. It seemed to me that hockeyusa would rather have a child playing hockey than lifting weights. For me the article seemed a little biased.

Research in a 2007 study by Avery D. Faigenbaum, EdD with the College of New Jersey Department of health and Exercise Science states resistance training for children can be a safe and effective form of exercise. He stresses the importance of appropriate training and supervision. A major benefit he states is resistance training could increase a young athlete’s resistance to sports related injuries.

Dr. Linda Kaufman and Dr. DL Schilling at the Cleveland Clinic researched the use of resistance training on a child with poor body awareness. This April 2007 study involved a five year old child. According to the study the child participated in a twelve week strength training program. At the end of the twelve week program improvements were noted in muscle strength and gross motor function. Their research indicated that muscles provide information about joint position. Other evidence suggests that muscle strength gains in children are a neuromuscular learning and neural adaptations. This study reaffirms the need for strength training in adolescents.

A 2008 report by Dr Chezhiyan Shanmugam and Dr Nicola Maffulli with Keele University School of Medicine, Stoke-on-Trent, UK state that most injuries caused in children’s sports are minor and self-limiting. Trainers must take into account the youth’s physical and psychological immaturity, so that growing athletes can adjust to the changes in their bodies.

Research documented in December 2003 by The Ribstein Center for Sport Medicine Sciences and Research, Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel is very much in line with what ISSA states. Increases in strength following resistance training in youth are believed to be due to neural adaptations and only minimally to muscle hypertrophy. Their research indicates that resistance training in youth results in increased serum IGF-I and that there is no detrimental effect on linear growth.

An August 2005 the Department of Pediatrics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong wrote a research paper on effects of strength training on body composition in children who are obese. This study had Eight-Two Hong Kong children who were obese complete a six week training program. This program consisted of three resistance training sessions a week. At the end of the six weeks most of the children wanted to continue the training sessions. This study concluded that children in an exercise program with emphasis on strength training results in improved lean body mass and bone mineral accrual.

Every research article I read suggested the importance of supervised strength training for young people. Strength training can be very safe and effective in youth if the individual is properly instructed and is taught proper form and technique. The goal of resistance training in youth should be to improve strength and performance. Muscle hypertrophy should never be advocated with younger trainees.

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