The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2007 issue 9



Back to Principles

That's principles not principals.  Whether you are new to working out, or you have been pumping iron for years, there are a few principles that you should be aware of that often go overlooked.  A common mistake that can be made has to do with getting comfortable with your exercise routine. 

It's easy to feel good about a workout that produces results... why shouldn't you?  However, to continue to obtain the maximum benefits from your workouts, you're going to want to shake it up from time to time.  An important concept in fitness training states that your body will adjust to the demands that you place upon it.  The SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands) basically states that once your body has adjusted to the demands that you are putting on it, you will start to see a decline in the rate of progress that you are making.  In order to continue to see the same rate of progress, you will need to change (often increase) the demands that you place on your body as you get used to a workout.

Following the principles of Progression, it is essential to continuously challenge yourself by changing different factors in your routine as your body becomes accustomed to it.  These factors are termed the FITT principle; Frequency, Intensity, Time (duration), and Type (mode).  By changing these factors of your exercise workout, you can alter the intensity of the session.  It is recommended that you only change one of these factors at a time, while waiting several workouts before incorporating additional changes.

Another way to change up your workout that I have mentioned before has to do with changing the order of the exercises in your routine.  For example, from time to time I will do the same routine that I had been doing, but in reverse order.  The idea behind this is that your muscles are stronger at the beginning of the workout and the first few exercises will get your strongest effort.  By changing the order of the exercises, you will find that the easier exercises are sometimes harder and vice versa due to the new placement in the workout.

If you are going to continue to put the time in to better yourself, then it is worthwhile to learn more about how to best use that time.  Continue to challenge yourself and change up your workout.  You will get more benefits for your time and it helps to keep you more motivated and interested.

"Complacency is devastating" - Alex Boothe

Lady and the Tramp

Well, it's not just an article for the ladies, but I kinda liked the Disney spin for the article title.  I picked up a mini-tramp (rebounder) last year for about $30 and really didn't use it much until a month ago.  I promised my sister-in-law that I would take her rebounding class and I found it both fun and challenging.  I would definitely recommend taking part in one of these classes, or even picking a rebounder up for use at home.  There are a ton of exercises and routines that can be accomplished on this simple piece of equipment, but best of all... who doesn't like to bounce?

Rebounding involves aerobic movements performed on a bouncing device that looks like a small trampoline. It has you jumping up and down for health and fitness. As an ideal jumping device, the mini-trampoline or "rebounder," has a strong woven mat attached by coiled steel springs to a circular steel frame. The entire jumping surface of the mat is usually twenty-eight inches in diameter, stands on six legs with spring coils of their own, which are seven to nine inches high.

Adults start with 5 minutes of rebounding and increase their time as fitness improves. Seniors start with 2 minutes ten times per day, with at least 30 minutes between sessions. It is necessary for older people to start gradually in order to give the connective tissue holding internal organs in place time to strengthen.

By working against constant gravitational pressure while bouncing, your resistance is subtle, but it builds cellular strength. Rebounding's alternating weightlessness and double gravity produce a pumping action which pulls out waste products from the cells and forces into them, oxygen and nutrition from the bloodstream.

The rebounding motion stimulates all internal organs, moves the cerebral-spinal fluid, aqueous fluid within the eyes (many people claim improved eyesight), and does wonders for the intestines. All cells in the body become stronger in response to the increased G force during rebounding, and this cellular exercise results in the self-propelled immune cells being up to 5 times more active thereby strengthening the immune system.

Rebounding is also a lymphatic exercise.  The lymphatic system is the metabolic garbage can of the body. It rids you of toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, nitrogenous wastes, fat, infectious viruses, heavy metals, and other assorted junk cast off by the cells. The movement performed in rebounding provides the stimulus for a free-flowing system that drains away these potential poisons.  Vigorous exercise such as rebounding is reported to increase lymph flow by 15 to 30 times.

Jumping on the mini-trampoline is remarkably un-strenuous on the Joints. Your movements are perfectly safe, and they make the effect of gravity beneficial. Rebounding has the same effect on your body as jumping rope, but without any jarring effect to the ankles, knees, and lower back that comes from hitting the ground. Better than rope jumping, however, the lymphatic channels get put under hydraulic pressure to move fluids containing waste products of metabolism around and out of the body.

Bouncing on a rebounder is an excellent method of reducing stress.  Jumping for health and fitness not only stabilizes the nervous system during the exercise period, but continues to help maintain equilibrium after one steps off the device. The result is increased resistance to environmental, physical, emotional, and mental stress. 

My recommendation?  Hop to it if you get the chance! 

Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Swiss Ball Hip Raise & Curl

Many people look at the swiss ball (resistance ball, stability ball) and think that it is only for those novice, easy exercises.  If you want a great and challenging butt and hamstring exercise, try this one!  This is a 4 count exercise that combines a hip raise (for your butt) with the leg curl for your hamstrings.  Start with two legs and work your way up to 1 leg at a time.  Machine hamstring curls got nothing on this exercise!


Target:  legs and butt (hamstrings, gluteals)

Count:  4 count

Description:  Whether using one leg or two, start lying on your back with your feet and ankles on the ball.  Raise your hips up so that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.  Maintaining this straight line, curl your ankles to your butt as far as you can go.  Straighten your legs again, then lower your butt to the floor again.  Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Surviving the Office Lunch

In the world of business, lunch is not simply afternoon nourishment.  Dining out with a client can be the key to closing the deal and nabbing the next big account.  Breaking bread with your manager may help you win that primo assignment that puts your career on the fast track.  And chowing with co-workers at a local restaurant could be the key to helping you survive office politics.  Sound like a recipe for a potbelly?  It doesn't have to be.  With a little proactive planning, you can get through it.
  1. Always grab breakfast - Skipping your morning meal or mid-morning snack may seem like a way to offset extra calories at lunch, but in reality, it just leave you so hungry that you're bound to overeat once you get a plate of food in front of you.  Instead, opt for high-protein or high-fiber foods that will stick with you as long as possible.  Think things like eggs, peanut butter, oatmeal, and fresh berries.
  2. Strategize your meal - Ordering the "wrong" food at lunch is usually the result of being rushed and distracted.  It can be hard to concentrate on a menu when you're trying to conduct business.  The solution?  Before going to lunch with a client or your boss, check out the restaurant's offerings online and make some decisions before you go.  (If the menu isn't available online, most places will be happy to fax one over.)
  3. Start off with something bulky - Green salads or vegetable soups add bulk to your stomach, filling you up with a minimum of calories - and helping you eat less of your main entree' before you feel stuffed.
  4. Avoid liquid calories - Your brain has a harder time knowing how many calories you've taken in when you drink something compared to when you eat.  That means a zero-calorie cup of water is just the same to your gut as a cup of pure sugar water.  So stick with diet soda, unsweetened tea, and water.  Don't forget to skip the sugar and reach for a low-cal sweetener when it's time for that post-lunch cup of coffee.

The Bottom Line:  Remember, the office lunch may be all about business, but it's really nobody's business what you eat.  If you don't want a roll, just pass the bread basket along without comment.  Besides, if you stick to talking business, you'll wind up with plenty of bread in the end.

D. Milton Stokes, R.D. - Men's Fitness

It's Go Time!

You haven't failed until you quit trying!  One of the first mistakes people make when they fall short of their goal is to think, "That's it, I've blown it.  I'll never make this work.  Maybe I'm just destined to be a couch potato."

Don't believe it.  A one-time slip doesn't mean you're a failure.  It doesn't mean you're fated to be sedentary.  That's the all-or-nothing trap, and plenty of people with the best intentions have fallen into it.  People mistakenly think, "Either I stick to my plan and meet my goal, or I'm a failure."

The fact is, all-or-nothing thinking is taking the easy way out.  It's a fancy way of quitting.  Maybe you've missed a day or two of activity.  Maybe you've blown a whole week.  Maybe you've been sick, injured yourself, or run into some family trouble, and you've been out of commission for a month or more.  The important point is to understand it for what it is:  a lapse.  Sure you've fallen a step behind, but your hard work is not lost.  Remind yourself of all you've learned and how far you've come since you started.  With a little effort you can take two steps forward and keep up the progress you've been making.  One thing you don't want to do is give up!  Set new goals, avoid negative messages, and focus on your strengths.

Since the fall temperatures are not as hot as the summer, and not yet cold, it makes for a perfect time to engage in some good outdoor exercise before winter hits us again.  If you're like me, you have about 2 months left for walking, jogging, cycling, kayaking or other outdoor exercise before it gets too cold for comfort.  Personally, I typically take my workouts indoors around Halloween.  Many people have been promising themselves that NEXT summer they are going to be in better shape for beach and pool season.  This doesn't happen over night so stop making excuses to put it off and start TODAY!

For prior issues of this newsletter go to  

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"Mediocrity is within anyone's reach"

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