Why the Warm-Up?

Why do we have you warm-up?

You walk into AMP, put your things down, grab a foam roller, a spot on the turf and begin the designated warmups that are listed on the wall. Have you ever asked yourself why? Other than because your trainer said to. Lets explore the reasons why your AMP trainer wants and requires you to perform your warm-up exercises.
Warm-ups are an integral part of your workout and are named for their purpose. These exercises are carefully selected to warm yourself up physically and mentally for the session to follow. How exactly does it prepare you physically? As you perform each exercise you are increasing not only your range of motion, but your circulation, body temperature and heart rate too.  Through the movements and duration of your warmup you are gradually allowing your ligaments, tendons, and muscles to loosen and become more flexible. You wouldn’t think that would be imperative, we move all day. However, a main focus of ours at AMP is moving properly. Our lives have us shutting off important major muscles and groups of muscles just from sitting all day. So even though we move, we may not be moving in the way our bodies are intended to. Performing our warmup exercises takes your body through full ranges of motion and wakes up muscles that may not have been engaged all day. Certain exercises are included particularly to correct the movements and structural issues caused by these inactive muscles. The weather lately has been beyond freezing, literally. Think of your car, you give it time to run before hitting the highways. It’s not in the best interest of the cars health or performance if you set out with all the gears and belts cold. The same is true of your body. Especially in the cold weather, it is essential for your body to warm up properly before engaging in more intense movements in a challenging workout.
Did you ever think that the warmup before the workout is beneficial for you mentally? We hear our clients constantly voice how the workout is their ‘me time’ and it’s true. It is your time to focus and connect with your body. If there is something on your mind, stressing you out, or even if it feels as though the world is on your shoulders. When you come to workout, you have the ability to check all of that at the door and focus on you and working your body. Of course, it is nearly impossible for you to immediately walk through the door and leave everything behind. This is where the warmup comes into play. As your body begins working, your mind can start to tune the world out. Focusing on moving through each assigned exercise and preparing your body will help you to shut out the stress of the day. When performing your warmups focus on each exercise, each rep. Perform every one with a purpose, not just to go through the motions. This preparation will carry over into your workout, helping you to focus at the task at hand instead of anything and everything else. Another mental benefit of warming up is that you can go through major movements that may be included in you workout thus preparing your mind for more strenuous activities in which weight may be involved. Imagine going into a goblet, front or back squat without performing the squat mobility first. Your first reps would be rough and very hard to perform. Warming up prepares your mind for the movements at a more intense level. “Mind over matter” is a popular quote for a reason. If your mind is prepared for the task at hand you will accomplish a great deal more.
Now that body and mind are connected via your warmup, how can you benefit even further? By arriving 5-10 minutes before your scheduled session and beginning your warmup. We have seen great results from our clients who make a habit of this routine. If you have to rush through a warmup to make the most of your session how efficient will your warmup now become? Not only does arriving early give you plenty of time to warmup at your own pace, but it also allows you to get the most out of your session. By not taking time out of your allotted half hour or hour session to perform your warmup you can get that much more time with your trainer.
So why not try making it a goal this next week to not only perform your warmup proficiently, focused and beforehand and notice the benefits it brings to your session with us at AMP.

One Thing

When we start our pursuit towards a new goal, we often think about EVERYTHING we need to do in order to get there.  What happens as a result of trying to do everything all at once is that nothing gets done.

So let’s simplify.

What is the one thing that you need to focus on right now?  What one thing is going to create the biggest change for you?

Here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to identify what you goal is, no matter if its fitness related, health related, work related, or just life related.  Then work backwards.

What steps do you need to take in order to get from where you are now, to where you want to be?

Make a list of what needs to get done.  And then ONE at a time, check them off as you accomplish them.  But only focus on one thing till it’s done and till its routine.  Say for example, you want to run a marathon. You’re not going to start day 1 at running 26.2 miles.  That would be foolish.  So what you do is make a plan of how to gradually build up to that end goal.

It may look a little like, Day 1 walk/run a mile, and each day/week you build and build.

Buckle down and identify the most pressing MUST-DO’s, and then develop a strategy and action-steps around that.  Maybe you even have to determine what you need to eliminate in your life to help further focus your efforts.  Sometimes eliminating a negative is just as powerful and necessary as adding a positive.
So what is it?  How are you going to improve?  What are you aiming to improve?
Is it in your nutrition?
Is it in your day to day life?
Is it in your relationships?
What “ONE THING” do you NEED to focus on that will best help get you to where you want to go? Identify that and then go DO IT!
In the end it’s up to you to take action on the one thing that you NEED to get to where you want to go.  Are you ready to take action?

Is it your fitness?

Is it in your nutrition?
Is it in your day to day life?
Is it in your relationships?

What “ONE THING” do you NEED to focus on that will best help get you to where you want to go? Identify that and then go DO IT!

In the end it’s up to you to take action on the one thing that you NEED to get to where you want to go.  Are you ready to take action?

Maximize Your Sleep

Think of the best night of sleep you’ve had. You wake up feeling renewed, refreshed and as though you could take on the world, right? That feeling is what you should have every morning. Not just because it feels good emotionally, that good mood is reflective of how your body has recovered through your sleep cycle. Now think of a restless night of sleep, the aches, the tension, that resistance to get out of bed, the groggy feeling that most likely carried through the rest of your day. The same thing holds true in this case as well. It’s an emotional manifestation of how your body has healed overnight.

    Why does sleep have such an affect on us? Is it really that important? How can we maximize our recovery while unconscious?
    Sleep allows our body to repair all the ‘wear and tear’ we experience throughout the day.  When our body is finally at rest the healing process can begin. Our tissues are able to regenerate and our brain can process and learn from our days experience. Without giving ourselves the proper time needed for these things to occur, we most definitely feel the affects of it the following day. Imagine if your body were battery operated. When a battery isn’t charged completely it cannot carry out its full potential. Our bodies react the same way. Sleep is how we ‘charge’ our body. Without the proper amount of sleep we will be unable to perform to our full potential. 
     So how can we maximize our sleep? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26-64 get 7 hours of sleep.

That amount will either seem appropriate, excessive or no where near what you could possibly ever sleep, depending on what you can afford to sleep and are used to. For those who find themselves shy of this recommended amount, which seems to be the majority of adults, we will highlight a few points that will allows us to get the most out of our sleep. This does not necessarily mean we need to sleep more. In today’s society it can be hard to find time, especially time for sleep when our lives are so tightly scheduled. Here’s some tips that will help you to sleep soundly no matter the time you can allot for it. 
•Electronics: Did you know the waves that electronics devices emit can interact with your brain waves and cause your sleep to be disrupted? Try to keep all electronic devices turned off and at least three feet away from you while sleeping. Even television before bed cause restless sleep. When preparing for bed, turn the television off 30 mins prior to bedtime. As we watch television our brain activity accelerates and our neurons start to race. When you shut off electrical devices 30 prior to sleep, you allow your brain to calm down and prepare for sleep. 
•Caffeine: A cup of coffee or tea sounds like a great way to relax at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this could be the exact reason you can’t seem to relax. The general rule of thumb is to switch to decaf after diner. However, even then the lingering caffeine in your system from hours before can cause problems when it comes to sleeping. If you have to have that cup of coffee or tea, try switching to decaf after lunch.
•Exercise: Exercising regularly is a known contributing factor to a good night of rest. The one thing we do want to think about it the timing of our workout. After vigorous exercise you want to allow 3-4 hours before going to sleep. It will take that long for your body to settle and calm down enough to allow proper sleep

February Goals

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made.  They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi

Because of yesterdays Super Bowl, it felt appropriate to use a Vince Lombardi quote.  Leaders are made. They are made by the situations they are thrust into, for the decisions they have to make in crunch time.

Are you willing to put in effort?  Reaching your goals isn’t going to come easy.  Sometimes you need to ask yourself “How much effort am I putting into my goals?”  Is it enough?  Maybe you need a little help getting there.

At the beginning of the month we set a January behavior goal.  Remember?  How’d you do?  Well now its February and its time to set a new goal.  Go ahead and write it down!

Here are a few tips that could help you get there:

1. There is no one diet that is the best or will work the best for everyone.
Everyone is different and their body chemistry is different.  Use your own body as your guide and let your results tell you whether or not you’re doing what’s best for you. Always pay attention to what your body tells you, NOT what somebody else is doing.
2. The best way to measure your fat loss is by using a mirror!
The scale is just a number.  Seriously if the scale is your #1 concern, move to the moon, the effects of gravity are different.  How you look and feel is always more important than numbers.  Body measurements and taking pictures are also a good way to track progress, but if you look good then you look good and it doesn’t matter what the scale says.
3. Omega 3’s are your friend.
Salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts and fish oil are a good part of your daily meal plans. The difference with and without them is incredible!
4. You can’t out exercise bad nutrition.
How many times have you heard this? Your workouts are 20-30% of the fat loss equation and nutrition is 70-80%. If you’re exercising regularly and not seeing fat loss results, you must make an adjustment to your nutrition.
5. Cheat days or an off day here and there are a good addition to the fat loss equation.
Remember, it’s not about being perfect all the time.  Following a guideline of 80-90% healthy eating is a good start.
6.  Stop eating processed crap.  Stick with the basics. 
Fill your day with natural proteins, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and healthy fats. 
7. Fat loss is not only about what you eat and how you train but also about the thoughts you have each day.
Positive thoughts breed positive behavior and positive results. The same is true for negative thoughts and attitudes.  I’ve always said this.  Stay positive, no matter what.  You reap what you sow.   
8. Working out is not just about the exercises you do at the gym.
Get outside and exercise.  Its cold now, but there are lots of things to do.  Snowboarding, ice skating.  Find something you enjoy and get out there and do it.  Even just every day activities of walking is a good addition.  Just move.
9.  Find some sort of social support system.  A friend or a group of friends with a common goal will almost always succeed. 
Telling someone, or going on the health journey with someone holds you accountable to them.  Accountability is key.  Exercising with a friend is even better as you have someone that will push you more than you would push yourself.  I see this when I train people together in pairs or groups.  There starts to be a mini competition.  
Enjoy these tips. Hopefully you will use at least some of them.

Does Your Weight Fluctuate?

Every so often, you get the urge to hop on the scale and see where you’re at, wondering where your relationship with gravity lies.  Maybe its up, maybe its down.  Who knows how gravity is going to affect you today. Quick physics lesson- The pull of gravity is different at different latitudes, so if you want to weigh a little less, move closer to the equator, or weight a little more go towards the poles.
9 times out of 10 I’d be willing to bet that your mood the rest of the day is going to be a result of what that scale tells you.  The problem is, it doesn’t tell you the full story of what’s going on in your body.
Before we get to what’s going on in your body, lets first take a look at what makes up your scale weight?

  • Muscle
  • Bone
  • Waste
  • Fat
  • Glycogen Storage
  • Water

and let’s take a look at what it’s not measuring 

  • Sleep Quality
  • Stress
  • Health
  • Strength

Still think it’s a good way to measure your progress?  Those are some variables that’ll play with the number on the scale.  Yea, to a degree it can show you if you’re trending towards your goals, but the mirror, pictures, how you feel and how your clothes fit are better indicators of success and progress.

Weight is going to fluctuate.  It’s just how the body works.  It’s going to change depending on what time of day it is, what you ate, what you drank, what you wear, what the weather is among many other reasons.  

Here’s a little run down of how much your weight could fluctuate in a day.
from Dr. Melina Jampolis, who wrote The No-Time-To-Lose Diet:

For every 16 oz of fluid you consumed, that’s an immediate gain of
1 pound

Need to poop?  Being backed up can cause a weight retention of as much as
2 pounds

Air pressure changes in flights that take 4 hours or longer will actually increase fluid retention typically to the tune of
2 to 3 pounds

Have a high sodium dinner and you’ll likely find yourself waking up heavier by
2 to 3 pounds (Maybe more)

That time of a month?
Hormone fluctuations for up to a week leading into your period, or for the guys truly connected to their wife’s pregnancy, expect a water weight gain of up to
5 pounds

So, if you’re a thirsty, constipated, frequent flier, with a penchant for pizza and heading to that time of month, expect a quick shift in the scale of up to:
19 pounds !!

What if you worked out?  Doing any sort of strength training is going to lead to some water gain, not necessarily water retention associated with bloating, but water gain within muscle cells. Sometimes that water retention can last for 4-52 hours.

That’s some intense weight gain right there!  Not necessarily fat gain and most likely completely temporary. But the stress and freak out over the tiniest increment will still happen without a thought as to why it might have happened. 

So don’t freak out over every little half pound or pound(s) gain or loss.  If you’re doing your work, which means eating well, exercising, and adding in daily movement, then you should have nothing to worry about. 

Remember its not about weight loss.  It’s about changing your body composition and about fat loss.