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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2010 issue 9



Exercising in the Heat

Exercising in the heat can endanger health and impede exercise performance. Hot and humid days pose a particular risk: when it’s humid, the ability to dissipate heat is minimized, which can ultimately lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The two most important things your clients can do to prepare themselves for their summer outdoor training sessions are hydrate and acclimatize.

Plenty of research has been done on how to overcome, or at least blunt, the effects of dehydration. Beginning the workout fully hydrated or even “hyperhydrating” (hydrating to a greater degree than normal) before a workout can delay dehydration during exercise, maintain exercise performance and decrease the risk for heat-related illnesses.

Pre-exercise fluid intake enhances the ability to control body temperature and increases plasma volume to maintain cardiac output. Your clients should drink enough fluids before exercising in the heat to begin every workout fully hydrated and should continue to drink during workouts longer than 1 hour. Since rehydrating while running or cycling necessitates carrying fluids, clients should plan some way of drinking during prolonged exercise in the heat. Given the growing popularity of fitness boot camps and of portable equipment that takes resistance training outside, making sure your clients rehydrate during these workouts is more important than ever.

A good indicator of clients’ hydration levels is urine color. You can educate your clients on how to monitor their hydration status. The lighter the urine color, the better the level of hydration, so tell your clients their urine should look like lemonade rather than apple juice.

Chronically exposing oneself to a hot and humid environment simulates adaptations that lessen the stress. Cardiovascular adaptations to exercising in the heat (e.g., decreased heart rate, increased plasma volume) are nearly complete within 3-6 days. Full acclimatization becomes complete after 2 weeks as the increased sweating response catches up to the other adaptations. To be fully acclimatized and prepared for prolonged continuous exercise, your clients should take 2 weeks to introduce themselves slowly to the heat.

Recommendations for Heat Acclimatization

  1. Attain adequate fitness in cool environments before attempting to acclimatize to the heat.
  2. Exercise at intensities > 50% VO2max, and gradually increase the duration (up to 90–100 minutes per day) and intensity of the workouts during the first 2 weeks.
  3. Perform highest-intensity workouts during the cooler morning or evening hours and other training during the hotter times of the day.
  4. Monitor body weight to ensure that proper hydration is maintained as sweat rate increases.

Other Strategies for Exercising in the Heat If you’re training clients or holding a boot camp outdoors in the summer, the best time to choose is the morning, when the temperature is lower. Not only is it cooler and thus safer, but your participants may also get a better workout. Research has shown that endurance exercise capacity in the heat is significantly greater in the morning than in the evening. If a client must train with you during the hotter part of the day, do the workout in the shade and recommend loose-fitting, moisture-wicking, light-colored exercise clothing that reflects the sunlight.

The next time your clients run in the heat or take part in a summer outdoor boot camp, make sure they follow these guidelines. If they take the necessary precautions, they will get more out of their workouts and greatly reduce the risk of heat illness

ref:  Jason Karp, PhD,

100% Vested

I drives me crazy when people make a big fuss about scheduling when they will be able to start working out again based upon getting a gym membership, or buying some type of equipment for use at home.  While these options can certainly enhance your workout experience, they should not be a reason why you can't be doing something RIGHT NOW!  I must know several dozens of pushup variations that you could do with absolutely no equipment.  The same goes for other upper body, as well as abdominal and lower body exercises.

Although motivation plays a HUGE factor in getting into a workout routine you can stick with, and gyms and equipment can certainly be a motivating factor... the first real complaint that I hear when I talk about bodyweight training is about the muscle stress and challenge being insufficient for real gains.  Seriously?  I've seen some serious studs that can put up some high iron numbers on the bar, cry about doing chin-ups.  If you look around, you will find a chin-up bar at your club or gym... and it's usually empty while there are lines at the lat machine.  Why?  Because chin-ups, pull-ups, and related variations on that little bar are FRIGGIN HARD!

Have you ever tried to do a set of 1 legged bodyweight squats?  Go ahead and tell me that they are easy.  Step-ups, piked presses, split squats, lunges, dips, all of these exercises can be a challenge if performed with good form and a sufficient number of repetitions.  BUT... if you are that much of an animal, and want an easy way to kick it up a notch, throw on a weighted vest. 

I have a 20 lb vest and I'm getting ready to pick up a 40 lb one.  They typically fit close to the body, allowing your arms and legs to be free, rather than holding a set of dumbbells, a bar, sandbag, medicine ball, whatever.  With your arms and legs free, this allows you to add resistance to any number of bodyweight exercises that you may want to eat for breakfast.  This is an especially good option if you want to exercise at home but don't have a lot of room for equipment.


Partner Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Partner Clean

This partner exercise is meant to replicate the explosive total body power of the Olympic cleans.  It's important to focus on the lower body force generation rather than trying to lift with the arms.  This combination exercise involves multiple large muscle groups which will burn mega-calories in addition to improving athletic performance and power generation.


Target:  legs, hips, shoulders, back (quadriceps, gluteals, deltoids, erector spinae)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Start in a cross-body lift by underhooking your arm on one side and coming between the legs on the other side before lifting off the ground.  Squat your partner down to your knees before exploding up and lifting your partner up as high as you can.  Immediately drop down and explode up again for the desired number of repetitions.

Working Inside Out

by Carolanne Leone

Many of you, by now, are familiar with the word “core” and the concept of  “core stability.”  But, the terminology is often referred to only the lumbar spine and abdomen.  In this concept, the deepest muscles of the abdomen called the transverse abdominus, and the muscles deep to the low back called the multifidus, are certainly targeted to balance and strength and stability of the spine.  With these areas in check, the average exerciser is preventing pain or injury to the spine during activity.  In addition, all movements can be performed efficiently since they can be initiated from the “core.”

More recent research demonstrates that this concept of stability can also be applied to all joints and girdles in the body. In the spine, the deep muscles, like the transverse abdominus, have been named, “local muscles,” and they include all of the small, deep muscles that generally only cross one joint.  They control and stabilize that joint---think of them as the glue that holds them together.  The larger more superficial muscles, like the rectus abdominus, have been named “global muscles” and they often cross more than one joint producing movement through long-lever arms---think of them as the big, dumb muscles that pull us around.

When this concept is applied to the other joints of the body, the muscles are classified as either “stabilizers” or “mobilizers.”  Stabilizer muscles contract first to provide a stable base from which the mobilizer muscles can produce motion.  There needs to be a significant contraction of the stabilizer muscle to balance the mobilizer strength. Basically, these two forces are a couple that need to stay in check!

The typical fitness workout does a great job of strengthening the mobilizer muscles on the outside of the body, but does not guarantee the same benefits to the stabilizer muscles on the inside of the body.  The mobilizer muscles are the superficial muscles that we see and feel most; so we only emphasize them.  Exercises like lat pull downs, hamstring curls, leg extensions, and lateral raises focuses on these mobilizer muscles.  Often, it is when the stabilizer muscles and mobilizer muscles get out of balance that one will experience pain and injury.  So, it is extremely important that as one builds strength, and even flexibility, the delicate balance between groups of muscles is maintained. 

How are you ensured that the local and stabilizer muscles are gaining strength at the same rate as the mobilizer and global muscles?  Performing whole-body exercises in perfect alignment is one sure way to prevent an imbalance from occurring.  When movement is controlled and alignment is maintained, balance comes naturally.  For example, when you perform hip extension with good alignment of the pelvis, you gain strength of the gluteus maximus, but you also gain strength of the local abdominal muscles  that keep the lumbar spine from going into extension from the stretch on the hip flexors.  You gain length of the hip flexors, too.  This builds not only strength and flexibility, but a good relationship between the muscles around the low back and the hip. 

Pilates exercise is based on this concept of balance—each exercise performed in good alignment will build healthy relationships between muscles.  Think of them as an orchestra where all of the instruments play to create the music.  There is not a focus on just one muscle, but more of a focus on the alignment of the body during the exercise. This concept is invaluable to anyone involved in exercise or sport because they can apply the same concept to any activity in which they choose to engage and reap benefits.

In addition to being a good friend of mine, Carolanne Leone is owner of "The Studio" in Wilmington, Delaware.  The Studio specializes in Pilates, personal training, dance and choreography.  Through the art of movement, Carolanne has trained world -ranked figure skaters, international dancers, and professional athletes. 

The Studio

2000 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, DE


It's Go Time!

That's right, it's September already.  Where did the summer go?  Back to school, back to work, back to routine... What are you getting back to?  How about back to the gym, back to smart eating, and back to healthy stuff in general?  Hey, I'll be the first to admit that my diet could have been better this summer... but I did try to offset it with my exercise regime as best I could.  Work hard, play hard... that's what it's all about!

In reality, you're going to have temptations around at any time during the year... certainly some times more than others.  How you deal with the temptations are another story and having the mental toughness to make the good decisions consistently is what will make the difference in your progress.  Unfortunately, mental toughness is not something easily taught.  The desire has to come from within and the persistence to stick to your guns when it would be much easier not to does not come easy.  In the end, it's up to YOU to decide between good and evil : )

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out if they've got a second." - William James

youtube of the month --> Weighted Vest Workout
Not a bad example of some bodyweight exercises that can be enhanced with the use of a weighted vest. | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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