ECM Blog

A simple blog about health, fitness, and personal training.

Should you be choosing exercises for yourself or anybody else?

Post originally appeared on the MAX Fitness College Site

After being in the fitness profession for 30+ years there are a few things that I have become certain of. Firstly, common sense is not common. Secondly and sadly, many folks do not think for themselves, they follow along blindly to what the crowd is doing without thinking or
asking WHY? Thirdly, if you mix a little bit of science with a lot of, “Cow Poo” you come up with something that most followers will believe and follow.

In a time when everyone wants to sell you their latest training “toy”, philosophy, opinion or idea for weight loss and health, it is vital, as a Fitness Professional, to develop and maintain a deep knowledge and understanding of applied functional anatomy and physiology. If you don’t, you will, like most, be lead down the “Not think for yourself path” based on other people’s, mostly unsubstantiated training opinions, ideas, methods and motives.

As a Fitness Professional, you will know that one of the most important components of weight loss, metabolism speed and overall health and well-being is strength training-getting stronger from lifting heavy things. The Tufts university lists the top 10 biomarkers for ageing. Loss of muscle and a loss of strength being the two at the top of the list-we get old because we lose muscle and get weak! So you must be prescribing strength exercise if you don’t want your clients to get old, weak or lose muscle (have a slow metabolism). If you are picking exercise for yourself, you must be doing exercises that make you stronger-so you stay young, have a fast metabolism and burn fat faster.

So how do you select strength exercises wisely?
The overall purpose of any strength training exercise is to GET STRONGER!! The scientific explanation… Maximise the load and force applied on the muscles to stimulate the super-compensation process, to develop strength, while minimising the force and stress applied on the joints, to protect and maintain the functional integrity and stability of the joint and articulating surfaces.

Here is an “Exercise Effectiveness and Safety
Evaluation System” to put any new training method, machine, “toy” or exercise through, to decide if it has scientific, anatomical, physiological and biomechanical merit and most of all common sense and reasoning.
This system will ensure that you, as a Fitness
Professional do not get lead down the wrong crowded path based on the deceptive marketing, uneducated opinions and the wrong peer group pressure.

Before you decide on the effectiveness of any new or old exercise, ask the 4 following questions...
1. Is it Safe?
2. Is it Functional?
3. What is the Benefit?
4. Is this the best exercise/Is there a better exercise?

Do not answer these questions from your past
experience, your personal opinion or an emotional point of view, particularly if you are already doing or promoting the exercise and believe in it. Only answer them from an anatomical, physiological and biomechanical point of view. If you have forgotten your anatomy, physiology and biomechanics that you should have learnt in depth, in your initial certification course, then best you go back to the books, classroom, school, university AND until you do learn, know and understand functional anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, STOP calling yourself a certified Fitness Professional or Personal Trainer, because you are not!! Do you think a great mechanic knows and understands the parts and functions of the car engine? YES!! If they did not, you would not be so silly to take your car to them to service and fix it.

Be the Fitness Professional who is
respected for your in depth knowledge, not just a pretty body!!

Fish as a Superfood

Fish as a Super Food

When you replace high-fat red meats with baked, grilled, or broiled fish at least twice a week, you do your heart — and the rest of your body — a healthy favor. There are so many reasons to enjoy fish in your superfoods diet that we encourage you to eat at least 12 ounces of low-mercury superfood fish each week. If fish isn’t your thing, or if you’re worried about being
exposed to mercury, never fear: Taking omega-3 fatty acids as dietary supplements (2,500 milligrams of fish oil) is also acceptable.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Superfood fish offer many advantages, including high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids (also known as linolenic acid) are one type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (polyunsaturated refers to the chemical structure — it means there is more than one double bond in the fatty acid molecule). Fish and seafood are rich in a form of linolenic acid that’s made up of two different fatty
acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

There’s another type of polyunsaturated fatty acid called omega-6 fatty acid,found mainly in vegetable oils (like corn oil and safflower oil). Both omega-3 and omega-6 are considered essential because you have to get them from
your diet; your body can’t manufacture them.
Even though most people know that both of these fats are important, many experts agree that few people eat these two fats in the proper balance. Generally, most people eat too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. This imbalance of fatty acids leads to your body being in a pro-inflammatory state, whereby your body is more prone to develop inflammation that can lead to chronic disease and pain.

The average person’s diet has a 15 to 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 — or worse. No one knows what the optimal ratio should be, but many experts think it should be closer to 4 to 1 — that is, no more than 4 times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in some plant foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, soy, canola oil, and walnuts, but the best source of these fats is fish and seafood.Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation, but they do so much more. They’re particularly important for brain development and cognitive function, plus
they may be important for eye health. Omega-3 fats also protect your heart by keeping your blood vessels healthy, lowering your cholesterol, and, in some cases, regulating the rhythm of your heartbeats.