Don’t RUN for weight loss! …And this is coming from a runner

Okay, so the title of my blog sounds a bit paradoxical, or hypocritical, but give me a minute or two to explain myself.

Let me break this down real fast: Most people run for goals or reasons based outside of performance; at least among the general population. And since most of those people are running for weight loss and not for pure enjoyment or for any specific training protocol; I am a little concerned. And here’s why:

There is a little thing we call Ground Reaction Forces – This is the force the ground sounds back up through our musculoskeletal systems once our bodies and gravity have been applied to the surface. And here’s why it’s important and alarming at the same time:

1) Walking = 1-1.5 x’s one’s body weight is transmitted back through our system

2) Running = 2-5 x’s ones body weight is transmitted back through our system

3)Jumping = 4-11 x’s ones body weight is transmitted back through our system

Wow!!! Maybe those numbers don’t rock your world like mine just yet, so let me put this into perspective based on a 160 lb person.

1) 160-240 lbs of force is pushed back up into the body

2)320-800 lbs of force is pushed back up into the body

3)640-1,760 lbs of force is pushed back up into the body

Now take those numbers from line #2 and imagine that , but stretched out over a course of a several thousand times, like during a typical 2-3 mile run. Now you catch my drift.

I just wanted to explain that if weight loss is your goal, there is much more effective ways to reduce body fat, build muscle and strengthen our bodies other than wrenching your ankle, knee and hip joints to the max; as in circuit or metabolic training.

Hope you enjoyed the food for thought. Happy lifting!!

Studies used: 

Biomechanical Basis of Human Movement. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1995.

The influence of walking speed on dynamic loading on the human musculoskeletal system. Med Sci Sport Exerc 2000; 32:1156-9


Why we all should really take a chill pill following a good workout sesh!

In my post last week I briefly discussed the reason behind, and some examples of warming up before engaging in physical activity. In today’s blog I will do the same but for the back end of the workout routine; cooling down.

Both of these generally overlooked and/or under-practiced activities have many benefits to an individual of any performance level.

Scientific Rationale and Exercise Selection for Cooling Down

Gradually bringing the body to a resting state (5-10 minutes after engaging in a planned physical activity)

  1. Potentially improve flexibility
    1. Using specific or corrective stretches to safely bring the tissue(s) to normaltheir resting length
      1. The more flexibility an individual has for a set group of muscles:
        1. Increased joint RANGE OF MOTION (ROM)
        2. Proper movement patterns
        3. Increased speed/rate of muscle contractions
        4. Less “work” required for limb movement
      2. Removes waste by-products, via the blood stream
      3. Potentially decrease muscle soreness
      4. Allows cardiovascular system to respond to lower demands
        1. Gradually brings down cardio and respiratory rates for equal gas exchanges
      5. Provides an emotional balance after exercise stress
        1. Balancing the fight/flight (sympathetic nervous system) & rest/digest (parasympathetic nervous system)

Types of Cool Downs (just a few examples, there are many, many techniques and styles):

  • Soft Tissue work with Foam Rolling
    1. Helps to promote blood circulation of the tissues being foam rolled
    2. When held long enough (at least 20seconds) on “pain or trigger points” it can aid in the extensibility of the muscle tissues being foam rolled
  • Static Stretches (most common form of stretching seen around the gym setting; although not always done correctly :/ )
    1. This form of stretching decreases muscle excitability
    2. Combines low force with long duration (30seconds – 2 minutes)
    3. Allows for relaxation and elongation of a muscle
    4. To perform correctly:
      1. The stretch is held at the first point of tension or resistance for ATLEAST 30 seconds

Happy cooling down!

Real results for real life

6 months ago Lynnette was sluggish, unhappy and 35 lbs heavier than today.

Today we did her 6 months assessment and wow! 35 lbs lost, 17″ off her waist and another 12″ off her hips.

The reason I wanted to blog about this today is due to the fact that in those 6 months there were many real life events that happened to our around Lynnette. Despite these obstacles she had faith in me and the weight loss process.

She is just a totally different person and I respect and admire this woman. 

You go girl!! 

Warm ups! And not the ones you unadmittling wear around walmart in the winter times

In a two part series, I wanted to briefly touch on what warming up and cooling down are all about. Without getting into too many specifics and generating walls and walls of texts, I complied some quick information as to WHY the aforementioned techniques should be implemented in any regular workout routine and also offered a couple examples to get you off in the right direction, enjoy!

Scientific Rationale and Exercise Selection for Warming up

Preparing the body for physical activity (5-10 minutes prior to engaging in a planned physical activity)

  1. Increases heart and respiratory rates
    1. Increases the cardiorespiratory system’s capacity to perform work (ability to workout for longer durations = more calories and potential fat burned)
    2. Increases blood flow to active muscle tissues (more muscles being activate = more calories burned)
    3. Increases the oxygen exchange capacity (perform endurance exercises longer without fatigue)
  2. Increases tissue temperature
    1. Increase rate of muscle contractions (power/strength/muscular gains)
    2. Increases efficiency of opposing muscle contraction & relaxation (proper joint movements = reduced risk of injury)
    3. Increases metabolic rate (burn more calories per workout)
    4. Increases soft tissue extensibility (proper joint movements = reduced risk of injury)

Types of Warm ups:

  • Soft Tissue work with Foam Rolling
    1. Helps to promote blood circulation of the tissues being foam rolled
    2. When held long enough (at least 20seconds) on “pain or trigger points” it can aid in the extensibility of the muscle tissues being foam rolled
  • Cardio and Dynamic Movements
    1. When performing cardio before strength training:
      1. Keep the time to under 10 minutes to preserve muscle energy for the lifting
      2. Keep the intensity around 6-7 on a scale of 1-10 or 65-75% max HR to preserve energy stores for lifting
    2. Dynamic Movements
      1. Lunge Patterns
      2. Toe Kicks
      3. Squat patterns
      4. Hip Hinges
      5. Pushing/Pulling
      6. Torso Rotations
      7. Joint articulations/rotations

It’s not the program people…

Okay, well of course some of it is the program. What I’m talking about is what I feel is one of the biggest drivers of gym adaptations and thus results which in return equals motivation: Consistency over time

Look at anyone whose achieved success an any area of health and fitness and has managed to sustained those results will tell you:

  • Firstly, you have to keep at it (CONSISTENCY), and you have to keep at it for awhile! You must  set a REAL schedule and plan that is based around some solid-realistic goals, and stick to it. Take for example, If you’re not morning person, don’t decide to beast mode 5am workouts M-F…It wont last. The best workout that an individual can do for themselves is one they will actually do. My Advice: If you’re new to working out, or haven’t exercised regularly in over 6+months; take it slow with 3 days of exercising at a moderate intensity for 30-45 minutes. Ideally looking to progress to 4 to 5 times a week within the first couple months of a new routine. The key is to log/complete/track each workout you do. If you find your self having trouble holding yourself accountable to your workouts and progresses in the gym, this is a where a knowledgeable health and fitness professional can take all the programming and guess work out of the equation and provide you with the proper tools and knowledge so you to can create your own effective workouts.
  • Secondly, TIME. I know from both personal experiences and observations that newbies and veteran lifters/exercises alike get frustrated with lack of results; especially the aesthetically based goals. Keep in mind that the body is an extremely efficient and complex organism which functions interdependently with many bodily systems. Your body is an amazing adapter! Once the body has been given a sufficient amount of stress consistently for a constant set of time , adaptations WILL occur!
    • Ease up!! Give yourself around 4-6 weeks of a consistent program to really judge how it’s working out for you. This is were assessing and tracking become cornerstones for any successful program

Pick something, something small, something is always better than nothing. Pick a few days a week, set a time and exercise. Stick with it long enough and reap all the amazing benefits that exercising can provide for oneself.

Happy Lifting!

Don’t be “Miss-informed” 

In the age of information and everyone being an “expert” on all the things thanks to google, it’s really hard to figure out what’s fact or fiction.
It’s scary when I see post and blogs that appear very informative on the surface but are actually propagating bad ideas that could and can be potentially harmful. Of course I’m speaking directly to the health and fitness industry.
Be careful what you consider “fact”. Take a common sense approach to information you read or hear: is it too good to be true? What’s the intent of the information provider or association? What studies and evidence was used to support the claims and information? We’re these studies peer reviewed or just random trails taken out of context to support the aforementioned information?
These are a few things to consider when figuring out what information you are going to choose as “fact” or “fiction”.

The Blogs Are Coming….

Hello all!

This is my first of many entries. Let me use this blog to introduce myself to the world of blogging…

My name is Jeff Hand. I am a 30-year-old health and fitness professional from Dallas, TX. I was born in Plano, TX in 1985 and grew up in The Colony, TX where I graduated from highschool in 2003.

Growing up I lived in a typical, middle-american household with my Dad,Mom and younger sister. I played baseball and football up through middle school; no high school sports. I’ve always held a high interest in video games; so I spent a lot of time in my adolescence sitting.

My Dad was always gone with work so my mother had the task of providing meals for my sister and I. Needless to say we were raised up on Kid cuisines (TV dinners of the 90s baby) and quickly prepared meals that usually lacked proper nutrients. My mother did what she could for us.

Into my highschool education my mother never really pushed hard for physical activity or structured meal planning= I played a lot of video games and ate pretty much what I wanted for my meals (which really came down to cereal…I was a cereal killer…no joke, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks if I could!)

After a childhood of neglecting consistent physical activity and proper eating habits, I found myself overweight and lacking self-confidence. Even at this point I still didn’t have motivation nor take action to change my situation.

It wasn’t until halfway through my junior year in highschool, my best friend at the time told me he really wanted to lose weight. (Side note: I was about 40lbs overweight at the time he was about 100lbs overweight). He asked me if I would start running with him in the morning before school. I said sure.

So each morning for the rest of that year and the next, I would drive about 4 miles to his house at 6am and we would run. We started slow with a mile run and then over the next couple of months we had worked up to 2-3 miles each morning.

We stayed very consistent; our motivations were high=we were losing weight, we were getting results.

12 years later, I have not gained a lb of fat back. This life experience was the beginning journey of what ultimately forged my deep passion and understanding for health and fitness and my willingness to help motivate and coach others to their own personal fitness successes.

In the times to come, I aspire to provide my thoughts and opinions on all things health and wellness, in hopes of educating and motivating others.