This is the second installment in our Personal Trainer of the Week series. Each week, one of our trainers will develop a 5-day workout routine. This week, we bring you Greg Morris' schedule.
Greg joined the Downtown Athletic Club team in August 2007. He specializes in weight lifting and helps his clients reach their goals. He has a bachelor’s degree in Heath and Human Performance from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.
If you've been wondering what you should eat after a workout, you aren't alone. While it is necessary to refuel the body, you can't just eat any old thing. The best foods to consume after a workout are those rich in amino acids. Specifically, you should eat foods containing leucine.
Be sure to consume food rich in protein after your workout. Protein repairs worn out muscles that were put to the test during your gym session. While plenty of people understand the importance of protein, most don't know that certain proteins are better than others when it comes to refueling the body. Amino acids are actually the building blocks of protein. Protein-rich foods contain 20 key amino acids, one of which is leucine.
Why Leucine Is Important
Leucine is necessary to repair your tired muscles after you put them to the max during an exercise session. Consuming foods with leucine after exercising is just as important as the workout itself. It performs a vital function in the synthesis of muscle protein. Muscle synthesis occurs when the body creates or re-establishes new proteins that are much stronger than old ones. Without leucine, your muscles might not completely repair themselves. So consume a snack with 20 plus grams of protein and 5 grams of leucine acid after your workout. This is exactly what your body needs in order to repair its muscles.
Studies have shown that those who consume a food with 5 grams of leucine and 23 grams of protein enjoyed one-third more muscle protein synthesis compared to those who followed up their workout with food containing merely carbohydrates and fat. It is also worth mentioning that those who consumed food with three times the amount of leucine and protein did not receive a similar benefit. Therefore, it is not prudent to load up on amino acids in hopes of repairing your muscles at a faster rate or to an even greater strength.
Foods To Eat
Thankfully, many foods with protein have leucine. Eat peanuts, chicken, oats, eggs, almonds, soybeans and salmon. Combine these foods with some carbohydrates for the ultimate post-workout meal. Pick out foods with complex carbohydrates like vegetables, grains and fruit. They'll stimulate muscle building pathways to help your body recover. Other food combinations that will help rebuild your body after exercising include salmon with broccoli and brown rice or a couple hard boiled eggs with whole grain toast.
If you'd like some one-on-one training and nutritional advice from a personal trainer, join the Downtown Athletic Club. Our personal trainers will educate you about exercise techniques, the human body and nutrition. Our facility also features a cycling studio, a basketball gym, multiple racquetball courts, massage therapy and much more.
If you enjoy total-body resistance exercise (TRX), you should be aware of some common mistakes that can prevent an effective workout. These mistakes can impede progress and boost your risk of an injury.
A Faulty Beginning
If you start out with your body in the wrong spot, it can cause significant problems. Don't begin your TRX session far away from where it will end. You can easily lose the tension in the straps and get hurt.
Start out by determining how much tension you'll require. This can be accomplished by initiating your TRX session toward the end range of motion. This allows for full tension throughout the duration of the movement. For example, if you perform a bicep curl, align your body where the movement will end. Your arms should curl and your hands should be at the temples. From this position, bend at your elbow and pull your body in the direction of the anchor where the TRX connects.
If slacking creeps into your TRX moves, it'll reduce the workout's effectiveness. This typically happens when the straps are too loose. If you allow the straps to slack, you will likely slack as well. So make sure that there is ample tension. It'll maximize the impact of each movement from the beginning of your TRX workout all the way until the end.
If you end your TRX session with scrapes or other wounds, don't accept it as a part of the exercise. Scraping typically occurs during chest presses as the straps press against the shoulders and arms. Be sure to keep the straps away from your skin. This is a bit more challenging, but it'll up the intensity of your TRX workout. Never let those straps rest on your body. Either move your hands up a few inches or maintain a strong focus on your arms' stabilization muscles to prevent contact.
When you tire during your workout, it becomes challenging to remain stiff. Yet if your midsection sags, you'll heighten the risk of an injury as it puts your lower back at risk. Always stay aware of your body's positioning. For example, in a plank, remain aligned all the way from your ankles to your knees, hips and ears. This alignment will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your workout and keep you in a safe position.
It's easy to make a mistake while engaging in TRX. If you have any hesitations about your form or exercises, lean on the expertise of the Downtown Athletic Club'spersonal trainers. Try our TRX class to get professional instruction.
Exercising can work wonders for our bodies as long as they are performed in the proper manner. Those who exercise with poor form can experience disastrous results. It is very easy to injure yourself and end up on the mend for weeks or even months. Faulty form can even cause permanent injuries. Let's take a look at how to properly perform some of the most common exercises.
If your knees fall out during hip raises, your groin muscles (adductors) do not have adequate strength. Place a cushion or towel in between the knees while lifting. Take care to not let it fall. This will help strengthen your groin muscles while simultaneously giving your thigh muscles a good workout.
When most people perform squats, they tend to look down. This is done instinctively. Unfortunately, looking down during squats causes the body to lean forward by a few degrees. While it might seem like a minor issue, it can have a significant impact on the body. If you lean forward while performing your squats, you might strain your back. Focus on keeping your upper body lifted high and never look down. This will decrease the risk of a lower back injury, help you boost the amount of weight that you can lift and improve your rep counts.
While pushups might seem like a simple exercise, plenty of people perform them with a flawed form. To perform pushups in the proper manner, refrain from putting your palms flat on the ground. Make use of hex-shaped dumbbells. Hold their handles in order to flatten out your wrists and alleviate unnecessary pressure that could cause an injury. This technique will also increase your rep counts.
When you perform lunges, hold a dumbbell on only one side. Doing so forces the obliques and lower back muscles to stabilize the rest of the body. This transforms lunges into an exercise that works the core as well as the legs. Try it out and you'll understand the efficiency of this technique.
If you'd like some professional instruction that will help you decrease your chances of an injury, lean on the experienced personal trainers at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo. Our trainers will work with you one on one or in a group setting. Let us know what you are most comfortable with and we will make it happen. While we encourage all Amarillo residents to become members, membership is not necessary for our personal trainer services.
Exercise is always important, but the manner in which you workout can determine how physically fit you become. Let's take a look at some of the top mistakes people make at the gym.
An Excess Of Steady-State Cardio
Don't go all in on steady-state cardio. Excessive work on the treadmill, bike or elliptical will not enhance your body's ability to burn fat. It might actually spur a weight gain as excess cardio causes many people to overeat following their workouts. Reduce your cardio to half an hour a few times per week.
Working Only The Visible Muscles
Take care to work all of your muscles, including those you can't see. While it's nice to look buff, your body needs a balanced workout.
An Excess Of Isolation Exercise
If you perform plenty of isolation exercises to work the biceps, triceps and legs, you should be cognizant of the fact that too much isolation work can be harmful. Most of your workout routine should center on compound exercises like bench presses, deadlifts and shoulder presses.
Working The Core First
Most people want washboard abs so they work their midsection first. Don't go right to the ab mat. You can work your core muscles with each standing strength move. Focus on lunges, step-ups, squats, shoulder presses and you'll find that your core muscles get a great workout. If you do crunches, sit ups or other core-focused exercises first, your abs will be fatigued before you transition into your standing strength moves. This can easily lead to an injury. So always work your core last.
Performing The Same Routine
Mix in some variety. If you hit the gym on autopilot, your body will get used to your routine and fail to progress. Tackle new challenges so your body and mind don't settle into a comfort zone.
Insufficient Rest In Between Workouts
It is possible to go too hard. Don't exercise every single day of the week. It is prudent to take one or two days off to let your body recover. The human body needs rest and relaxation in between periods of intense physical activity. This allows muscles to repair themselves. So, give yourself two days off per week and incorporate some low-intensity level workout sessions as well.
Instead of trying to design your own workout, lean on the knowledge and experience of one of the Downtown Athletic Club'spersonal trainers. Our fitness experts can develop an exercise program that is custom tailored to your unique goals.
Most people understand why it is important to eat healthily. While plenty of Americans have drastically reduced their intake of fat, sodium and cholesterol, many still consume sugar. It's not enough to cut out sugary cereals, soda and candy. There are hidden sugars in a wide array of foods.
Know What’s In Your Food
The average person doesn’t take the time to inspect the nutrition labels on food products. Performing this task is time-consuming and it can become quite annoying in a crowded supermarket. Yet it is a necessary task. If you don't put forth the effort to study exactly what is going into your body, you'll end up consuming much more sugar than you assume. Start inspecting those food labels and you will be surprised at just how much sugar is in a lot of these allegedly healthy foods.
Sugar Has Addictive Properties
The problem with consuming sugar is that it is nearly as addictive as some soft drugs. While food scientists have stopped short of claiming that sugar is just as addictive as drugs or alcohol, there is no doubt that it is addictive. Once we start eating sugar-laden foods, it is difficult to stop. Few people can limit themselves to just one handful of sweets because sugar alters the brain chemistry in a manner that resembles addictions to drugs and alcohol. To put it simply, sugar makes our brains go bonkers. When we consume sugary foods, our brains release a euphoric chemical called dopamine. Those who do drugs like heroin do so in a quest for a similar dopamine rush. While dopamine levels do not surge as much when someone eats candy as they do with heroin, the high is still achieved.
Where Sugar Hides
You might be under the impression that your allegedly healthy range of foods does not provide a sugar high. Unfortunately, this might not be the case. Nowadays, there is hidden sugar in foods that are marketed as “light,” “healthy” or “nutritious.” Food manufacturers sneak sugar into these foods in an attempt to keep eaters coming back for more. So, you might be getting a sugar high without even being aware that it is actually happening. The problem with consuming sugar is that it causes us to crave even more sugar to achieve that dopamine rush once again. It also reduces our sugar tolerance so that it takes more and more to satisfy our cravings.
The Downtown Athletic Club can help. We have personal trainers available to help you get in shape and eat healthier. Take advantage of all of our facilities. We have three racquetball courts, a basketball gymnasium, a Keiser indoor cycling studio, massage therapy, whirlpools, steam rooms and much more.
Losing weight is difficult and there are so many tips and techniques for taking it off. The tried and true answer to weight loss is exercise and a healthy diet. But did you know stress levels also play an important role? Stress awaits you every day, and if you’re trying to lose weight, trouble doing so can compound the issue. Here is a little bit more about why the scale may not be moving because of stress, and what to do about it.
How Does Stress Affect Weight Loss?
Stress, referred to as the silent killer, makes your body think it is being attacked, making your body go into fight or flight mode. In times of high stress, the body shuts down the digestive system in favor of sending blood to the muscles in case you need to run. While this is good for times you find yourself face to face with a bear, it isn’t good for daily life.
When the body is not digesting nutrients, food and other things you consume are not being filtered properly through the kidney, intestines and liver. As a result, food may be moved through too quickly, jipping your body of nutritional necessities.
Additionally, the body may think you’re about to be in a situation where you will not have food available so it automatically starts storing up calories for later use. The body stores calories by turning them into fat.
What Can I Do To Lower My Stress Levels?
This is something no one can really answer but you. However, there are many great suggestions. When looking to fight stress and lose weight, look for opportunities to do something fun. If you hate going to the gym to hit the treadmill, it only makes matters worse.
Find a exercise class you love that will help you burn calories. Something like cycling or Bikini Bootcamp can get you going thanks to great teachers.
But it is also important to find times when you can just breathe. Yoga is great for helping you focus on being in the moment. Having presence is a key to meditation and letting go of stress. Not only will you be focused on breathing in and out and controlling your thoughts, but your muscles will also find room to open up, letting the physical stress melt away. Try Flow Yoga at Downtown Athletic Club.
Don't let stress ruin your weight loss goals. Visit the DAC and find a plenty of fitness classes to peak your interest and make exercise a relaxing part of your routine.
Can you really have too much of a good thing? Of course you can. And when it comes to exercise, having too much can actually do you more harm than good.
Whenever you start a new endeavor, you’re excited and you want to participate in it every waking hour. Whether we’re talking about a new activity, career or relationship, it is human nature to want to dive right into the deep end and immerse yourself in it.
When you start a new exercise program, your enthusiasm and excitement can ultimately sabotage your plans. By overtraining, you can set yourself back physically and mentally.
Pain Hurts More Than Your Body
One way to tell if you are exercising too much is if you’re experiencing chronic pain. If you are still sore days after a workout, this could be a sign that you are overtraining. If you are having a hard time sleeping or your sleep patterns have become erratic, this could be a sign of overtraining.
Exercising too much can also lead to serious injury as your muscles and ligaments are not as strong as they used to be. Overtraining may also weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to cold and flu.
These physical ailments can also have a negative effect on your mind. If you continually get injured or are always, tired you will start to associate exercising with negative feelings. If this happens long enough, pretty soon just the thought of exercising will put you in a negative state.
Get On The Right Track
The easiest way to avoid overtraining is to give your body ample time to recover. Give yourself one full day in between workouts. This will not only help you physically, but it will also help you mentally. By taking this break, you mind will have time to desire the feelings you get from working out. You will actually want to workout.
You should also make it easy for yourself to succeed. When you first start a workout routine, make it easy to complete. Maybe run one mile instead of trying for five. If you are lifting weights, only do one set instead of three. By making it easy for you to complete your early workouts, you will get a sense of accomplishment and will be more likely to stick to your plan. You can always increase the intensity of subsequent workouts if your current ones are too easy.
If you are concerned you are overtraining, it may be beneficial for you to consult a professional and review your routine. The Downtown Athletic Club is staffed with certified personal trainers who can answer all your fitness questions.
Many people trying to lose weight or stay fit see carbohydrates as the enemy. They cut out carbs completely, and then wonder why they have no energy left to exercise. The truth is, when you eat the right carbs, you're powering your body in a healthy way.
There are good carbs and there are bad carbs. When you eat good carbs, your body converts them into the fuel in the form of glucose that you need to get through the day.
What Types Of Carbs Are There?
Carbs are broken down into two categories: simple and complex. Complex carbs are mainly grains, legumes and nuts. Complex carbs are good for you because they slow digestion and contain many healthy minerals and vitamins.
You'll find simple carbs in fruits, vegetables, rice, dairy foods, and pasta. These carbs contain a multitude of antioxidants, fiber, water and other nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy.
What Carbs Should I Eat?
So, how do you know which carbs are the right carbs and which ones to avoid? Complex and simple carbs both have their benefits, but some simple carbs, like sweets, refined grains and snack foods, aren't going to provide as much nutrition as the carbs found in vegetables, fruits, dairy and healthy grains. You should eat these in moderation or limit them to get the most out of your carb intake.
Some carbs to add to your diet include beans, oatmeal, bananas, blueberries, barley, squash and whole wheat pasta. Opt for wheat bread and avoid foods that include high fructose corn syrup. Popcorn is also a good carb and a healthy snack, provided you leave the butter and salt behind. You don't have to avoid rice and pasta; just switch to the whole wheat versions to get the best of these carbs. And always remember, moderation is key.
Staying healthy can be challenging, and all of us could use a helping hand. That's where the Downtown Athletic Club comes in. We offer extensive fitness equipment as well as a variety of exercise classes that fit your needs and your schedule, as well as personal trainers who can point you to the right nutritional plan. Contact us to find out more about membership, or stop by the Downtown Athletic Club today to take a tour of the facilities.