Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I hear ya...

One of the mistakes many trainers make (in my opinion) is to not "listen" to their clients. There is a saying: "90% of communication is non-verbal" and I believe that to be so. Many times clients will come in and say "I want to lose weight" or "Get stronger, feel better, have more energy..."

If I take them at their word I would dive right into a series of exercises that are in line with their goals.
The problem is that many times, client goals & wants are not
A client may have the goal of losing weight but doesn't want to change their eating habits. They may have the goal of having more energy but don't want to come in on their off-day to do some extra Cardio work. This can be frustrating for the trainer and ultimately for the client as they sense the trainers frustration.
I suggest that clear communication of Goals, Needs, Wants & Expectations be explored and articulated during the assessment.
I have learned through many failures to "listen" to my clients; not just their words, but their expressions, mannerisms and body language. As a Fitness Professional it is important to always keep our energy level high during each session with every client, however the session will crash and burn if the programming selected doesn't match what the client wants. Rather than fight a losing battle, I suggest that you give your client as much work as they can handle-that they want! The important thing is that they are making progress in a safe & enjoyable fashion. When safety or enjoyment are lost, so too is the client. Ask for feedback frequently and trust me, if your client wants to be pushed a "little harder" they will tell you verbally. If you are pushing them "too much", you might be not "listening enough." So keep your eyes, ears & mind open.

Frank Pucher

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Fitness Prescription

Why don’t more Doctors encourage or strongly suggest exercise to their patients?

If you tell me they do, I’ll tell you that the patients aren’t following their advice. Just look around the waiting room at your next Doctors visit and ask yourself “do these people look like they are exercising regularly?” Keep it closer to home. Has your doctor spoken to you about exercising? If not, I ask that you consider switching doctors. I am very serious.

I bring up the original question because it’s and issue of Quality of Life & Death. If that isn’t worth thinking about; I don’t know what is?

Doctors do believe in exercise; in fact they run to it (no pun intended) when things go wrong. If a patient has back pain, they prescribe Physical Therapy (resistance training and stretching) if a patient has bypass surgery the advise Cardiac Rehabilitation (Treadmill walking and/or Stationary cycling.) To me this is putting the Cart before the Horse. If it’s good advice after, it’s great advice before. We teach people to look both ways before crossing the street, Right?

Isn’t “Prevention the mother of all medicine?”

So again I ask “Why don’t more Doctors encourage exercise?” Perhaps it’s just easier for them to write prescriptions for a pill? Osteoporosis? Take this Phosomax. Shoulder hurt? Take this Celebrex. Cholesterol a little high? Have some Lipitor. Besides, there is no profit in exercise to be made by a Doctor;but there is profit to be made in the writing of prescriptions. Now, I’m not saying that your Doctor is writing prescriptions that you may not need. I’m just wondering? Did you ever have a doctor write a prescription and say “try this and come back and see me if it doesn’t help?” Try this!?

What are you a Lab Rat?

Some people have suggested that some Doctors may be afraid of litigation; OK, I’ll play along. More people have died due to side effects of prescription medication then from falling off a treadmill. In fact, compare the warning labels of your little pill to any treadmill. Am I to believe that the suggestion of exercise will contribute to a lawsuit? If I suggest a restaurant and someone contracts food poisoning, am I liable?

Other people have mentioned the “lack of time” (Doctors have to spend with patients) as a reason for the “failure to encourage exercise.” OK, I’ll play along. Perhaps if they suggested it (exercise) more, the waiting room wouldn’t be so busy; then there would be more time for actual patient care. It’s kind of a “catch 22.” There is no time to suggest exercise because no one exercises!

I am not suggesting that exercise can cure Cancer.
I’m suggesting that exercise can help prevent Cancer; along with Heart Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyper Lipidemia, Obesity, Arthritis, Tendonitis, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Knee Pain, Shoulder Pain, Stress, Depression, Low Self Esteem, Daddy Issues and a whole host of “Illnesses” that the doctors just love to write us pills for.

My answer to the original question is this; they don’t care about your health. They care about your sickness. In the 21st century there are plenty of Doctors that know what YOU ALREADY KNOW, “Exercise is a part of a Healthy Lifestyle & is needed for a High Quality of Life.” If your Doctor doesn’t understand or stress the importance of this; It’s time to find a new Doctor.

Frank Pucher

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Favorite Exercise

One of my "New Favorite" exercises is the Farmers Walk/Carry.If you haven't performed this exercise, don't worry - you will. It's a simple concept really; just pick up 2 heavy Dumbells (1 per hand) or a HEAVY Medicine Ball and walk a lap or two around the gym area. Though the concept is simple, the benefits are many.

* A stronger low back.
* Better abdominal strength.
* Improved posture.
* Reduced back pain & risk of injury.
* Hip Strength & Stability.
* For the ladies: No Better Exercise to Combat Osteoporosis.

I could make a few more up but my coffee is getting cold. You get my point. Now get the benefits, pick up some weight and start moving.

Frank Pucher

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thinking caps on.

Typically, people think that if they “attain a certain goal” or “have X amount of something” that will somehow bring about the happiness or the gratification they desire . Have you ever done that? Said (to yourself or another) “if only I had this, I would be happy.” Of course you have, and of course you’re still not satisfied. Why? Because you put the emphasis on the destination and not the journey.The result will never bring happiness if the process brought misery.
Miami is a magical place. You can eat stone crab and drink wine 25 ft. from a guy sleeping in the park. There was one guy, who I remembered from last year. I'm not quite sure as to his age but he's quite eloquent and seemingly pretty creative; he was weaving palm leaves into baskets & other items. At his side (last year) was a dog “Lucas” very cute and seemingly content to sit by his friends side and sleep with him in the park or wherever they retired each night. Last week I recognized him so I inquired about his (missing) dog. “Good morning, where’s the dog?” I learned that the police took the dog since “Lucas” was without documents, etc . I expressed my condolence and the gentleman replied “it broke my heart, thank you and God Bless.” Now I don’t talk religion except for when I bang my toe in the middle of the night, but I was moved by this guy. Seemingly without the means of many, he was in touch with his feelings, making his crafts with the palms on the grass and all while not really complaining. It was as if his body language said “I wake up each day and enjoy the day that I'm given.” You had to see it to understand it, but most people could learn from that guy!
Frank Pucher

(How to eat) Nutrition 101

First let me say that I have no degree or formal training in Nutrition (or Grammar for that matter) so be warned! Not only am I an un-reliable source of "legitimate" information, but I lost the 5th grade spelling bee, for failing to capitalize the (I) in indian.

Nutrition is a HOT topic for all fitness enthusiasts, even those less than enthused are interested in learning how to "eat better." Over the years I've learned a couple of things about food, drink and how to put it all together. Here is what I've discovered:

  • I feel better when I eat breakfast. Along with Coffee each morning.
  • Oatmeal of any kind works very well to keep me full and energized (add some walnuts or almonds for an extra Protein punch.)
  • A PB&J Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread is a great alternative.
  • Water, Water, Water; Each meal & All day. You don't drink enough.
  • If you are overweight, you don't! Sleepy, you don't! No matter what, you don't!
  • Stop drinking juice, it's 200 calories and you haven't eaten anything.
  • Lunch should have Protein in it, Eggs, Meat, Fish, Beans...all good, add some fruit or veggies and there you go.
  • Dinner should also have Protein and vegetables and possibly some Whole Grain Pasta or Brown Rice. I don't care how late or what time it is. Dinner is when my fork hits the plate.
  • Snacks aren't needed. You're not THAT hungry.
  • Unless your THAT hungry! Then eat more fruit or nuts (any kind) and drink more water.
  • Wine or Beer; I love them both, when I drink Wine I feel good and sleep great, when I drink beer I think I'm 20 years old again and I start staying up late. I don't know why?
  • Limit your intake of both to no more than 1 per night (unless you work the night shift, then I suggest you drink in the morning.)
  • I "occasionally" will have an extra glass on the weekends (most every weekend, Fri-Sat-Sun.) If I drink more water before bed, I feel great the next day.
  • During my life (this one) these tips have served me well, I wish you the same good fortune.

Frank Pucher

The Best Exercise to Cure Lower Back Pain

Most of us (80% that is) will experience some degree of back pain in their life and anybody who has it can tell you they’d do anything to get out of it. Back pain was once thought of almost as a mystery as to why it happened to some and not to others. It was largely blamed on tight hamstrings, poor lifting mechanics or just bad luck. But now most fitness professionals can take one look at someone and tell if they’re prone for a back injury.
This ONE exercise could save thousands from hurting their lower backs, but most will NEVER EVEN hear of it.

Ok, so poor lifting mechanics are a huge factor when it comes to lower back pain. But why do people lift poorly in the first place? It’s rare to see children experience a lower back injury like adults do for one big reason. They are still using their primitive mechanics and haven’t been sitting on their backside for years. When a baby learns to stand they do it from a squatting position, and most adults can’t even get down to this squatting position, a baby therefore can already squat better than most adults can!

When you think about it our bodies were meant to move and to move efficiently. Over the past century we’ve slowly become more and more sedentary. We’re sit when we’re driving our car, we sit while we’re working and we sit while we’re watching TV or playing on the computer. Years of all this sitting has cause the glute muscles (your butt muscles) to slowly degrade and become inactive. But we are about to teach you the single most important exercise to activate your glute muscles so they fire and you’ll be less likely to experience a back injury.

The exercise we are talking about is called the Hip Bridge. The hip bridge is a fantastic exercise to fire the muscles of the gluteus and get them back into action. Having these muscles strong and ready to fire will effectively aid in relieving you of back pain and will help give you correct lifting mechanics.

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Raise your toes up towards the sky keeping your heels on the ground.
Lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your butt cheeks together really hard.
Hold the position once your body has become perfectly straight from your knees to your shoulders. (use a mirror to help)

Start this exercise by doing holds for 20-30 seconds for 2-3 sets. Eventually, graduate to moving your hips slowly up and down for 12-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets with a 1-2 second pause at the top. We strongly recommend incorporating this exercise into your warm-up when you workout, every 2-3 hours after sitting, or if you are in back pain and would like some relief. And do your best to walk for a few minutes after sitting for an hour or so, you’ll feel better and be on your way to living healthy and pain-free.

The Team @ Fitness 121