Tag Archive: strength


I decided to change this because I personally hated the other one.  After I posted it, I just couldn’t stand it.  I since chose to re-write it in a different, more readable form.  At least that’s my opinion.

Dr. Anthony Abbott
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1.  Personal Trainers

It seems logical to believe that personal trainers would be the best source of health and fitness information.  Sadly, this is often not true, but it can be.  Allow me to elaborate. Continue reading

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Dr. Anthony Abbott
Photo Credit

The fitness world is a fascinating place.  It’s a lot like the wild west.  There is little regulation, and a lot of people like to overstep their boundaries.

On one end of the spectrum, you have personal trainers.  Although education isn’t the only factor in producing results, you should still scrutinize your trainer’s education.  Frankly, what they don’t know could potentially debilitate you.  The Exercise Science PhD who heads up our vocational school Fitness Institute International is also an expert witness in fitness-based court battles.  He has had to testify against a lot of trainers who have made uneducated mistakes.  Some of these mistakes resulted in permanent injury to the client.

We don’t say that to scare you.  We say it because it’s true.  Did you know there are personal training certifications you can take online?  Tyler decided to research them and see just how rigorous they were.  He was shocked by what he found. Continue reading

At Fitness Institute, we were taught in our first class that women should exercise just like men.  There’s not much of a gender difference.  A muscle is a muscle.  Since men and women both have to do the same things in real life (walk, push stuff, pull stuff, etc.), they should exercise the same way.

The only reason there’s any question about this is because ignorant marketing companies have pushed stupid products where women are advised to be terrified of lifting any weight over 3lbs.  Apparently, if you pick up that 5lb dumbbell, you will morph into the Hulk.  No woman wants to become a ripped monster with a green skin tone.  There aren’t any matching L’Oreal shades. Continue reading

Disclaimer:  This is just what I do currently.  I’m not saying everyone should do this.  Also, these are simply progressions of different exercises.  Some people are less advanced than me and some people are more advanced.  Treat yourself accordingly.

I still had a little pain/soreness in my hamstrings today.  Because of that, I made sure to focus on how each exercise made my hamstrings feel.  If anything would have made it hurt worse, I would have stopped.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Continue reading

How To Beat Lower Back Pain

Regardless of who you are, you probably know someone with lower back pain.  While the causes are numerous, one of the major contributors is a weak core.  This is something I’ve learned the hard way myself.  I’ve had minor lower back pain from heavy lifting, and I watched my best friend end up with a permanent injury from a herniated disc.  Thankfully, although he can’t do some exercises, he can still fully function in everyday life because he has been training his core strength.

Keep in mind that what I’m about to say is only an exercise science perspective.  I’m not in a position to prescribe exercise for someone with a serious injury.  If you have a serious injury, call your physical therapist.  I am, however, in a position to tell you how to make your core strong so that you can prevent future or alleviate current non-specific lower back pain. Continue reading

Look Strong By Being Strong

So far, our articles have typically focused on getting women into the free weights section of the gym.  While those articles are definitely needed, this one is for the Generation Y (16-29) guys who have figured out that they need to lift, but they aren’t getting the results they’re looking for.  The good news is that there is a solution.  The bad news is that it’s hard.

After about ten years of trying every type of workout I could find through books and the internet, I’ve found one major principle that has worked every time I have tested it.  That principle is that if you become strong and powerful, your body will look strong and powerful.  You really don’t have to look much farther than natural bodybuilders, olympic sprinters, and strongman competitors.  They are all very strong individuals, and their bodies merely display that attribute. Continue reading

Because of Lisa’s past, one of her greatest passions is the mission of “Beautifully Built”.  While she enjoys helping all kinds of people, this project is probably the nearest to her heart.

It’s significant enough to us that it will have its own tab at the top of our website from now on.  The following is the beginning of “Beautifully Built”:
(or you can see the actual page here: Beautifully Built Page)

 

What being Beautifully Built is all about…

Beautifully Built is just for women.  It’s about redefining what beautiful means, what beauty looks like, and how beauty acts. Beautifully Built is not just about being beautiful on the outside, which is a skewed idea in this world anyway, but it is about being beautiful on the inside. It is about having confidence in yourself, being comfortable with who you are, what you believe, and what your abilities are.  It is about building strength in your mind and soul. It is also about building a strong body, where you can feel comfortable in your skin.

I believe that building strength on the outside helps you build strength on the inside.  In the past I personally dealt with an eating disorder and even as I was gaining weight and getting better, I still felt weak and had no confidence in myself.  As I began to lift weights and build a stronger body, which also helped me get healthier, I began to carry myself a little differently.  I was walking taller and felt like I could voice my opinion. I felt as though my thoughts actually mattered and that I actually mattered. My confidence began to grow.

Even though I have accomplished a lot of hard things academically, I never felt like they added up to anything, but weight lifting has given me something I can’t seem to explain.  That is what I want to pass on to other women.  I want to redefine what being beautiful is and what it means to feel beautiful. I want this to be a place where women can come together to share struggles and build each other up.  I want it to be a place of truth and unity. I want to give women confidence, I want them to feel powerful and strong, inside and out.

March

12 – Lisa’s Article for “What’s Tha Word?”
8 – A Husband’s View on Feminine Strength
4 – A Final Farewell to Pink Dumbbells: A Guide for Strength and Functional Training for Women

February

24 – Cheerleader
21 – How To Get a Fast Metabolism – Part 2
16 – Losing Weight: The Scale Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
13 – And I Was Running
2 – Benefits of Strength Training for Women

 

Please understand that my intention is not to discredit the Navy Seals or claim their ignorance.  These are simply my own musings as I’ve started looking at the subject of military combat training because of talking with my friend John Ryan of http://www.stratconusa.com/.  I’m using the Navy Seals as an example mainly because they seem to be the most prominent branch of the military to the public (the Navy Seals taking out Osama, the movie “Act of Valor”, etc.)

I’ve been researching their workouts and brainstorming on how to make them better.  I’m not going to say that the system is bad, but I am going to propose some ideas on how to make it better.

My first point of contention is it seems that initially they’re often so focused on passing the Seal Fitness Test (SFT) that they don’t take the time to understand exactly what needs to be trained for military personnel in combat.

Essentially, the Seal Fitness Test is:

500 yard swim in less than 12 minutes and 30 seconds
Two minutes to do at least 42 push ups
Two minutes to do at least 52 sit ups
Do at least 8 pull ups before giving up
Run 1.5 miles in less than 11 minutes and 30 seconds

Well, it’s a decent way to distinguish a fit person from an unfit person, but it’s certainly no predictor of who will survive a battle. Continue reading

A couple days ago a man came up to me and told me that I should have Lisa stop lifting weights because she is getting too strong.  I thought he was messing around because I have recently been beaming with pride as I’ve watched Lisa do heavier power and strength lifts.

Well, he wasn’t kidding.  He said it wasn’t attractive.  I have no idea why he let me know that.  I can’t remember ever asking for his opinion on whether Lisa is attractive or not, and I don’t think any other guy will hear me ask them such a preposterous question.  Of course she’s attractive.  She’s drop-dead gorgeous.

Although this guy made these remarks, he’s still a nice guy.  I like having him around, and I like seeing him.  I just think that his thoughts allude to a deeper issue in society.  This issue is what it means to be feminine. Continue reading

I know women have goals of getting fit and toned and then turn to the women’s fitness magazines with this month’s “Get In Shape” plan.  And not that these plans are totally worthless, the moves may be great, but most plans tend to start like this:  What you need is a mat, a pair of 3-5 pound dumbbells…. How in the world do they expect you to get toned and strong if you are lifting with a total of 6-10 pounds.  Most babies are born 6 pounds and then if you factor in carrying a car seat, that is way more than 10 pounds.  Do they expect muscles to magically appear?

I do agree that everyone has to start somewhere and progression is key, but I also think that most women are a lot stronger than they think and have the potential of being a lot stronger than they expect. If starting out with all body weight exercises is hard for you, then start there and that does cause muscle to grow, but only so much.  So, what happens when that gets easy? You add more repetitions. Then what happens when that gets too easy? You add more weight.  My professor always used to tell us, “behind every shapely curve in a woman’s body, there is muscle.”  These “shapely curves” he was talking about are the “toned look” most girls are wanting.  So to get toned, women must build muscle.

How do we build muscle mass?  There is a concept in weight training called the SAID principle.  SAID stands for “specific adaptation to imposed demands”.  Translation: Your muscle adapts only to what you put it through.  If you only train your arms to lift 2 pound dumbbells, then your arms are only going to be able to lift 2 lbs or maybe a tiny bit more.  If training with 2 pound dumbbells is honestly hard for you, there is no shame in that.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

The point is, if you do a ton of reps then you are training for endurance.  If you are an endurance athlete, then this training might be for you.  The same principle is why sprinters train the way they do.  They do short bursts of power because that’s what they have to do in a race.  If you are a mom who carries a baby around, then you want to train your muscles for that activity.  If the goal is to build muscle mass and to get toned, then you must challenge the muscles in that way.  The other goal that every woman should have is to move smoother and more functionally.  This takes our focus off of machine only training to doing more day to day movements to make our bodies move more efficiently and will make everyday activities easier.  Eventually picking up groceries out of the trunk and up the stairs will become easier.  Running and walking will be less tiring because you will be training your muscles to work together as they do in everyday life.  Then, adding the extra weight will help you gain the muscle mass to look and feel great.

To build muscle mass, choose a weight or body weight exercise that you can do the exercise for 8-12 repetitions.  This means to choose a weight where you can barely eek out the 12th repetition.  I would suggest doing a weight lifting program that lifts 3 times a week, with a day in between and doing one exercise for each body part.  Start with doing one set for each exercise and as you get into better shape, then add sets for each exercise.  If a woman is still in the bone building years, then doing a few sets of 4-6 repetitions is highly beneficial for building bone mass.  This means she’ll be lifting heavier weights than she did when she was doing 8-12 repetitions.  

Example:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Anterior reaches
  • Bent over rows
  • Cable (or band) standing rows
  • Recline pulls
  • Cable (or band) chest presses
  • Push ups (these can be on the floor or on the wall)
  • Shoulder presses


Just do one set each of 8-12 repetitions in the beginning and add weight when you can do 13 or more in a set.

The Sin of Yo-Yo Dieting

One of the cardinal sins of health and fitness is yo-yo dieting.  It destroys your health.

Yo-yo dieting is a repeated cycle of weight loss followed by weight gain.  At first, this doesn’t appear all that bad.  So, somebody went from 200lbs to 150lbs and back to 200lbs.  Who cares?  Yeah, they’re back where they started, but at least they’re not worse off now!

Unfortunately, they are worse off now.  The body can be a difficult machine to master.  Since your body is entirely concerned with survival and not very concerned about your figure, it doesn’t get along with the yo-yo dieting concept.  Consider the following example:

Continue reading