Category Archives: General
The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made in The Gym
Jason Tremblay, PFT Certificate
Mistake #1 – Failure to Understand the Acute Training Variables
This is one of the most crucial errors made in gyms across the country. So much so that even the so-called “Personal Trainers” at your gym probably don’t understand these variables well enough. If you don’t understand how changing rep ranges from 3 reps per set to 10 reps per set will give a different training effect, you are just wasting your time! If you can’t understand the absolute basics of training, how can you create your own training programs? You need to understand these variables so that you can start making better programs and get more out of your time in the gym.
To learn more about the acute training variables please re-visit my article from last week “Understanding Periodization”
Mistake #2 – How to Elicit Overload
To make gains in any training phase, you will need to use enough load to stimulate adaptations. Many trainees get too caught up in the concept of progressive overload in the form of increasing weight used. Yes progressively adding more weight will often provide enough of a stimulus to continue making gains, but it is not the only way to provide overload and enhance the training effect.
6 Methods of Eliciting Overload
- Increasing load
- Increasing reps
- Increasing sets
- Increase number of training sessions per week
- Decreasing rest
- Increasing number of exercises
Mistake #3 – Assuming That You Are Injury Free
- 82% of athletes have disc bulges or herniations at one level.
- 38% at more than one level.
- 27% of athletes with verterbral fractures.
- 34% of athletes with rotator cuff tears.
- 79% of overhead throwing athletes with labral tears.
- 26% of jumpers with patellar tendinopathy.
If you train, make the assumption that you have some form of injury. Why aren’t more people performing Soft Tissue Work? Just because you don’t have any pain does not mean that you are injury free. Injuries can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Yes, this means that you can have an injury without experiencing pain. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you experience pain to start with soft tissue work. If symptoms are present, you do not have to address all of the issues causing pain. Addressing one or two areas may be enough to return injury to below the pain threshold. Would you rather spend 5 minutes before a workout with the foam roller, or would you rather have your training limited by pain for weeks? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Mistake #4 – Failure to Perform a Proper Warm-Up
- Increases heart rate
- Psychologically prepares athlete for training session
- Increases perspiration
- Increased deep muscle temperature
- Increases mobility
- Decreases viscosity of synovial fluid
Warming up is essential for maximizing performance. The majority of the benefits from warm ups are based on how increases in temperature can affect physiological processes. Elevation in body temperature increases the dissociation of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin, increases muscle blood flow, increases sensitivity of nerve receptors and increases the speed of nervous impulses. So by now I would hope that you are seriously considering doing more then two or three warm up sets before your next training session. But how do you design an effective warm up?
- Start the warm up with some foam rolling or med ball rolling.
- Start with simple movements, progress to complicated movements. Finish the warm up with whole body movements.
- Generally works best to start at the ankles and work from the ground up.
- Select mobility drills that will work each joint in its planes of motion.
- Dynamic stretching or static stretching? Go with dynamic stretching during warm up. For more info on stretching check out this article on the Hunt Fitness database “Functional Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching”
Mistake #5 – Not Using the Correct Range of Motion
What is the correct range of motion you ask? The correct range of motion is a pain free range of motion. If there is no pain throughout the entire range of motion then you should perform the full range of motion of the exercise. When I hear somebody grunting like they are about to pass a kidney stone from across the gym I know exactly where to look. It’s the leg press of course! Far too many trainees load the leg press up with plate after plate and move the sled about a foot, how disappointing. At one point I was one of these guys that would load the leg press up with ridiculous amounts of weight. I simply didn’t know any better. I am using the leg press as an example because leg training is where I observe most trainees using a partial range of motion. What are these partials actually doing though and what is the benefit to full range of motion?
Lets pretend that my leg press 1RM throughout a full range of motion (sled to bottom stop) is 600 lbs. That 600 lbs. is now 100% of my 1 rep max, as intensity increases the CNS is taxed harder and harder. So say I loaded the leg press up with 1000 lbs. and did 1 rep. I would have just performed 1 rep with 167% of my 1RM, is depleting the CNS with an insane supra-maximal load really necessary to stimulate growth or add strength? NO ITS NOT! Not only do partials increase risk for injury, due to the fact that they heavily deplete (fatigue) the CNS, strength may suffer in the following workouts until sufficient recovery allows for biological homeostasis to be attained. What else is bad about partials as compared to full range of motion?
If you are training for hypertrophy, the eccentric phase and concentric phases of a rep are important for triggering physiological processes that will initiate protein synthesis. When doing full range of motion you can get more eccentric and concentric range of motion then partials. Not only is this less taxing on the CNS, it is more beneficial for making gains in hypertrophy.
I have listed above what I believe are the 5 most prevalent training errors made in gyms everyday. My hope is that bringing your attention to these errors will help you achieve your goals in a quicker and more effective manner. If you would like to contact me you can reach me at TheStrengthGuys@gmail.com or you can follow me on Twitter @TheStrengthGuys
1. MacNeil LG, Melov S, Hubbard AE, Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. (2010) Eccentric exercise activates novel transcriptional regulation of hypertrophic signaling pathways not affected by hormone changes. Retrieved February 18th, 2012 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20502695
2. Maureen C. Jensen, Michael N. Brant-Zawadzki, Nancy Obuchowski, Michael T. Modic, Dennis Malkasian, and Jeffrey S. Ross (1994) Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People without Back Pain. Retrieved February 18th, 2012 from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199407143310201
3. Shellock FG, Prentice WE. (1985) Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. Retrieved February 18th, 2012 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3849057
Check out my new article on Machine Muscle!
What you should look for in a Personal Trainer
By: Kyle Hunt
Owner Hunt Fitness
With the influx of people jumping on the fitness bandwagon this time of year, many are looking at hiring the services of a personal trainer. I know personally at Hunt Fitness I have been extremely busy the first week of the New Year. With all of the personal trainers there are in the world it leads me to ask the question…how should you pick a personal trainer? As I began brainstorming what I personally would look for in a personal trainer, a few main points came to mind. I was able to come up with a “Personal Trainer Checklist” to go through before you hire a personal trainer. I hope this helps…
Check list to be Hunt Fitness approved!
*There are partial points awarded for some check points.
Check Point #1- Certification (1 point)
The first thing that gives personal trainers credibility would be their certification. It is too easy to acquire a certification for a supposed trainer not to have one. However, because it’s so easy you have to be mindful of how qualified it actually makes the person. There are certifications online that only cost $50 and involve passing a 50 question quiz. On the other hand there are certifications that cost well over $500 and involve quizzes, tests, practical exams and more. My main point here is make sure your trainer is certified but do not let that be the only thing you look for! This check is a pass/fail, you either get the point or you don’t.
Check Point #2- Education/Schooling (2 points)
Second on the list is education. About a year ago I would have told you that having a degree in an exercise related field is pointless. I would have said something along the lines of “it’s a glorified training certification” and I still would say that to an extent. The point is having a degree in an exercise related field widens your horizon on all aspects of fitness. Basically every class you take in the field will be the equivalent of having a certification in that aspect of fitness as long as you approach it as an opportunity to learn. Someone who has a bachelor’s degree also shows me commitment and the ability to learn at a higher level. Again it may not be the most important thing to look for, but it should definitely be noted. This check point it worth 2 possible points. (Partial points can be given to those who have an associate’s degree or a certain number of college credits)
Check Point # 3- Practical Knowledge (3 points)
Practical knowledge is right in the middle of the check list for a reason. It somewhat involves all the other aspects of the checklist but definitely deserves its own category. Practical knowledge involves knowing all aspects of fitness including training, nutrition, and supplementation as well as knowing how to implement them to benefit your clients. To gain practical knowledge it takes a constant drive to learn as much information as possible. However, there seems to be a line between people who have knowledge and those that have practical knowledge. Its seems as though a lot of people just regurgitate information, meaning they hear it somewhere and then assume they are now experts. An example of this is evident in those who are up to date on all the recent research on nutrition but if you gave them a hypothetical scenario of a client and asked them to make adjustments they wouldn’t have a clue! Knowledge is power but you need to be able to implement it! Partial points are given to those who have a decent amount of quality information.
Check Point # 4 – Experience (4 points)
As the saying goes, nothing really beats experience! There is something to be said for trainers who have been around for a long time and who have a great track record for getting clients results. I would say 2011 was my greatest year of development as trainer. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that I had my greatest workload of actual clients. I learned so much just by watching people develop and trying things out. This is definitely something you should look at when selecting a trainer! Partial points can be awarded.
Check Point # 5 – Versatility (5 points)
This is the big one and the one I feel should carry the most weight. The fact is every individual is different. Not everyone will respond the same way to a certain protocol. As a trainer you need to be able to adapt your training program to fit the individual and their goals. I see too many trainers who are set in stone to their one style of training or nutrition plans and just slightly modify it for everyone. If your workout programs look the same for everyone, there is a problem. Also if the nutrition plans you give out are basically “cookie cutter” diets that you give to everyone, yeah you guessed it there is a problem. Another thing to consider is training out of context. If you are not a bodybuilder or a physique competitor training like that is not going to be your best style of training. I see so many athletes who train like bodybuilders and focus their entire training regiment on a hypertrophy program. If you want to gain strength, power, explosiveness and functional mobility, bodybuilding training is not the most optimal means to your ends. Be mindful of the type of programs the trainer has their clients on. Of course partial points can be awarded.
To be a Hunt Fitness approved trainer you must receive at least 10 points on the checklist. This is just something to be aware of when you are looking to hire a trainer. I hope this acknowledges who the good trainers are and lets the poor trainers know they have some work to do!
Owner Hunt Fitness
2012 Hunt Fitness Classic
Sponsored by Hunt-Fitness.com, Tigerfitness.com and Marc Lobliner (MTS and EthiTech Nutrition)
This is an online bodybuilding contest like no other on the web! Bigger and Better than last year.
- Sign up– starts Jan 1st and goes all the way up until April 7th.
- Video week– April 1st– 7th Enter your video to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The video must be a YouTube video. Send the link
- Voting Week– Starts Sunday April 8th at 12pm noon and goes until Saturday April 14th at 12pm noon. Voting will be done on the Hunt Fitness site.
To sign up, send your name along with a short bio, height, weight, picture, and where you are from to email@example.com between Jan 1 and march31st. This will go up on the site as your “competitor profile”. Your video will be posted with your profile on the site.
*This is a key difference from last year. There is not a deadline to sign up. This year you can sign up all the way up until the day before voting. As long as your information and video make it in before voting starts you are in!
As soon you send in your profile it will go up on the site ASAP.
The video entry like mentioned must be a YouTube video. The video entry should be between 60-90 seconds and set up like a night show posing routine. Take into consideration music, lighting, presentation, etc as this will be what you are voted on.
This year the voting will be done by a poll that will be with the competitor profile and posing video. The voting is done by the viewers.
Whichever competitor has the most votes over the week of voting is the winner. Second and third place will be given out as well. Top three vote getters will get prizes.
1st Place GRAND PRIZE
· 8 weeks training with Marc “The Machine” Lobliner
· (2) 5lb tubs (1 chocolate and 1 vanilla) MTS Nutrition Whey
· 1 bottle MTS Nutrition Drop Factor
· 1 bottle EthiTech Yohimbine HCl
· (1) 5lb tub MTS Nutrition Whey
· 1 bottle MTS Nutrition Drop Factor
· 1 bottle EthiTech Yohimbine HCl
· (1) 5lb tub MTS Nutrition Whey
This “testimonial” is a great source of motivation so I thought it should be shared on the blog!
Testimonial from Tom Nybeck
When you try to step into the world of bodybuilding, you have to realize that
you’re not starting a hobby or a sport, you’re starting a LIFESTYLE! In the
beginning I thought I had it all understood, I would lift weights, hop on the
elliptical, and drink protein shake after protein shake. Boy was I WRONG! It is so much more than that, you have to know your diet completely inside and out, and I did not.
When I decided to attempt my first bodybuilding show I tried to write up my own diet. I remember sitting down and writing up a diet that I thought would get me through the whole 12 weeks, chicken (no measurement just as much as I grabbed or put on my plate) and some brown rice (again as much as I felt like scooping). I had actually typed this up and planned on doing it, that is until I met up with hunt-fitness. I sat down with him and he asked me “where’s your macros at?” Ummm…uhhh…I had no idea what a macro was let alone what mine were. So I asked for his help, because I soon got slapped in the face with reality. This pre contest prep was going to be more then was I had anticipated. We met up and he agreed to help me. We communicated via email and text with him sending me my diet and I followed it to a T. Over the 12 weeks I went from 248lbs to 216 on show day, with abs. I have never in my life had abs, I started out at 330lbs, 43 percent body fat! I was heading down a road of diabetes and obesity. So needless to say having abs made me feel amazing! I placed 5th at my show, but the placing didn’t matter as I learned so much, went through emotional ups and downs but with the support of my wife and family, and the hunt-fitness guidance I attained my goal. I am now starting my prep which will be 20 weeks for my 2nd show, this show I will bring something that no one will expect. I plan on documenting the whole thing which you will be able to watch though youtube and my facebook page “team
bodyrage.” And YES, hunt-fitness is going to guide me through this journey!
I owe so much to hunt-fitness, like their slogan says “One Dream, One Reality” they truly made my dream become a reality! I was able to step on stage after years of wishing. Thank you hunt-fitness and yes there is more to come!!!
Facebook: team bodyrage
Freelance Writing Opportunities
Here at Hunt Fitness my main priority is to help people reach their goals. Ideally I would be able to work with everyone one on one individually to provide the resources and motivation ensure everyone stays on track and meets those goals but that’s just not realistic. That’s one of the main reasons why I work so hard to continue to put out articles on the Hunt Fitness Blog. I want everyone to have another place to go to find useful information that can help people succeed! Unfortunately I am extremely busy and do not get a chance to write articles as frequently as I want! I go to school full time studding exercise science at SUNY Fredonia along with running Hunt Fitness and working with 8-12 clients at a time. This leads me to offer freelance writing opportunities for anyone who is interested. If you are knowledgeable in an aspect of fitness and would like to have articles published here on the Hunt Fitness Blog or the Hunt Fitness Blog 4 Females send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
with the article and if I like it I will publish it.
This also goes both ways. If you have a blog and would be interested in having myselfwrite articles for you contact me and we can see if we can work something out! I am busy but I love being able to give back to people in the fitness community because I feel it is important we stick together and grow the industry as a whole.
As always if you have any questions feel free to email them to me at email@example.com
One Dream One Reality
The Functional Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching
When you hear the word flexibility the first thing that most likely pops into your head is stretching. Flexibility and stretching go hand in hand so theconnection is obvious. The truth is, for many of you the last time you preformed or even thought about stretching or flexibility was probably in your highschool gym class! Stretching and more importantly flexibility often gets over looked by everyone from your average Joe to the advanced fitness enthusiast. Anyone who forgets about stretching is making a mistake because there are many benefits to gain from stretching. One of the most important benefits from stretching is improving your ability to perform functional movements.
Functional movements are movements that are multi-planar, multi-joint and usually require an enhanced range of motion. Basically any type of activity that requires you to get off the couch and moving around is considered a functional movement. Just
as functional movement is important for athletes to enhance performance; improving ones functional movement is beneficial in just improving one’s day to day life. To improve functional movement one must improve their flexibility. In the fitness world flexibility is simply defined as the ability of joints to move throughout a full range of motion. So to improve flexibility you have to improve joint mobility in a range of motion. This can be accomplished through two ways, static and dynamic stretching.
Static stretching is the type that most people think of when they think of stretching. Static stretching is done by reaching to a point of muscle tension and holding for an extended period of time. To improve range of motion through static stretching, stretch to the point of mild to moderate discomfort. This type of stretching is best done after muscles have been warmed up. The warm up can be anything from light cardiovascular work to even a warm bath or shower. Body temperature helps to facilitate increases in range of motion; therefore it is important to elevate body temperature before performing static stretches. Contrary to popular belief this style of stretching should not be done before a work out or physical activity even if properly warmed up. Research shows performing static stretching before exercise can cause muscles to tighten, exactly what your do not want before activity. When including static stretching into your routine it is best done either after a workout or at the end of the day. Static stretching can be used as a cool down to physical activity or as a relaxation device before bed.
Sample Hunt Fitness Static Stretching routine (Following workout or at night)
- Stretches are preformed standing and sitting down
- Pick 4-5 stretches; perform the desired holds for 2-3 sets
– Standing toe touch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Feet spread apart stretch to the middle hold for 15-20 seconds
– Hamstring stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Standing groin stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Calf stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Quad Stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Posterior shoulder stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Butterfly stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Hurdlers stretch hold for 15-20 seconds
– Sit and reach hold or 15-20 seconds
– Seal stretch hold for 15-20seconds
Although both static and dynamic stretching are important for flexibility, the more beneficial of the two types when the goal is to improve functional movement is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching uses range of movement, momentum and active muscular effort to create a stretch and improve flexibility. Dynamic stretching usually involves swinging the arm and/or legs in a controlled manner. However, unlike static stretching dynamic stretching does not require you to hold the end position. Dynamic stretching is best preformed as a warm up to activity. It is very important to not use jerky or forced movements to go beyond the range of motion that is comfortable.
Sample Hunt fitness Dynamic Stretching routine (Before activity)
- Pick 4-5 dynamic stretches and perform them before your workout or at another time of the day to improve functional
– 20 Arm circles
– 10 Body weight squats
– 10 Body weight lunge
– 20 Trunk rotations
– 5 Power skips
– 10 strides High knees
– 10 strides Butt kicks
– 10 strides Frankenstein march or the Toy Soldier
– 5 each side Scorpion
Improved flexibility through static and dynamic stretching is a great way to increase one’s functional movement capacity. Adding stretching to your daily routine will not only improve your workout performance but make your daily activities easier.
“One Dream, One Reality”