I hope you had a great week and enjoyed the sunshine.
If you are running out of ideas for spicing up your exercise program and need some new challenges, check out this Tabata Workout we did at SF Bay Area Fit Body Boot Camp on 6/22. These 7 total body exercises will give you a fat blasting workout: TABATA
This is a body weight program; however, we did use a Swiss Ball and a TRX. You can get these items and have your own home or travel gym for about $250. You can also do it inside or outside as you see in the Boot Camp Workout Video. More importantly, check out how Coach Mike Salemi moves his hips 🙂
We now know that you do not need much equipment to get fit. You certainly do not need a gym full of machines. Back when I owned Optimal Fitness in San Carlos, I purchased ellipticals, treadmills, spinning bikes, strength circuit machines, and more (worth hundreds of thousands of dollars) just like every other health club out there.
I was told that if I bought these machines I could get hundreds of new members because people would basically just pay me monthly to use these machines with the dream of getting into their “ideal shape.” This is a flawed model. The model is great for the gym owner, but not necessarily for you.
Interestingly enough, exercise machines in gyms or health clubs can actually create more havoc on your body than moving your body without machines. Most of these machines are completely unnatural to human movement.
Let’s start with a treadmill. Although great for time efficiency, adverse weather conditions, bad neighborhoods and seniors (balance and stride purposes), I do not find a lot of value in treadmills.
The treadmill has a moving belt that goes backwards, so you do not walk the same way on the machine as you would off the machine. Your posterior side of the body will not have to work as much on a treadmill and you can overload the anterior side of the body. A treadmill is even more unnatural when holding on to the sides of the machine.
When we walk, jog or sprint, there is a natural coordination of the lower body, core and upper body that allows movement. When we hold on to the railings of machines in a braced position (including Stairmasters & Ellipticals), we need to alter the natural pattern and develop new ways of moving. This can lead to new faulty movement patterns, and in time will create an overload on the body causing pain.
The above is an example how gym equipment can create more harm than good. Strength training machines that lock your body in place are another example of unnatural movement. How often in life do you sit down and extend your leg out with weight (leg extension machine)? How about those leg press machines where you lie on your back and press? This may be helpful if you get a flat tire and need to press your car in the air while someone else changes the tire, but most of us have AAA.
These strength circuit machines are good for isolating specific muscles groups and making you look like a body builder, but how does it relate to the Mom who just wants to lose body fat and get more tone? There is very little relationship between fat loss, tone and strength machines.
More than likely, in due time there will be joint pain that results from these machines given the body is forced into unnatural movement patterns and your muscles get tighter and bigger than you wanted.
In the real world, we move in multiple planes and have to complete functional movement patterns while mostly standing like pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, rotating, bending & lifting. We rarely do the above while sitting or lying. Also, when we stand we burn more calories and that can translate into greater fat & weight loss.
Here is the deal… at the end of the day if you enjoy going to the gym and doing machine training and your joints are fine, you are probably okay and better than approximately 60% of the population that does no structured exercise program at all (even though you could gain better benefits doing something else). However, if you are frustrated with your results and you have been doing the same thing for over 3 months, please try a new training stimulus.
There is a reason why P90X is a multi-million dollar company. The P90X program is a successful and produces results with simple exercise equipment and body weight exercises. This is the same philosophy that I have with my personal training clients and Boot Camps.
Exercise training when done correctly, should not leave you bulky, tight and painful. You should be at your ideal body fat, be able to move in multiple directions without pain and do the things you want in life given you have the strength, balance, endurance and power to succeed.
Here is another Boot Camp Workout from 6/27: Boot Camp Workout. In this program we added a medicine ball for push-ups and a battle rope. The battle rope is my favorite training device. You can get a serious workout in less than 30s. Do the battle rope 4 min a day and you will see amazing benefits in your overall strength. Below is a video of various Battle Rope exercises by the developer John Brookefield:
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Have a great weekend.
Brien Shamp BS CSCS CMT CHEK NLC II
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