As fitness professionals, we are often approached with the question of what is the best, most efficient way of analyzing body fat. There are only a few methods that are applicable in a gym setting: circumference measurement, electrical impedance, and skinfold analysis. Both circumference and electrical impedance have a larger percentage of error, so the blog will compare the accuracies of the Durnin-Womersley four-site skinfold and the Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold. While other methods for skinfold measurement exist, these are the two most commonly used.
For our research, we will use six individuals of varying gender, body size, age, and shape to compare the different methods. According to our anthropometric findings, the variation between the four and seven-site, is greatest in females and the largest differential occurs with age. The four-site has a larger fluctuation with older females and this is supposed to account for lower body density resulting in more visceral fat accumulation. Fifty to Seventy five percent of fat is subcutaneous, thus the difference in estimate between methods can only be proportional to the remaining body weight.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, select skinfold equations can have a marked overestimation of body fatness. The Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold test is known to be more accurate because of the formulation, variation, and quantity of sites being used having a relatively low margin of error in comparison to hydrostatic weight of only 3.3% inaccuracy. A lot of individuals have differing shapes in the lower body region, and none are included in the Durnin-Womersley skinfold test, making it more reliant on estimation.
Regardless, periodic skinfold measurements will give a reflection of change despite the estimate of body fat percent. In other words, doing regular skinfold measurements will still show changes that are occurring.
If you would like to check body fat measurements or have further questions, please contact either Amber Gruger or Amber Walz.
Tank tops, swim suits, strappy sundresses – warmer weather is just around the corner and that can send even the fittest women into a frenzy! Not only do you want to get your body in top, toned shape, but you also want to be ready for anything the season might toss your way.
Here’s a Pilates move that will give you shapelier arms, sexier shoulders, stronger back, and of course, strengthen your core. Perform this exercise at least 2-3 times a week and include it your regular total-body Pilates program and/or current fitness regime.
In no time, you’ll be able to “bare” it all; looking strong and sculpted in any sleeveless style the warm weather demands!
Pilates Push Up
Stand tall with your heels against the back edge of the mat; toes turn out to the Pilates V.
Keeping hips over heels; inhale; pull your navel into your spine and roll your torso down toward the mat. Place hands on the mat slightly more than shoulder width apart. (Knees can be slightly bent.)
Exhale and walk your hands out onto the mat until your palms are beneath your shoulders and your heels over your toes. Your body will be in a Plank (or Push-Up) position – a straight line from head to ankles.
Perform 3 Push-Ups with the elbows into the sides of the body. To come out of the Push-Up, fold up in half, bringing your chest toward your legs; pressing your palms and heels into the mat. Pull your navel in and give yourself a gentle stretch.
Inhale, walk your hands back toward your feet; trying to keep your legs straight.
Exhale, roll your body back up to a standing position and repeat 2 more sets.
For an advanced challenge, perform the entire Push-Up sequence while balancing on one leg. The same steps apply for the Single Leg Push-Up; remember to keep your leg lifted throughout the entire exercise; repeat the exercise on the other leg.
If you have ever seen a Nutrisystem commercial, you are missing out. In fact, check this one out before you go any further, it’s worth watching.
Did you catch the bit on the “proven science of the Glycemic Advantage?” I love that line. The good folks over at Nutrisystem have found a way to scientifically determine which carbs are good and which carbs are bad, and created a weight loss program around that premise. At first glance it may seem that the judgment on some carbs is too harsh. Maybe the “bad” carbs had a rough up-bringing and they never had an appropriate role model to teach them any other life-path.
Jokes aside, Nutrisystem , and may other diets are based on the notion of the glycemic index. Glycemic index (GI) is a way of ranking carbohydrates in terms of how quickly your body can break them down into usable sugar in the blood. Pure glucose, the most usable form of sugar, has a GI value of 100. Low GI foods have a value of around 0-30 and are found in foods like legumes, lentils and bitter fruits. Medium GI foods, like sweet fruits and whole grains have a value of around 30-60. Processed bread, food with added sugar and dried fruit are high GI foods with a value over 60.
Glycemic Index is important because the rate that carbohydrates are converted into glucose impacts your blood sugar levels. High GI foods increase blood sugar rapidly which triggers a large release of insulin. Insulin reduces the level of blood sugar by storing some of the sugar as fat. This roller-coaster effect on blood sugar is problematic for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but it is also bad news for people concerned with their weight.
Making some substitutions to replace high GI foods in your diet with low GI foods can help you lose weight. A 2009 review of randomized, controlled trials found a consistent effect of weight loss for those who followed diets rich in LGI foods. One study from the review showed equal weight loss for those engaged in an energy restricted, low fat diet that included high GI foods compared to an unrestricted low glycemic index diet. The people on the low GI diet were allowed to eat until they were full for the duration of the diet whereas the conventional dieters where compelled to monitor and restrict their food intake. And there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups! If you do not like the hassle of dieting but need to lose weight, consider incorporating more low GI foods into your diet. It is by no means a magical solution or an excuse to overindulge in fatty foods but it just may be a kick start your weight loss. Look at the GI table below for some examples of common foods and think of some meals and snacks where you can swap a high GI food for a low GI food. This is far from a complete description of how to use glycemic index to your advantage.
Please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer with your questions.
Have you experienced the elusive “perfect shot” moment? Your intention is clear, your swing is fluid, and your body and mind are synchronized. Your swing tempo, your movements, and firing of the muscles are working together. As a golfer, I love it when everything comes together. Would you like to have those moments consistently?
Both Golf and Pilates are mind-body activities and share some of the same basic principles. Golf and Pilates principles include precision, centering, power, control, and concentration.
Pilates is a great tool for conditioning both sides of your body and preventing injuries that plague golfers. Golfers are repeatedly bending over the ball, twisting their body in one direction and exerting the same muscles over and over. Pilates restores balance and realigns the body to bring back the natural, normal movement pattern.
Specific Pilates exercises build balance, strength and flexibility, while teaching the body to move in an efficient way. This program is designed to help golfers’ finesse their game, improve their swing and drive the ball further.
For more information contact Jocelyn or 206-441-1111, ext. 216.
Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to promote healing. All three forms of water (liquid, steam, ice) can be used therapeutically.
Advantages to hydrotherapy are:
It is almost always available.
It is easy to learn and perform.
It is painless and has no ill side effects.
It is inexpensive and can be done at home or at the gym.
The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood. This is important because blood delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from tissues and organs. If circulation is poor or slow, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs. By improving the quality of blood, more nutrients are available for cells to use and toxins are managed more efficiently.
General therapeutic uses of hydrotherapy include:
Pain and swelling of injuries
Elimination of toxins
Improve immune function
Hydrotherapy treatments include the following:
Baths & Showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating. A rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.
Hot Foot Bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10 – 30 minutes. It is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. Indications for use are foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.
The compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet. When the feet are treated, it is also known as warming socks or wet socks treatment.
Contraindications for Compress
Skin conditions irritated by moisture.
Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Castor oil applied topically has many beneficial effects and can be used for almost any malady. The castor oil pack is a simple procedure, yet it can produce wonderful results. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include, but are not limited to: stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation, and reducing inflammation.
You can buy castor oil at most any pharmacy or grocery store. Apply liberally to the area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Place a flannel fabric or tshirt (something you don’t mind gettin oily) over the area and place a hot water bottle or other heating device over the fabric. This is a great thing to do just before bed, as the heated abdomen is very relaxing!
If you take regular cycling classes or are an avid cyclist, Pilates can be used as a cross training tool.
Whether performed on the mat or specialized equipment, Pilates increases core strength and stability. If your core is stable, your body can devote energy and power to your legs. When flexibility improves, risk of injury to neck, spine, knees, and lower back is lessened.
Benefits specifically related to cyclists include:
Greater effectiveness of pedal stroke
Increased upper body strength
Prevention of lower back pain
Better endurance through focused breathing
Correction of muscle imbalances
Next time you ride, think about how your body is positioned on the bike. Proper alignment helps you power up hills and sprint past opponents.
Most common postural faults are:
Rounded (hunched) shoulders
Excessive curve of spine
Forward head posture
Tight calves, hip flexors, hamstrings and low back muscles
Pilates can help correct these faults. It promotes proper body mechanics and postural awareness. Joseph Pilates believed that “the mind moves the body”. Pilates gives you the tools to create that body awareness.
Regular Pilates also helps prevent common injuries and discomfort. For example, cycling works mainly the quadriceps (front thigh). This can lead to a strength imbalance in the leg muscles and to muscle injury. Therefore, having balance between the quadriceps and the ‘opposing’ muscle group— the hamstrings — boosts the recruitment of those under used muscles. The body works as a unit, giving you the edge.
Consider adding Pilates to your workout regimen—it can pay off big; enhancing your performance and enjoyment of cycling as well as the activities of daily living.
Do you ever see those swimmers in the pool who seem to go so far and fast but seem like they aren’t trying very hard? What’s up with that? How is it that they seem to be swimming slow but they are moving through the water like fish?
It’s because they are. They are allowing their entire body—from the arms and shoulders through the torso to the hips and legs—to join the fun. Many people swim with just their shoulders and arms and hope they can drag the rest of their body along without sinking first.
Rotation and glide is critical to a more efficient and effective stroke. In my experience teaching swimming, I find that the two biggest impediments to a well timed rotation and supported glide is awkwardness in the breathing and trying to balance with the recovery arm.
Breathing should always be calm and controlled, even in sprints! Inhale through the mouth and exhale though the nose. Take time to exhale completely before taking another breath. The amount of time you are inhaling should always be shorter than the time you are exhaling. (Click here to find out why.) You should be rotating your head easily and looking slightly behind you on the inhale. Wait for your elbow to extend past your head before returning your head back into the water. Start exhaling immediately and smoothly through your nose. This process should become very rhythmic whether breathing every second, third or fourth stroke.
The rotation should be full and done with your hips and torso, not the shoulders. Balance will come from your core. Your recovery (the hand that is traveling out of the water) should be just that, a recovery. It should be relaxed, free of tension, and placed into the water rather than thrown in. Practice leading you arm with the elbow and dragging your finger nails through the water during the recovery. If you can sustain that, you will be well on your way to becoming one of those swimmers who make it all look so effortless!
Gymnastic rings + you = super fun and strong times!
Now, I know what you are thinking… It sounds a little crazy but trust me, you can do it and you will love it! Gymnastic rings are a great tool to improve core strength, shoulder strength and flexibility, increase body awareness, and improve total upper body strength. I’m sure you can remember the last time you were upside down (those keg stands in college were a long time ago!), but you should totally give it a shot! It’s amazing how just getting inverted will teach you so much about your body in space and show you just how little control and awareness you have!
Gymnastic rings can be used to get inverted, for various pull up exercises, and for lockouts… Think Iron Cross. There are many many many steps before you will get strong and flexible enough to do real fancy things with the rings, but that’s part of why they are great. Even just learning the basics will give you so much body improvement in such little time you will be amazed! Here are a few things we do in class:
Pull ups: Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and keeping that position thought the full movement, this can also be done assisted if you cannot do a pull up (yet!). Doing a pull up this way will increase core involvement, increase shoulder range of motion (rotating your hands at the top to touch your shoulders to the rings), and increase lat strength (starting from a dead stop and taking out any leg/hip flexor assistance), it’s amazing how pull-ups on the rings are so different than on a bar!
Lock outs: Getting up on the rings and locking out your arms. Sounds easy enough…the higher the rings the more you have to jump into lockout; which is challenging to jump up and power your arms straight down at the same time. You can do lockouts for time, with hand rotations, or with knee/leg raises for added core effort. Getting into position over the rings takes a ton of tricep, lat, core, and shoulder strength! You will be amazed at how challenging this simple movement is!
Ring Inversion: We start with the basics of just simply getting upside down. Getting your hips over your head is tough; ideally we work to do that starting under the rings with straight arms and pulling our legs up with just the use of our core and lats. That is incredibly challenging so using a bit of a pull up, getting a step in start, and using a spotter are all great ways to start. Once you get upside down you use your core and shoulders to maintain balance and control. When you come back to the floor we focus on core strength by slowly lowering your body down in a ball until your feet touch the floor. That is a tall order to say the least!
These are just a few basic exercises we do with the rings. The possibilities are endless however. You will be amazed at how quickly your strength, control, and skill come along on the rings with just a little effort!
Interested in trying out the rings? Come join the fun and challenging ring workouts today!
Contact Personal Fitness Trainer Adriana Brown.
One of the key components to any exercise program is cardio, however for most there is still a lot of mystery surrounding this topic. What machine works the best? How fast should I go? How much time is needed? As a result of this confusion most will tend to gravitate to one machine and perhaps even worse, remain at one pace and intensity for weeks on end. The goal of this article is to shed some light on this topic and leave you with some alternative ways to challenge yourself in a more time-efficient and fun manner.
How long should my cardio be?
There are many theories surrounding the topic of most effective duration of a cardio workout. It seems as if every year there is a new study claiming 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes, etc. is the key to the most effective cardio workout. With such a wide variety of options to choose from, all claiming to be the superior method, it tends to leave many overwhelmed and confused. There is however good news. What virtually all of these methods have in common is the inverse relationship of time to intensity. The more intense the activity, the shorter the time needed to produce or maintain a training effect; the less intense the activity, the longer the required duration. In short, if you find you only have 30 minutes to devote to cardio, rather than choosing a light jog, try adding in sprint intervals. This will in turn not only promote positive changes to your cardiovascular system, but will also have a significant impact on the total number of calories burned.
What machine works the best?
This is often one of most discussed aspects pertaining to cardio training and unfortunately there is no right answer. Regardless of the machine, all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, while the treadmill has the added benefit of forcing the user to exercise at a certain pace, it provides little to no benefit to the muscles of the upper body. The elliptical provides a low impact option to cardio training but leaves the intensity of the workout solely up to the user. All of these machines can have tremendous benefits but it is important remember to challenge your body in new ways regularly. Remember, there is no “perfect shape”, rather than always gravitating towards that same cardio machine, try a new machine each week. This will help keep your body balanced and prepared for whatever life throws at you.
Lastly, while we all know those certain individuals who absolutely love nothing more than spending an hour on a cardio machine, the reality is that this doesn’t describe the vast majority of us, myself included. Possibly the most difficult hurdle involving cardio to overcome is the mental aspect. All cardio machines revolve around a repetitive movement than can quickly become boring and monotonous. This is especially discouraging when the goal of a quality cardio workout is to challenge your body through intensities it isn’t used to. Here is a list of cardio workouts that will hopefully spark your interest, and in the process, might introduce you to a few new pieces of exercise equipment.
For more information on cardiovascular training or questions surrounding the four workouts, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Will Paton.