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Look around any gym or health club and you're likely to see the BOSU ball in use. Members and trainers use this unique tool to enhance a functional or balance workout! The BOSU ball, named from the acronym "BOth Sides Up", can help users increase right/left balance in both the body and the mind. Since the BOSU is an unstable surface, it's thought to help participants engage core muscles to maintain balance and improve muscular control. 

Here are a few basic exercises that can be done with the Bosu:
- SQUATS: Try putting one foot on the BOSU and one on the floor

-PUSHUPS: Hold the outside of the BOSU with the Blue Side down (See photo)

- CRUNCHES: Sit on the top of the BOSU with the Blue Side down for a challenging abdominal workout.

Remember: Do your research and check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Enjoy and Be Fit!

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An informative, albeit lengthy, article from ace fitness.org! Ladies, don't be afraid of the weight room! 
http://www.acefitness.org/blog/5040/4-myths-about-strength-training-for-women/
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4 Myths About Women Strength Training

It seems as if there’s a lot of information about exercise for women that is based on unfounded myths and even some outright lies instead of fact or scientific evidence. To help clear up the confusion surrounding strength training for women, ACE is launching the strongHER campaign to help educate the public on what is factual and what is not when it comes to strength training for women.

In this particular blog, I’ll be discussing the most common myths and explain why they are far from the truth. While it’s easy for me to write about the science behind the myths, I lack the proper genetic make-up to give a first-person perspective on how weightlifting has influenced my fitness program. That’s why I asked a few strong women to share how strength training has influenced their lives, and their observations are included throughout this blog.

Myth 1: Women should not lift any weight heavier than 3 pounds.

This myth has resulted in many women avoiding resistance training due to an irrational fear of becoming overly muscular. The reality is that women have the ability to lift a tremendous amount of weight, but do not increase lean muscle mass at the same rate as men.

Due to the physiology of the female body, compared to men women produce much less testosterone. That means that adding two days of resistance training to a weekly exercise regimen can increase lean muscle mass, but it won’t add pounds of “bulky” muscle. Strength training can cause women to produce more somatotropin (otherwise known as human growth hormone), but when you consider that growth hormone helps metabolize fat and is considered an important part of reducing the effects of the biological aging process, this is not a bad thing.

“My grandmother, suffering from osteoporosis and extreme kyphosis, told me that she wished that women of her era knew the benefits of strength training. Not only is weightlifting emotionally empowering for women, it can help us become better athletes, prevent injury and offset the risk of developing chronic medical conditions such as osteoporosis.”
-Shana Verstegen, ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Myth 2: Women should avoid using weights because it will make them big and bulky.

In more than 15 years of working in the fitness industry, I have heard this repeated many, many times as the primary reason why women are not interested in exercising with heavy weights. There are numerous media images of female bodybuilders or actresses with highly muscular physiques. It should be noted that it can take years of training, proper nutrition and "supplementation" to achieve the muscle-bound appearance of a Xena: Warrior Princess.

It can take lifting weights five or six days a week, plus a lot of eating, for women to increase their levels of lean muscle. Simply adding an extra day of strength training or grabbing the heavier dumbbells will not automatically cause a woman to become a muscle-bound she-hulk. 

“I have fallen in love with power lifting and at 43 I am healthier, happier and in better shape than I was back in college. I may weigh more than I did a year ago, but I AM 4 sizes smaller.” 
-Candace, a former college classmate

Myth 3: Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn fat.

During low-intensity physical activity, fat is the primary macronutrient utilized to fuel muscle activity, so the idea of exercising in the “fat-burning” zone is based on science. But keep in mind that you're in the so-called fat-burning zone right now while you're reading this. Traditional aerobic exercise like running, cycling or using common health club machines can be effective for expending energy and the body will metabolize more fat for energy at lower intensities. However, exercising at a higher intensity or performing short, high-intensity work intervals can lead to a greater total amount of calories being expended during a workout.

The body burns 5 calories of energy for every liter of oxygen consumed. During most traditional aerobic training, the legs are the primary muscles being engaged. Performing a full-body, strength-training circuit with exercises for both the upper and lower body can involve a tremendous amount of muscle tissue, which results in more calories being burned during a workout. When more total calories are burned from strength training, a greater amount of calories are metabolized from fat when compared to only exercising in the “fat burning” zone. Aerobic training can be an efficient way to burn calories, but it often doesn't provide enough stimulus to increase levels of lean muscle, which are metabolically more efficient because they burn calories even when the body is at rest. In addition, circuit training with heavy resistance can increase the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your metabolism stays elevated for a period of time after exercise and you continue to burn calories hours after the end of your workout.

Jen Sinkler, a former women's national team rugby player, is recognized as one of the most influential fitness bloggers by Shape Magazine. She responded to a question about her workout program by simply stating: "I lift weights." When asked what she does for cardio, Sinkler replied, “I lift weights faster.” Jen has turned this simple phrase into a whole platform for exercise that she promotes on her eponymous blog Thrive with Jen Sinkler.

Myth 4: A combination of light weights and high repetitions is the best way to “tone up.”

Ugh. Nothing could be further from the truth. Light weights can be useful for improving the strength-endurance of muscle tissue. However, neither light weight nor aerobic endurance training is effective for stimulating the muscle fibers responsible for growth and definition. The most effective way to create muscle growth and definition is to activate type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers using heavy weight or explosive movements.

There are different types of muscle fibers in the body: slow twitch and fast twitch. Slow-twitch fibers produce energy using oxygen and are used to sustain long periods of muscle work, such as maintaining good posture or performing endurance training. Fast-twitch fibers are capable of producing more force in a shorter period of time because they produce energy anaerobically. When it comes to muscle definition, a common goal for exercise, the fast-twitch fibers are responsible for that response. (For an in-depth understanding of how to increase lean muscle, follow this link.) Light weights can be used to train for definition if (and only if) the muscle is worked to fatigue (meaning you can’t perform another single repetition). Lifting 5 pounds for 12 reps is not enough to stimulate the fast-twitch fibers if you are capable of doing a 13th repetition.

“Strength training helped me gain confidence because I would achieve gains in appearance while losing weight. When other women find out I lift, they become curious and I love sharing the benefits. Putting the gloves on, hearing the plates stack together and lifting heavy things is one of the things I look forward to the most when I exercise.”
-ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor Teresa Ma

Disillusioned by elusive results from hours of cardio training, women are discovering the weight-loss benefits of strength training. It's not clear exactly what is responsible for this surging popularity, but one thing is clear—women have been adding more resistance training and high-intensity exercises to their workout programs.

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Proper posture is vital to our health and overall comfort; and it isn’t just about standing up straight! Posture is important while sitting, standing, walking and running. 

Poor posture is typically the result of muscular imbalances throughout the body. One such imbalance in the neck area can cause Forward Head Posture (FHP), where the muscles in the front of the neck (cervical flexors) are short and “tight” while the muscles in the back of the neck (cervical extensors) are over-lengthened and weak. With FHP, you'll notice the ear is positioned in front of the shoulder instead of directly above it.

Studies have shown that for every inch your head moves forward, it gains approximately 10lbs in weight, causing the muscles in the neck, shoulder and back to work overtime! This condition is very common since many of us spend hours sitting improperly at a computer, driving without using the headrest, or carrying heavy bags on one shoulder. Over time, FHP can cause chronic pain, nerve damage, intense headaches and even breathing problems. 

Here are a few ways to improve your Forward Head Posture:
- AWARENESS: Pay closer attention to how you are sitting at your desk at work. Be sure to have your computer monitor or tablet at eye level to avoid looking down for prolonged periods
- MOVEMENT: Set an alarm to remind you to get up and walk around every hour. Sitting for an extended period of time can increase the pressure on your neck, shoulders and back
- STRETCHING: Be sure to extend your chest and shoulder muscles upon waking and several times throughout the day. 
- : Position your car’s headrest an inch or two away from your head to increase neck support while driving
- INVEST: Meet with a reputable fitness professional who can teach you more about alignment and corrective exercises. Pay for prevention now instead of paying for treatment later!

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Resistance Training for Bone Health

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Recently, strength training tips and tricks have been popping up all over the internet. The obvious benefits are increased strength and muscular definition. It’s important to also understand that these resistance exercises will also increase the density of your bones. Better bone density increases the body’s calcium stores and decreases the chances of developing osteoporosis. Some examples of resistance training workouts include:

- Strength training machines

- Resistance band exercises

- Body weight movements

- Dumbbell exercises

 Pick things up and put them down!! Your bones are getting stronger each time!!

-afiya

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Yoga IS for You

 

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The ancient practice of yoga has become increasingly popular over the years. But I still hear people say, “I can’t do that.” Or “I’m not flexible enough.” Nonsense! There are numerous benefits to practicing yoga and anyone can do it! According to the American Osteopathic Association, some physical benefits include:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury

So what are you waiting for? Join a class, get an app, watch a video! Try something new!! #Namaste#fitfam!

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  • Bishop
    Bishop says #
    Great Post