Northern Suburbs Personal trainer

Winter time is building time

Time to ramp up your training

Winter is finally here so expect the darkness, chilling wind, the footie and the rain to keep us company for the next few months. I reckon now it’s probably great time to change your training around, keep motivated and achieve those results that you’re after. That’s right! Rug up it time to put in the long yards and get some serious base training in!

In my opinion this is the best time to work out so don’t let a little coolness hold you back. Take advantage unlike the others who drop off and get working. The alternative is to stay indoors, grab some chips, chocolate and catch up on all those programs you have been missing out on, but I know that this is not you.

Here’s my cheeky yet honest opinion on what you can do to keep you focused and motivated over the winter months.

Build your strength base

For the experienced strength trainer it’s time to load up that squat rack and start placing more weight plates on your deadlift my friend. Yep for the weight lifting crowd it means cover up and starts working on those honest compound lifts. Winter is great for now getting into some pure and serious strength training in while following a simple yet challenging 5×5 or 5×3 program in building up your limiting strength or pack on some more muscle. No more of the 2 hour, high rep 6 exercise routine. Bring it back to the basics and lifts. Just make sure your lifting goals are clear and you are injury free. Now is the time to put in and go hard.

For the more recreational trainer it’s a great time to get in some consistent training in and work on getting in a full body program over the training week. Include some cardio and don’t neglect your stretches. After 6-8 month of solid training expect to be heavier and slightly more muscular. Enjoy, Hang in there and don’t be a fair weather trainer.

As for my female readers it shouldn’t be too different for you with this approach. It’s just a matter of keeping the food in control and eat enough to fuel your workout. It’s about being lean, fit and healthy. No skinny at any cost. You won’t put on size if you lift weight.

Your fitness engine

The cooler months are much kinder to anything cardio related. I’d rather be properly attired with my running clothing than run out in the summer’s heat. The body takes a greater toll when one is exerting themselves in the hotter months so I would only recommend you minimize the hard running and focus on events during this time. (As you have already put in the hard runs) As for winter it’s great to be able to push the body without blowing up and with a smart program you can recover quicker and constantly push the pace in building your cardio engine. Running/cycling in winter is also easier when monitoring the body’s own temperature as you can layer up and remove items as you move along. Get out and embrace the cool. Do some research and invest in some proper winter clothing. You won’t look back! Tip: Find a training buddy and hit the cardio machines or get out and about. You can both keep each other accountable.

Work on weaknesses

Hips lacking power? Need to build up the shoulders or need core strength? Yep you guessed it. It’s time to focus on those imbalances and areas of opportunity now. You have 4-6 month of cool weather to work on weaknesses and before you know it you are a better version of the one that decided to focus in on those particular areas. Time to give those stubborn body parts attention, target your lack of any cardio, finally get some flexibility in or simply improving any lacking technique. It a great opportunity to work on those key parts of you goals and get it sorted out.  Imagine getting to spring feeling ready to go and knowing you have put in the work and improved previous areas of concern.

Work on food quality

What a perfect time to start working on your food. Don’t give me the” I’m not motivated and hand me my comfort food here” or “I’m too tired” rubbish. You simply cannot neglect such an important part of you strength, fitness and health goals. It’s all about the food. You cannot bust out a solid workout and expect results by feeding yourself junk. In this day and age there is an abundance of information out there that can help you out and provide you with the basic understanding of how to go about eating healthy and clean. Get the basics right from the start and then maybe when you are eating well and you are getting in the quality nutrients, then maybe you could invest and think about reaching for the Protein powder, Creatine, or any other supplement you think you may need. Most of the time if you already have a sound established nutritious eating habit you don’t need it. Honestly your nutrition usually requires a little tweaking so be honest and clean it up. Think quality first.

For the weight loss crowd

For those who simply want to lose the weight now is the time to put in the work and get educated about how to shift the kilos. No secret here, it’s a matter of incorporating a nutrient quality approach and take it from there. The fad diet, totally omitting a food group or I’m doing my own thing doesn’t work nor does the “its comfort food season” mindset and “you gotta live” excuses. This approach will only set you back further. If you don’t bother now don’t question why you are still overweight in spring. I see it all the time with people. It’s always about food and sedentary lifestyle choices. You have 4-6 month now before the fair weather arrives so you have a choice now. Do something about it or wait until spring to once again procrastinate whether you are going to diet again.

It’s about education and being consistent with your overall habits. Not the short term quick results approach. It’s not easy, but it ever so worth it.

A positive mindset

This is everything when it comes to reaching your goals. Most often with people they are highly motivated at the moment, however this changes when the reality of turning up mid-June in the dark and have to put in the work. Better to stay at home warm in front of the telly…..yeah? A positive mindset will not only motivate you to work out but will go a long way in helping you to fix up other lacking areas (your Health) and soon enough with a consistent few months, you’ll be eating better, getting stronger, be fitter and you will most likely start reaching your goals on the scale. An ordinary attitude doesn’t not help you nor does it endear you to fellow class participants so please understand that your mindset is important.

most importantly , stay positive, commit and take advantage of the cooler months.

Rug up enjoy!

Claudefit is a Mill Park Based Personal Trainer with 10 year experience directly in the fitness industry in addition to his own.

Exercise for the newbies over 40

Exercise for the over 40’s

I’ve recently had the pleasure of being contacted by a journalist who had been looking at presenting as part of a pull out section of a health and fitness Sunday newspaper publication. (the herald sun)

The reason I was called was due to my age (48) and opinions on how partaking in an exercise program over 40 year would fare. I liked the idea that the audience targeted was going to be those new to exercise at this age. In addition I was kind of happy that it would not be about my own story on personal training, I’m sure there are plenty of those around already so helping people who are new to fitness is a privilege.

The following is really the basis of the initial conversation and I though it would be interesting to note what some of the question they were looking at in projecting to their readership.

My responses where pretty much my thoughts based on my own experiences in life and working as a fitness professional.

What are the main physical changes after 40 that will influence your fitness routine? How does the body behave differently from when it was, say, 30-something?

  • The biggest difference when we get to the magical age of 40 is the recovery time and the longer time the body takes to heal from any small niggles. For anyone who has already a solid base of exercise from a younger age it would just be a matter of adjusting the workload and intensity of any activities. A more cautious approach is recommended for those newbies who are looking at participating in any activity post 40. Another change is a lack of proper movement, that is you are hurting performing the most minor of moves like a squat while playing with the kids. Once you are able to move better then you can work with greater loading.

What are the areas of caution and issues to watch out for at this stage in your fitness life?

  • The major one here would be injuries and how they will affect you. Given that you are now in your 40’s it’s fair to say that you have a family, working life and your time is limited for exercise. Adding a rehabilitation process to this just makes it more difficult. Make sure that you are training with a sound program and you are familiar with the technical requirements. The no pain/no gain approach does not apply. It should be more like slowly but surely.

What are the types of exercise best suited at this life stage, or is it the same as ever – choose what suits you best personally?

  • Whether you are a beginner of have some background in exercise the major moves are still effective and should not be neglected, movements like the Squat, deadlift , shoulder press, a rowing movement, pressing movement , and core should be the pillars in any sound program. Adding the many cardio movement like cycling, running, swimming and team activities places you well with regards to your time exercising. Basic is good folks.

I’ve found that once I educate my clients on proper technique and they are able to execute the movement pain free, then it’s just a matter of            following the process and using the required approach depending on the personality types. People respond well when they feel confident in what they are doing and results soon follow. Nothings better that seeing results to motivate us.

What do you find are the most frequent obstacles to motivation among clients you see in this age group?

  • I’m too old for this and I have an injury

Once these two reasons enter their minds it’s quite difficult to break this thinking. These two come up usually early on when working with client or when they are not simply feeling well. Over time with a little more experience and working around any (real) injuries people soon realise that they can still work towards their goals and put aside any anxieties and find that motivation to keep going.

Is this a time in your life when you can still actually achieve personal bests, achieve new goals and continue to expand your fitness?

  • Absolutely! I have a female client who I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She is 60 years young and has beaten her marathon personal best and shorter “parkrun” 5klm weekend runs. She came to me with a solid running background and realised that she needed a stronger body. Others have been my two dads who want to run their first 5 klm event and even give the Spartan race a go. The rest simply want to be able to start running pain free. It’s all achievable if you want it to be.

Women/men issues – anything specific for either sex to focus on (bone strength and resistance with women?)

  • The benefits of exercise a many with the obvious been that you actually move better and feel better .The aesthetics that we often chase should be a by-product of a well-balanced program supported by a sensible nutritional approach. It all comes down to balance. Once you take this approach you will get that lean and appealing look and for the ladies you will still look feminine. You will find that by simply dropping those kilograms you will have more energy and feel better and be able to push yourself properly and achieve other results. Both men and women in general will greatly benefit from an active and healthy lifestyle. An all over strong body and mind should be your goal.

From your own experience again, do you have a healthy client base in this age group? Are greater numbers of people now open to staying fit and active in this age group than before? We are younger than we used to be over 40 with 40 being the new 30, 50 being the new 40, and all of that!

  • I would say that 70% of my client base fits in with this category with most of them coming to see me for an all over program that involves fitness and strength as a priority. Funny enough “weight loss” is not the sole reason. This is great from a service delivery point of view as from the very beginning I can focus on a more complete program that just coming in to lose the weight. These clients are now at an age where a more complete program is required, expectations a high, are time poor and need an experienced and professional instruction in guiding their goals.
  • Being 48 it’s a little easier to get my message across to my fellow post 40 clients.

A final comment

Physical activity is valuable for all and for some has now become a necessity. For us older folk (like me), where maintenance of good health, independence, and certain age/lifestyle factor related disease prevention can be achieved with only a dose of Fitness and Strength. It’s time to take action and do something about it.

As we are now over 40 we should all do some form of physical activity, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You have to make an effort. It’s never too late to start becoming physically active. Let’s get you started in helping you out with enjoying the benefits of having more energy, reducing pain in movement and other age related matters we have to deal with that are slowing you down. It’s now time to act.

Claudefit personal training has been a personal trainer for 10 years and has own personal training background since 1988.

Your weight loss checklist in reaching your goals. (Part 2)

Consumption of low to moderate GI foods

When it comes to carbohydrates the importance of this nutrient is the fact that it is the one that will mainly provide you with the energy that you need to get by your day. Unfortunately this is the one that is mostly misunderstood and people are under the impression that to eliminate all carbs or take on an extreme low carb diet is a sure way in getting to drop the bodyweight down. To simply eliminate carbs is to basically stave yourself into being skinny while still holding fat deposits ! Need proof? Just look at any major gossip/fashion type magazine and check out the so called skinny people. Or more to the point – staved. The significance of a low GI loading to carbohydrate refers to the release of steady energy over the day as opposed to a fast release that ultimately leaves you feeling unsatisfied and as a result, you eat again and ultimately increase you calorie intake.

Eat complex carbohydrates and reduce refined sugars

Closely connected to the item above the consumption of complex carbohydrates should be a major component to any health and weight management goals. After all the good carbs are an excellent source of energy and if you consume the right ones and get in the quality ones you will feel better and have the energy to carry you over the day. Foods like rice (brown) pasta, noddles, and wholemeal breads the current superfood Quiona, sweet potatoes are the staple ones that are easily available to anyone who is familiar with a supermarket.  If you are the type to not consume carbohydrates after 6pm you need help. Getting in the “complex”quality into you system is the key to long term health and to have sustained energy.

When it comes to refined sugar, the quantity  contained in most soft drinks reigns supreme. Not sure what’s worse. Fanta or Coca cola when it comes to the sugar content, It doesn’t matter, avoid both. If you are not happy then I would suggest you at least give the diet option a go. The hidden sugar within the carbohydrate in some food stuff is the item that has been the reason people are now increasing their waistlines. Take the good ol 3% fat free muffing. Don’t worry about it being only 3% fat, or the fact that it has over 600 calories! (sarcasm) But if you could work out the sugar content you will not be disappointed should you be looking at a high mark!  This is where the natural sugar in fruit is a better option. Yes it’s still energy however the nutrient quality is where it trumps the refined sugar and in addition doesn’t mess with the insulin release that ultimately contributes to weight gain. Get some fruit, veggies and complex carbohydrates and  avoid over consumption and reduce you sugar intake.

Eating slowly to encourage maximum digestion

How many times in the past have you were told to slow down, chew and enjoy your food.  It takes the body approximately 15-20 minutes or so for the food to travel down to the stomach and start the process of making you feel full. Don’t disadvantage this by using this time to throw down the food as quick as possible and them find yourself clearly over stuffing  (AKA gorging) what would otherwise be an enjoyable meal. If you have taken the time to plan and properly prepare you meal, why would you not want to enjoy it?  Unfortunately I see this food frenzy mentality at most food courts and sadly at some family restaurant. People, please slow down it’s not a race. Enjoy the pleasures of eating. A good tip is to stop eating when you are at least 80% full. I dare you.

Choosing low fat products and methods of cooking

This one’s an oldie but a goodie. In choosing low fat products be aware that fat, that is good fats are well….. good for you, so don’t go all the way and try for the zero fat approach. You won’t get far and as for your overall health not really a good idea. Instead become familiar with the types of fats you need to  consumed and eliminate the heaviness that trans fats offer (bad ones ) while incorporation and enjoying good fats like Avocados, Nuts, flax seed oil , olive oil, fish oil supplements, egg yolks that should be all consumed for optimal nutritional value. As for the methods of cooking. Let’s get it back to basic and say that deep frying or frying in any case is not the preferred option.

Depending on the food type. Try to boiling, Steaming and even oven bake you food for cleaner and healthier results.

Avoiding or limiting alcohol intake

This one’s always intrigues me when I discuss it with clients. What I’m finding here is that people most likely will under estimate their alcohol consumption. It’s just the way it is. I have never had someone tell me early in our training sessions what they actually drink. “Just a few during the week I think” its only after we do a food diary that the true amount becomes clear. In fact unless I write it down myself id probably be guessing as well. Now I’m not suggesting that one doesn’t drink at all. After all there are social occasions that go hand in hand with having a drink, the quiet one at home after work or simply out with mates. What I’m suggesting is to take a more direct approach and weigh up the benefits of elimination or at least reducing your overall alcohol consumption. Not only is alcohol more energy dense as it has more calories per gram them both protein and carbohydrates. (Only fat is more energy dense) In addition the promotion of greater fat storage is increased due to the body’s inability to process foods while under the influence. It basically utilises all its processes in getting rid of the alcohol before it taps into the foods energy source.

In a nutshell the kebab after a few beers is one way the set you back the whole week. And that’s with only one meal.

Focusing on a healthy habit not diet

This is what it really comes down to.

The most basic way to see it is to consume adequate quantities in calories, ensure they are quality and make sure the calorie ratio is well balanced. The emphasis should not be on just focusing or increasing one food group. It should be about an overall long term strategy that is simply part of your lifestyle. Getting in the quality into you system will make you feel better as you are sufficiently getting in the vitamins, minerals in eating “clean foods” while maintaining a sound quantity intake looks after the rest. Add in the proper balance of you meals and you don’t have to think about it again. Severe restrictive “dieting” should be left to those who participate in weight bearing sports on occasions where this approach will be short term. The long term approach is the one you should take as opposed to the 6 week diets offered on the lifestyle trash magazines.

Exercising regularly

Well given that I’m a Personal trainer it’s a no brainer that I would recommend exercise here. The benefits are clear. With a smart and well planned program you can  become stronger, fitter, be able to move better (pain free for some) and if adhering to proper nutrient quantity, quality and getting in the correct ratios it should all fall into place nicely  and will go along way in getting you results.

The bottom line is to have a nutritional plan, actually implement that plan and be committed to your overall goal.

Get the nutrition right and you are well on the way.

Claudefit personal training is based In Mill Park.

Spartan Super 2015 – Here we go again!

Spartan Fit

It’s been while since we ran our last Spartan race and from what I recollect it was the Spartan sprint covering approximately 7 klm’s along paddocks, , bush, shallow creeks , hilly terrain and swimming across dams all while busy running against other like minded individuals in getting to the next obstacle first in the hope of surviving it till the end. I did say the 7 klm was a sprint didn’t I? Yeah that’s what the folk over at Spartan call it.

This time around  we are back wiser, ready to go and I guess since I promote myself as a fitness trainer are more prepared than our previous race. However the test this time in training for this event is a mere 14klms, twice the fun I reckon. Ask me at the end and I will most likely tell you it was twice the torture. Depends on your point of reference I guess.

Here is a quick summary of the training (suitable for the recreational participant) and an overall approach we have taken in preparation for this challenging and very much and enjoyable event.  Let’s tackle the individual components that you need to cover in order to make it through safe, injury free and able to enjoy the post event celebration knowing you met the challenge and got though unscathed. AROO!

The Running part

First and foremost this event like most obstacle events is predominantly running. That’s right, Running and lots of it. Given any Spartan race it easily takes up 80% of the effort required in getting across the line for that coveted event t-shirt , participant medal or for some it’s the hard earned beer waiting for you after crossing the finish line.

This is the single component that usually gets to most of the participants. Not the Burpees because people cheat on them. You need to be able to run and run well as you can’t cheat 14klms.

The undulating nature of the course requires you to adapt to the terrain and if you are not familiar with trail running you will suffer as I speak from personal experience. In last year’s 7klm spring Spartan I already had a solid road running base of 40-50klm average a week in addition to my weight based workouts. Unfortunately my over excitement and lack of understanding of the course basically blew my running motor within the first klm and took me another 2 klms before I recovered, ran with composure and settled into pace all while having to tackle the obstacles as they presented themselves. although I managed  respectable time, I knew that I could have prepared better. Rookie mistake.

Our solution: We have now been running trails on a regular basis and have become familiar with this type of running and will now tackle the longer event with a bit more experience and focus on keeping a solid pace and negotiating the obstacles with minimum energy expenditure. (Yeah, we did the work) A solid 8klm + run would be ideal as a minimum base to finish the course ,( expect to walk) however if you are keen and well planned a Road base of 10 klm plus with a few trial runs thrown in would just get you by.

If you are fortunate enough to be close to a trail, I suggest you tackle it often.

Weight training & Conditioning

This time around we have focused out attention to preparing the body for the assault as opposed to preparing for the obstacles on an individual basis. Why? It’s better to focus on preparing your own body in getting stronger, fitter and resilient to be able to withstand the challenge than simply focusing on one or two obstacles that will come up such as the dreaded rope climb and surprisingly difficult dead ball deadlift.

Spartan has a way of throwing in obstacles that challenge the strongest and fastest regardless of the specific training you do. Better to prepare the body. Get stronger, build you grip strength, core and be able to both carry heavy and lift heavy objects and you should be fine. Spartan doesn’t release the course until the last few days of the event. It part of the appeal.

I must add that there are several standard obstacles that will be there waiting for the regular Spartan hopefuls. Look up the Spartan website for more information. www.spartan.com.au  the interesting ones are the new ones that pop up. So be ready.

The focus on the major lifts was what we all (clients) trained with.  We ate up lifts such as Barbell Standing military press, Bench press, Squats, Deadlifts & Bent over rows. What more can you say when you have program that involves these old school and very effective exercises. They will get you strong and prepare your strength base for life and everything else.  That’s another story.

The other tools used were Kettlebells for conditioning because they work,  exercises like the swing , cleans and renegade rows were a staple along with basic bodyweight movements involving the always reliable chin up/ pull up ( do both . they both work!) crawling and handstand play. For variation we chucked in Rope climbs and sandbag drills. The ability to “chuck a leg over the fence” will also be required as I find that most who don’t have flexibility with this movement find out the hard way and looks painful! You have been warned.

The bottom line is that we have been consistent and trained smart. As with most things related to fitness and OCR events the primary objective of the training should be to prepare the body to successfully complete the event. Everything else is a bonus.

Planning and application

You need to have a plan that you actually implement and you need to take the right mental application. I’ve mentioned this as I unfortunately see several individuals not complete the course due to their inability to have the will finish what they started. Experience should tell you the better you prepare for this or any other event the better it is on the day. If you turn up underdone you will make it harder than it needs to be and will most likely give up or worse , suffer an avoidable injury.

The common factor here is that sometimes people simply just turn up on the day and think because they’ll can run 5 klm around the block at home ,do a spin class, body pump and bench press on Monday they think that they will be right on the day. Spartan Races are advertised as a race and it doesn’t forgive lack of preparation.

IMO the positive’s here is that if you sign up for an event you have committed to do it. And do you should be able to do it well. Like most of my client’s requirements if they approach their goals with the proper mental application, goals like weight loss, muscle gain, strength gains and improvement in their overall fitness will happen. Funny that.

If you plan well and  commit to your training, eat well and get enough rest, there is no reason for you to turn up unprepared, out of shape and put yourself through this event not quite 100%. It’s hard enough as it is being prepared so why disadvantage yourself before you get there.

As I say often to my client ( on my soapbox) whether you do a trial run, fun run, Spartan, TM or any other event. A lack of preparation will show up on the day. So plan well, implement you plan and give yourself the best opportunity to not only conquer the Spartan Course but know that you can do anything.

See you on the course. Aroo!!!

Claudefit is a personal fitness trainer based in Mill Park.

Fitness and Strength for the over 40’s

Over 40’s Fitness and Strength

Physical activity is valuable for all and for some has now become a necessity. For us older folk (like me), where maintenance of good health, independence, and certain age/lifestyle factor related disease prevention can be achieved with only a dose of Fitness and Strength. It’s time to take action and do something about it.

As we are now over 40 we should all do some form of physical activity, no matter what your age, weight, health problems or abilities. You have to make an effort. It’s never too late to start becoming physically active. Let’s get you started in helping you out with enjoying the benefits of having more energy, reducing pain in movement and other age related matters we have to deal with that are slowing you down.

It’s now time to act.

It’s unfortunate all the people round me who have chosen the easy way out and due to a lack of activity , a lack of food control and after years of self-neglect they find themselves in a position where they are lost and have nowhere to turn. All this and we have to deal with the rest of the ageing process as we tend to slow down….well only a little though, you can still do something about it.

Many improved health and well-being outcomes have been shown to occur with regular physical activity. These include helping to:

  • Maintain or improve physical function and independent living;
  • Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries from falls; and
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and some cancers.

The importance of movement

As I turned 40 and realised that I was not able to recover quicker, move as fast and lost a bit of mobility. However it’s not to the extent that some general thinking would lead you to believe. Just because you are now a little older (and much wiser) it’s a matter of just making sure that you now work out a little smarter. One on the major changes with age is the issue of mobility. That is, the ability to still perform the functions that that body is designed to do. Move pain free.

For the unlucky ones who are carrying over some old injuries from past endeavours it’s going to be little different, but not impossible. I consider myself lucky as I’m one who doesn’t carry any major injuries and have good movement with my Ankle and Hip joints ,a pain free range of motion with Thoracic mobility/stability/elevation and my Knees have survived the years of running and martial arts and intend on keeping it this way as the years add up.

My go-to movements today in addition to the type of workout I do as a Professional trainer are the 3 big ones from the HKC Kettlebell system. They are the Turkish Get up, Goblet squat and the Swings. The combination of these 3 specific Kettlebell movements allow me to be mobile , flexible, build co-ordination , strength in movement and a heart rate that burns up the calories. Before you get too excited and think just performing these movements is all it takes keep in mind the strict adherence to technique will be an expectation. The Kettlebell doesnt do favours and rewards bad form so let’s keep it safe.

Cardio as we age

Start with low impact movements. And then build up. It’s ok to push the cardio once you have built it up smartly and not gone out too hard or too soon. It should over time build up and for general fitness not take too long. I promise. You are no longer a spring chicken and should be more cautious in you approach (this is a good thing)  – As part of getting on to our 40’s the ability to take on any exercise that involves impact is something that needs to be monitored  diligently.

A pain free workout can certainly be performed as long as you are following proper technique and are able to use the correct resistance in delivering results. Too light will not have any effect and going too heavy too soon is recipe for disaster. The last thing you need is an injury to recover from so take my advice, learn the move and then build it up slowly. Any progress is still progress. The major moves that I use when working with my new “grown up” aged clients who have never lifted a weight or seen the inside of a gym is to establish whether they can perform what I call the pillars in movement.

These are the lifts that deliver better results and are clear time savers. When combined together results are usually no too far.

The Pillars of strength

With any given program you will need to cover the basic moves in order to get a greater return on effort. Irrespective on the type of equipment you use (Kettlebell, Dumbbell, Barbell, Sandbag or machine (as long as you are performing the following you will get stronger.

Pressing – These movers involve all overhead pressing that is barbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press. Anything involving an upward press. Whether you are sitting or standing. Just press. I get a lot of mileage with my Kettlebell pressing it delivers a safe and pain free movement pattern and for a more strenuous workout we hit the barbell and load them up. It all depends on needs and training history of mature clients. In other words press.

Pushing – These movements involve the pushing away from the body (chest). They include the classic bench press. Machine press and even dumbbell press. This one in particular is a clear favourite with most as it has generally become the one workout movement enjoyed by most. For some its complements and already comprehensive workout, for others it’s a critical strength in pushing an opponent away and for the rest it’s basically a beach muscle. It’s up to you.

Squats – One of the major movements in any effective training program should include the squat movements. It’s basically when performed properly works the entire body in utilising the legs as the main driver, the core in keeping it all stable and the upper body in holding onto the required loading placed on the body. Truly one of the king pillar movements in returning a quicker result. These can be performed with a barbell, Kettlebell, sandbag, and dumbbell. Almost anything really. As long as you know how to move. An excellent carry over exercise sports and daily life challenges.

Deadlift – One of the most dynamic movements is the humbling Deadlift. This is basically a hinge movement (fold at the hip joint) where you are required to put up the weight from the floor. Its performed best with a barbell and with a proper set up and execution is quite safe. Unfortunately it gets a bad reputation as hurting your back, when in reality this classic pulling movements will actually strengthen and sometime fix you back. Just remember everything is problematic when performed incorrectly and is always better when proper technique is use.

A great reason to hire professional fitness trainer if you are not sure.

You are never too old to move.

Far too often I hear people who tell me they are too old to do anything about it. Well I find it disappointing in a way as most of the ones who tell me this don’t have any major injuries or concerns that would prevent them from becoming healthier through a strength and fitness program. Unfortunately they are quite simply lazy, unmotivated and to some extent don’t really care.

If you have read to this point you will understand and if you haven’t, well what can I say? As we get older we see the world a little different and place value on the time spent in doing the thing we enjoy. The approach on movement, strength, fitness and health should be your priority.

Strength and Fitness program

Strength training Mill Park

Most of the times when people are seeking to get fit and “back in shape” they often neglect the importance of getting stronger. You see by getting stronger all the other variables will sit on top of an already built up strength base and set you up to build a better fitness( cardiovascular) engine , be structurally resilient and with an understanding of movement you are well on the way in achieving your goal of “getting back into it”.

It pays to have a plan.

For the people who chose to ignore the strength component in their general fitness goals and think “I’ll just lose the weight with cardio”, you will simply be a smaller version of yourself and most likely be weak, have an ordinary immune system and not be strong enough to perform normal every day activities. To just do cardio and starve will leave your body depleted and not feeling too good and you will most likely go back to old habits.

Not everyone has to own a 100+kg deadlift, bench press or squat, however neglecting your strength is more of limiting factor in promoting a more active and healthier body and lifestyle.

The following is a basic yet effective two day workout that will deliver an honest all over strength base that is complimented by a 3rd running day. Keep in mind that with the use of Kettlebells you are still getting an adequate dose of cardio. Take my work for it it’s just the way the humble Kettlebell works. The running is what works well with any weigh management program and delivers you more than an adequate fitness base. Don’t neglect it as the longer you leave it the longer it will take to get.

Strength training program

Day one

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell back squat
  • Kettlebell front squat
  • Double kettlebell clean
  • Barbell Military press
  • Kettlebell double press
  • Kettlebell push press

Day one will cover the lower body/core with the traditional and effective Barbell squat while the double kettlebell cleans will sort out the posterior chain recruitment. The front squat with the kettlebells delivers more in recruiting the core and clearly gets the job done. The upper body is looked after with the military press and once again in working the double kettlebells the shoulders will be broad and resilient when you can manage the workload with an effective (pressing movement ) technique.

Day two

(2-5 sets and 3-5 reps each)

  • Barbell dead lift
  • Barbell upright rows
  • Barbell bent over rows
  • Chins
  • Barbell bench press – flat
  • Barbell bench press Incline
  • Barbell bicep curls

Day two will finish off the full body workout in working the hip hinge joint with the ever reliable and dynamic Deadlift. With the addition of the upright row and bent over rows the barbell will leave you fully worked (pulling movement ). The chins will take anything left you have in working your back. Add in the bench press with the flat and incline option and you have covered the upper body (Pushing movement).  Any program would be lost without the humbling barbell bicep curl. If you have anything left in reserve.

Strength based cardio reserve

Day 3 run

You need cardio remember? A 1-5 klm steady run as a beginner will do you good. It should be your minimum cardio base and should only be a shorter distance that you can manage and will complement the two day weight program nicely. It will allow you to get into a steady tempo and start to burn some extra calories and keep the weight under control. The message here is to be committed and stick to a program that will deliver a balanced return- a leaner, fitter and muscular looking body.

Remember a body that has a bit of muscle can burn more calories than one that doesn’t.

To cap it off all of the above is the active component in getting results. If would be dismissive if me if I didn’t include the element of nutrition and how much of an effect it has with any fitness/strength and well-being program. Neglect your nutrition and any results will be slow and minimal. Managing you nutrition is not always about weight loss, for some it’s about performance. As the saying goes, Junk in = junk out . Don’t be that person!

The above was just a basic (not to be confused with easy) start up program that takes up only 3 days of your week. Alternatively you can (with time permitting) treat it as 3 days on and take the fourth day off. It up to you, when you have committed to it for 4-6 weeks the results will be obvious and you will need to tweak it further.

This is where a personal trainer can assist you and ensure you are achieving results.

Gym and Fitness

Fitness with Claude

Great to be asked to contribute as a fitness “expert” for one of the larger commercial gym equipment sellers and information providers in  Gym and Fitness .

The following blog post is basically in response to a few questions they asked me to provide.

Hope this continues for the benefit of both Claudefit and Gym and Fitness.

It’s important to get out there and be seen as a voice of knowledge in getting people Healthier , Fitter , Stronger and Feeling better about themselves.

http://www.gymandfitness.com.au/blog/personal-trainers/personal-trainer-claude/

For now its a matter of keeping the head down and getting the work done.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and offer a private facility for your health and fitness goals.

 

Strength and Conditioning (Part 2)

Strength and Conditioning

The second part is to add value to the previous two mentioned strength building methods. The following refers to the next phase relating more to the conditioning aspect with the use of a Kettlebell, why you have to run and a reminder why you should monitor your nutrition. Let’s keep it simple and practical. You should have plenty to keep you busy with your own sports specific skill work I’m sure.

Barbell supremacy for strength training

The two approaches to delivering results have been for a long time the tried and through methods of a sound conditioning program but are not the only ways of getting results. The barbell has for a long time been heralded as the one piece of equipment that has over time been replaced, copied , watered down ( via machines)  and often been challenged, yet it still serves as the only way in getting the job done for the serious types. The following exercises will certainly be of benefit in incorporating in most strength and conditioning programs. Here’s a sample of you can do with only the barbell.

Military Press – Basically this is a standing shoulder press performed with a barbell.  It’s regarded as the prime mover in getting those old fashioned broad shoulders happening and is also one of the assistant exercises in both the Weightlifting and Powerlifting methods. A must have exercise wit any program.

Bent over rows – When you have been working out for a while and have developed great core stability and know how to fold the hips back, this exercise is one of the primary back builders that is a favourite with the bodybuilding crowd. The Lat pull-down has often been used as opposed to this movement due to its ease in application. Within a true strength program why not use them both!

Front Squat – Another exercise that is one of the fundamental movements in the weightlifting method. On its own it’s a great leg builder that promotes a more upright posture and give the core a workout in stability of the upper body. A fantastic option if you don’t want to back squat.

Barbell complex – I thought I might as well sneak in this particular approach to barbell work. It’s generally for a bit of mental conditioning and is a sure fire way in getting the heart rate up. Can be done with a lighter than usual weight and it will be up to you how many repetitions you can handle . A great one to incorporate with a training buddy. You basically have to perform 3-5 reps and then straight away move onto the next movement. Give it a try and see how far you get. Eg: 5 x bent rows. 5 x cleans 5 x front squats, 5 x military press – repeat.

Push Press – Related to the Military press and Jerk the bottom line is that it’s easy to learn, helps you lift the heavier weights above the head and allows you to use you bottom half in generating the power from the ground up . An important skill to utilise for many sports. Performed in volumes it ensures the heart rate will be left elevated for a long time post workout.

Conditioning with the Kettlebell ballistics

My favourite tool in generating the volumes in delivering many conditioning requirements. It sits well with the typical sporting movements and its effects are immediately felt.  A workman like approach that only the Kettlebell can bring to the table. Take the Kettlebell version of the snatch performed with one hand and you are on another level when it comes to an elevated heart rate and the overall effect of owning a pair of wobbly legs.

The highly rated RKC snatch test requires an individual ( male) to perform 100 x 24kg snatches within a set 5 minute timeframe, It also has to be done with a better than average technique in order for you to pass. An impressive feat that is the expected standard of an RKC Instructor.

Another way to condition is to use the complex drills that when performed with a kettlebell seem to have a natural flow. Take for example a set of double swings, double cleans, double snatch, double press and double Squat for reps of 3-5 in a continuous manner.

For  simpler and just as effective conditioning drill , for some there is no need to take it further than the kettlebell swing that activates the posterior chain and develops and excellent overall conditioning . It aids in grip strength and when done in high volumes teaches you mental conditioning – Take my word.  The carry over effect of the swing will allow you to improve on you running as it shares many similarities with running mechanics.

Add in the Turkish get up with the related benefits of mobility, the renegade rows for core development and kinetic chain connection and you are done.

Running

The simplicity of running and the overall physical and mental benefits it brings needs to be appreciated. For a conditioning program it’s an effective cardiovascular workout that you can’t do without. As they say Athletes run, Pure and simple. For general fitness benefits you can use the treadmill or go for a walk, however the reality is if you are serious about your conditioning you have to run. If you don’t know how to run, you have to learn, if you tell me you have bad knees, you should not be doing strength and conditioning work (or  get fixed)and if you have “breathing difficulties” or “not designed to run” and “hate running” you are just not fit , so run – ok?

Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition you have to juggle the food intake that will allow you to fuel you work-out and need to get in the adequate quality of nutrients for recovery. In addition you have to ensure of the incoming calories for health and wellbeing. For a performance athlete you need the extra calories for a proper recovery phase and ensure that your essential Vitamin’s (B’s) are adequate. Your nutrition in recovery is important.

The weight loss nutrition is different to performance so be ready to eat a bit more, so becoming stricter should be expected. Enjoy the carbs ! Simply eating up as you see fit without a plan could potentially be causing a weight increase which is detrimental to bodyweight sports. A sound nutritional approach will go a long way in performance and keep you in good spirits. Eating crappy food will have the opposite effects.

Mobility

An important component that is neglected by many. If you are not able to get into position with no weight there is no point in putting you under loading and “working it out later” the diligent trainer should address any lack of mobility on areas such as ankle, hips, knee ,thoracic region,wrists mobility and work on improving range or positioning. No point in incurring an injury that will prevent you from you training.

No training means no improvement.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and operated out from his own private facility catering to the individual who want to take their strength and conditioning to the next stage

Strength and Conditioning (Part1)

Strength and Conditioning

When people are looking taking up a workout program most of the time they want to get lean, become fitter and put on some muscle. For others their requirement are different in that they are not so much after a general program but need additional attention to their current strength training regime and are now ( seriously)  looking at stepping it up in order to be able to perform. For current fitness enthusiast and sports participants it’s got to the stage where they are needing more specific  strength variables in adding value to their sport or simply don’t have the skill-set to properly plan out and execute what’s required to breach the gap from where they are now to where they need to be.

Whether it’s to become more resilient to take the knocks, increase their aerobic capacity or simply increase work output a properly qualified and experienced Strength and conditioning coach can certainly help out.

Let’s cover a few of the pathways available to becoming more conditioned. It depends on what type you need. For example, the requirements for a cyclist will be different to a rugby player. However both are looking at improving their performance. So what are the tools in getting the job done?

The following is an outline of the equipment required in order to be in a position where you will get to that goal. It explains the various tried and true methods that have proven over time to work out. Given this knowledge it goes a long way in prescribing through a Strength and conditioning programs on what you need to do.  Otherwise it’s just a bunch of exercises that can be done anytime with only reaping the benefits of just lifting with no purpose. Remember, this is not for recreational weight training purposes. It’s for performance.

Olympic Weightlifting Method

If your sport is requiring  the type of conditioning that will deliver explosive power then look no further than the classic sport of Olympic Weightlifting. Many of us have become familiar with these two lift by watching the Olympic Games on the television. The clean and jerk along with the snatch are what most of us enjoy viewing on the telly. The sport is much more than that, In addition to it been highly technical and within the reach of most, it is the assisting lifts and semi competition lifts within your program that allow you to fully appreciate this power building sport. The assistant exercises like the power versions of the clean, jerk and snatch are usually enough for you to develop the explosiveness for your sport; the more classic lifts are for those who wish to pursue this as their chosen sport.

Here’s a sample template for one of my client who after participating in a Crossfit class has decided to refine his technique on the weightlifting component of his semi regular Crossfit classes. He sees me once a week for PT and in addition to his own home based training attend this local Crossfit box for a bit of fun. Given the nature of Olympic lifting it’s important to keep it simple and effective. The sample workout following was performed with lighter than normal weight to allow for teaching and not overly fatigue the body.

w/up Various drill incorporating overhead extension, ankle , hip and wrist flexibility.

Clean

Clean from knee height – Skill/Cond

Power clean – explosive/core/skill

Clean Pulls – Strength of pulling phase

Snatch

Power snatch – Explosive/core/skill/catch

The high (snatch) pull – pulling skill

Snatch from hang/or floor – speed work on catch/ volumes/

Drop snatch (from shoulders) – skill (practice overhead squat)

Jerk

Jerks from rack –Skill work

Jerk dips – Strength of explosive drive/ relaxed arms/ only hips/knees forward

Push press – Strength and conditioning for overhead movement /strength

Jerk/press behind neck – stability /alignment prep for catch phase.

In regards to athlete training here’s what a an expert in the field wrote – Athletes in certain sports will benefit from just performing power snatches and power cleans and jerks initially, along with some back squats, front squats, good mornings, and presses. They do not need to learn to do the classic lifts, nor to train with great intensities. The body control and awareness developed through performance of the lighter derivatives will do a great deal to enhance athleticism, balance, and proprioception, and consequently result in a greater improvement in performance. – Bob Takano

Powerlifting method 

When your sport requires you to become one strong hombre, the Powerlifting 3 are the most superior in getting the job done – Period.  The simplicity of the big 3 in combination cannot be beat.

Bench press

The powerful bench press and its many variations is favourite by most due to its ease of learning and oblious quick results has for many years been a go to exercise for first movement to do during the week. For sports application the ability to fend off opponents or generate the strength to push away is an essential component in keeping the opponent off you or simply holding your ground.

Squats

The squat is often hailed as the most dynamic movement the body can perform as it works not only the whole bottom half of the body by also gets the core involved in linking the resistance/weight to the upper body. Keep in mind that to hold onto the much heavier weights the upper body is also required to be strong enough to maintain the barbell in position. All up, its an extremely effective exercise in delivering true results when it comes to maximum leg strength. Get your squat on and get results.

Deadlift

An equally benefiting exercise is the hip dominant pulling strength developed from the basic and brutal Deadlift. The movement in its simplicity requires you basically lift a “heavier” weight from the floor. Well sort off. Once you have mastered a basic understanding of the flexibility to get into place and the hip power and balance required it then turns into a mental game when it comes to lifting up the bigger weights from the floor. An impressive feat when watching the big boys lift!  When performed correctly with proper mechanics it a safe and fun exercise that delivers all over body strength due to the recruitment of the muscles in getting the weight up.

 

When it comes to pure strength the above three cannot be neglected. Make sure you include these in you program if you are after real results. Otherwise just do a pump class. It’s pretty clear that by incorporating either the Powerlifting or Weightlifting methods and their variants will go a long way on improving your overall conditioning. It’s just a matter of having the right mix depending on your particular needs. The common factor here is clearly the use of the dominate Barbell. Part two will cover some of the reasons why the barbell is supreme.

If you haven’t figured it out yet.

Claudefit Personal training is located in Mill Park and operated out from his own private facility catering to the individual who want to take their strength and conditioning to the next stage.

Weight Training workout

Weight Training basics

One of my clients who’s been with me for around 18 months had mentioned how he used to do his Weight Training workouts in a fancy 24 hour commercial gym and would only use the available machines and would perform the very basic exercises that the gym offered. Sadly no instructors were around to assist if required either.  As a result he basically didn’t have use of Barbells to work from or help on technique. Like most he would rock up on Mondays and do the “Ol” chest and arms routine and a bit of abs. This is what most regular gym goers tend to do without a strict plan, even when their gym is properly equipped.

Currently we have been working out with Kettlebells, Barbells and Boxing , keep a focus on Nutrition and have based our program around weight loss. To date he has shifted “a lot of excess”  from his frame. So I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me to incorporate some of the more traditional exercises on one program to get a feel of how it all works out. We have over time covered the basic compound lifts for general physical preparation (as you should) but today’s workout was a bit of a variation on the basic with a bit of Claudefit experience chucked in for good measure.

It’s basically a variation on the Chest and Back routine with the addition of Gymnastics rings for on overload under fatigue and the use of the Deadlift and Kettlebell swing for an all body effect. Arm training was at the end after core and ensured that we worked ‘the guns” until they could not Lift anymore.

Focus : All a bit of fun while still getting the job done.

Chest: Incline Barbell press, Flat barbell Press and Gymnastics rings presses.

Back: Barbell bent over rows , Chins and Gymnastics ring pulls

Full Body: Deadlift and Kettlebell swings

Arms: Barbell Bicep curls and lose grip bench press

Core: Hanging Knee raises

Mobility: Included all the stretches and target areas as required.

It’s Strength Training

The above approach was to get in those two large body parts of the back and chest with a 3-5 rep max for 5 sets. The rest of the additional exercises where with a lighter loading and took it to a range of 8-12 reps. All for a bit of serious fun really. The session was then complimented by the ever reliable Deadlift with the classic 3×3 and chucked in several Kettlebell two handed swing 20×5 just to get the heart rate up – yeah we succeeded. Given the nature of the workout we were always going to cover arms and worked them to failure. If you had noticed the arms were certainly incorporated as assistant muscles with the previous movements. Core was taken care of with the Hanging knee raises with a mention of the Deadlift and bent over rows for the bracing component in the core work.

As always we finished off in recovery with related body part stretches and full body mobility drills to prevent any stiffness from becoming a hindrance This very basic (not easy) covers the upper body and gives the arms a more than effective workout. It’s not exactly bodybuilding as we focused on both strength and conditioning. For those who want the bodybuilding approach you need to go to a bodybuilding gym. Not a 24 hour commercial Gym.

The message is to plan well for you objectives. For general physical preparation, just cover all the major movements and incorporate some cardio, sort out you food and you are well on the way to results. For other who have particular need on strength and conditioning on a more specific level I suggest you speak with someone who knows how to program you workouts.

Claude Castro has been the owner of Claudefit Personal Training for 8 year and has over 35 year of practical application. Can be located on  www.claudefit.com.au

 

 

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