MIGHTY FIT

The one weightlifting exercise everyone might be overdoing

If you’re even remotely into the world of exercise and fitness, chances are you’ve noticed more people, particularly women, catching on to the various benefits of weight training over the past few years.

However, according to Dan Roberts, a personal trainer to models and movie stars, while there are countless benefits of weightlifting, there’s far too much emphasis on it within the world of fitness — particularly for women.

Business Insider caught up with Roberts at the Be:Fit London fitness festival, where Roberts gave a talk on mental health in the industry.


Originally a sports coach, Roberts has been a strength and conditioning trainer in New York, Australia, and London, working with elite and pro athletes and sports teams.

His accomplishments involve training India’s national tennis team, Britain’s junior ski team, and “a lot of pro wrestlers and pro fighters,” he told Business Insider.

About 10 years ago, he moved to Rio and became the in-house trainer for a big modeling agency, working with Victoria’s Secret models, before moving to Thailand to become a pro fighter for a year.

Eventually, his experiences led him to London, where he set up the Dan Roberts Group, which operates a number of companies offering personal training, online workouts, nutrition, branded fitness products, and fitness retreats, with a “small growing team” in New York.

While he says he trains “the biggest A-listers you can think of,” whether it’s an athlete, a model, or an actor preparing for a role, the company keeps things low-profile. “The reason I get clients like that is because I don’t tweet about it, [it’s not] on my Instagram.”

Through his company, Roberts tries to inspire better body image, as he believes there’s too much focus on looks in the industry.

“The main thing is exercise can be really good for mental health, but if you do it mindlessly trying to look hot, that’s not good for mental health,” he said. “Your approach towards exercise, the relationship you have with your body and food, and the relationship you have with exercise are all really important, so we try and help people with that.”

The obsession with squats

Roberts believes the one exercise the fitness world it too obsessed with is the squat.

“We tend to live quite quad-dominant lives, which means we sit down all day, and we sit up, we tend to lean forward, because when we sit down our hip flexors tighten, and our glutes switch out. Certain things tighten and these end up working more.”

He added: “If these are working more and your hamstrings are weak and your glutes aren’t working, to me it doesn’t make sense to do exercises which do exactly the same.

He said that holding a heavy weight and “going up and down a bunch of times” is “not very functional.”

“To me we don’t need to be that strong and it’s emphasising the muscles which, for most of us who sit down in the Western world, have overdeveloped.”

He also added that he works with a lot of women who want a firm bum and toned legs, but not big thighs — and the weighted squat is the opposite of what they’re after.

Instead, he recommends his clients do posterior chain exercises, like a deadlift.

“You bend over and stand up — that is far better than a squat,” he said.

“I very rarely give a squat just because I want people to have balanced bodies. When you have a balanced body and less muscular imbalances, you have less injuries.”

Strength is just one part

As a strength coach, Roberts believes that if you’re only doing a short half-hour workout, “weight training is more bang for your buck, because you strengthen the bones, you increase metabolism, and also when you’ve got a stronger body it’s more bulletproof to injuries.”

However, while he pushes the benefits of weight training, he said that fitness obsessives do not focus enough on “multi-directional movements — playing, basically.”

“We’re way stronger than we need to be,” he said. “If you go to the gym now people are deadlifting 200 pounds — [but] the only time you ever need to do that is in a gym. We don’t need to be that strong. We need to have a balance of flexibility, endurance, coordination, strength — strength is just one part. There’s too much emphasis on strength.”

He added that there’s a myth within the industry that because women don’t have as much testosterone as men, they can’t bulk up.

“A lot of what personal trainers are taught is you must have the right hormones to build up and weights will never get you bulky,” he said. “It’s not true — weights can get you bulky.”

Treat your body like a unit

Planning leg day, chest day, or back day at the gym is a very “1950s, 1960s bodybuilding view,” according to Roberts.

“If you’re a bodybuilder with those goals, it is an effective way. You don’t have to do total body if you want to isolate.”

However, he said: “Most of us aren’t bodybuilders, so that approach doesn’t really make sense. For 99% of us, it makes sense to work the body as a unit, because we’re designed as a unit. That’s why sports is really good.

“Say you’re serving in tennis or playing netball, you’re using your upper body and lower body together, working two or three planes of motion, twisting and bending, [which is] way better than just (lifting up and down).

“Generally, I disagree what that targeted approach. But there are always exceptions. If I’ve got to tone someone for a film, and they have to have a big chest, I’m not going to pay tennis with them, I am going to do a bench press. Like all of these things, for the majority of people I disagree, but there’s always exceptions.”

Work with your environment — and body

Roberts’ own fitness routine changes all the time.

“I’ve got a competitive sporting background,” he told Business Insider. “I was a county level tennis player, I played lacrosse for England, I’ve done ultra-marathons, I’ve had fights professionally, so it depends what’s going on in my life. At the moment, I’m doing quite a lot of cardio stuff.”

He added that he recently worked with a client abroad, so they spent time kayaking and swimming every day.

“I’m not training for a particular event right now, so I usually let the situational environment dictate. If I’m in a gym I’ll do more weights, if I’m outside I’ll do more running, if I’m on a beach I’ll do more swimming.

“I’ve done so much training over the years that I like just playing.”

He added that along with your environment, your own personal needs should also dictate the type of workout you’re doing.

“If you want to look after your bones, swimming is terrible for you, but weights is great for you. If you want to improve flexibility, don’t do boxing, do yoga. It depends on what you want.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY FIT

Fantasy Football After Action Report: Week 11

An assembly of trusty vets round out this week’s Blue chip medals and the Badass hit of the week.


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That is playing fearless. Josh Allen with the bomb to John Brown #Billspic.twitter.com/oj1k7EoT1Z

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Blue chip medal

John Brown, WR, Bills- Introducing your top fantasy scorer of week 11— John Brown. Brown is the best-kept secret in fantasy football, and an absolute stalwart of consistency. He is the only player in the NFL with at least 50 receiving yards in every game (putting him at 9.5+ in every single game). The only problem with Brown? His schedule includes ball-hawking secondaries down the stretch, including Pittsburgh and New England.

Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens- Ingram took the stand in his post-game press conference Sunday and basically said he’d toe-up with anybody who doesn’t think Lamar Jackson is an MVP. Very few people would take up that fight (maybe Russel Wilson would… or Ciara). However, Jackson should say the same about Ingram being a pro bowl RB. Ingram is the 12th highest scorer in running backs and a staple of the most dangerous offense in the NFL.

Michael Thomas, WR, Saints- Michael Thomas just quietly broke the record for most receptions through 10 games in NFL history. He’s on pace to beat the single-season reception record, and is obviously a PPR wet dream. Just listen to his last four fantasy outings: 25.4, 28.2, 27.3, and 22.1…. Need to take a cold shower after that.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys- Well that annoying dude you went to basic with is finally right, the Cowboys have a quarterback who could throw for 400 yards. Dak threw for 444 and put up 31.6 fantasy points this last week en route to a stellar stretch of fantasy games. He has weapons, an offensive line, and a dynamite running back—sky is the limit for Dak come fantasy playoffs.

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Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff when they realize someone has to win the gamepic.twitter.com/u1SBcVfYqZ

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Loss of rank

Jared Goff, QB, Rams- The Rams are broken. Much like a femme fatale in an old noir flick, Goff secured his bag (4 years for 4 million) and immediately went missing. He looks confused, lethargic, and does not have the lethal running attack of yesteryear to float his poor play. He’s still owned in ~70% of ESPN leagues, while plenty of more viable options float around unclaimed.

Latavius Murray, RB, Saints- Murray’s streak of dominance in Kamara’s absence is over, and it is time for Murray to retreat back to the loamy fringes of deep 14 team league lineups. Murray is a talented downfield running back, but simply doesn’t have the opportunities moving forward to put up any kind of viable numbers, save for a vulture goalline TD here and there.

Devin Singletary, RB, Bills- Singletary has become a roster staple across the league, if only because of the shallow RB pool this year. It seems like he’s a consistent presence for starting rosters across ESPN, but after posting back to back single-digit performances against the Browns and the Dolphins (dis-respectfully), there are more promising backs floating around.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins- Well, the “Scary Terry” reign has ended as abruptly and disappointingly as his NBA counterpart “Scary” Terry Rozier’s did. He’s put up nothing but single-digit efforts since week 6. Barring injury, Haskins is going to be under center moving forward, which does not help his case.

Crazy circus catch by Deebo Samuel. (via @akashanav)pic.twitter.com/AqmP57GCze

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Promotion watch

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers- Samuel may be the most potent weapon in Jimmy G’s arsenal. Don’t buy it? Peep Deebo’s absolutely insane catch above. Outside of his catch-of-the-year caliber grab, he’s got back to back 19+ point games against fierce secondaries in Seattle and Arizona. He’s available in about 70% of leagues, and is worth a waiver while pickings are slim.

Ryan Griffin, TE, Jets- Griffin made use of a massive opportunity in Herndon’s injury. He had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He had multiple red zone targets from Darnold and, in a time when tight ends are at an insane premium, could be a viable option down the stretch.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons- Calvin Ridley is giving fellow ex-Alabama receiver Julio Jones some serious relief. When Jones draws double coverage and key safety attention, Ridley is punishing secondaries for not spreading the attention. It makes for a teeter-totter of production between the two receivers— but Atlanta’s offense is too much of a playground to ignore.

Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys- Gallup is trending upwards in fantasy production. Gallup is benefitting from lining up on the opposite side of Amari Cooper in the same way that Ridley benefits from playing alongside Julio Jones— he is able to torch the weaker coverage defensive backs. Gallup has put up three double-digit fantasy performances in a row and could be on a major upswing.

Nick Bosa, meet Larry Fitzgeraldpic.twitter.com/Q4NXIG2AnL

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Badass hit of the week

Larry Fitzgerald

A really fun NFL fun fact: Fitzgerald has more career tackles than drops. Another fun NFL fun fact: that old man will still lay you out. Fitzgerald crack blocked the young phenom Nick Bosa in a poetic stroke of old school’s undying grip on all things tough. “Ok Boomer…”

MIGHTY FIT

How to use the gym to manage stress

You are probably living in a state of chronic stress. That means you always feel some base level of uneasiness, all the damn time, and not just when your drill sergeant is screaming in your face.


Thinking about the PFT? Chronic stress. Conducting the PFT? Acute Stress.

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Chronic versus acute stress

Chronic stress and its associated hormones prevent the human body from operating the way it is supposed to. For instance, people who are chronically stressed tend to get sick more often and more severely than those that have a healthier amount of acute stress. This is a classic example of the body following the mind. A sick body follows a sick mind.

In his book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky explains how mitigation of chronic stress is imperative for health, not just physical health but also mental health, spiritual health, and emotional health. One way to learn how to handle that stress is to observe those who are composed and calm.

Calm as a cucumber, but ready to make some gains.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

Some of the calmest people in the world are as follows, in no particular order:

  • Power-lifters
  • Olympic lifters
  • Sprinters
  • Fighters
  • Operators
  • Explosive athletes
  • Endurance athletes
  • People on their deathbed… sometimes

Most of these groups of people have something in common. They purposely put their body under extreme acute stress and learn to overcome it. Acute stress is the much shorter and easier-to-overcome type of stress. It gets our hearts pumping and our bodies primed for action.

Most of the above activities will satisfy your physiological requirement for release. I don’t recommend waiting until your deathbed to accept your fate and finally find peace though…

Consistency of effort breeds progress…Same shit, different day, better person.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

Why lifting makes the most sense

The goal is to expose ourselves to acute stress so that we can mitigate chronic stress. I prefer barbell movements for this, for a few reasons:

  1. It’s an economic use of time. → The same physiological end-state can be met in 5 minutes of heavy back squatting as it would after running a marathon or fighting in a cage for 5 rounds.
  2. It’s the safest of these modalities. → Barbell movements require the least amount of time under stress, so overuse is mitigated. The movements are a skill that have proper form, whereas the other methods are more dynamic and therefore have a greater chance of something going awry.
  3. It’s measurable. → The weight doesn’t change. 400lbs will always be 400lbs. The more constants in an equation, the easier it is to solve for (x). For instance, let’s say you decide to sprint. If the wind is blowing in a different direction, or the incline of your running path is just slightly different, it could completely change your output, and thus require more or fewer iterations than the previous session. For a quantitative person, this is too many variables to have to constantly calculate.

Check out that support system in action… It’s a beautiful stress reducing thing.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

How the weight room meets the recommendations

The American Psychological Association has set some recommendations to help manage stress. Allow me to show you exactly how 3-4 strength training sessions focused on compound movements satisfies all these recommendations.

  • Set limits – Drop a heavy set of bench press on your chest one time and you will learn how to set limits. Understand that the bench press is a metaphor to literally pushing tasks through to completion. One task too many and you crumble. This lesson applies to all other facets of life.
  • Tap into your support system – Being part of a team is something we all need. Many of us joined the military for this very reason. Having workout partners that rely on you to keep them safe and healthy is one of the purest forms of community available to us today.
  • Make one health-related commitment – There are countless hormonal and physiological benefits of weightlifting. Your health-related commitment to the back squat is to survive and not allow the weight to crush you and your ego. It teaches us that we have the power to get those heavy life issues that are weighing us down off our backs – one rep at a time.

Overcoming acute stress in the great outdoors just like our ancestors.

(Photo by: Frame Kings)

  • Enhance your sleep quality – The body craves movement and adversity, and when it overcomes that adversity through physical dominance it feels like it can relax. Sleep is your body’s way of rewarding you for putting in work.
  • Strive for a positive outlook – Have you ever seen someone frown after a super heavy deadlift? Nope. Usually, they start smiling as soon as the hips lockout at the top. It’s really hard to think the world is all doom and gloom when you repeatedly prove to yourself that you can move a previously immovable object with a smile.
  • Seek additional help – This is where spotters, gym buddies, coaches, and veteran gym rats come in. Put in enough time and work, and eventually, you’ll be the one the young guys look to for approval and guidance. It’s extremely difficult to be stressed when you exude confidence and have the battle scars and stories to prove it.

Pleasant lifting.

MIGHTY FIT

6 things you should never do or say at the gym

The gym is full of people of every age, race, and religion, all of whom have their own reasons for being there. It’s a place where people can build themselves up, both mentally and physically, in a positive environment. Unfortunately, there’s a select few who show up with other things on their minds.

These “gym skunks” usually show up to hit the weights, but then quickly decide to do and say stupid sh*t, leaving people asking themselves, “why even show up?”


Avoid these 6 things to save yourself from being one of those skunks.

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Circuit training outside of circuit training sessions

Circuit training is a workout method in which you conduct a series of exercises, back-to-back, in a specific and dedicated area. One biggest pains in the ass is when you’re about to use a machine or bench and somebody rushes over from the other side of the gym to let you know they’re using that machine.

Unless the gym is specifically dedicated to circuit training, this kind of behavior boils down to hogging machines that you aren’t even currently using.

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Keep yourself together, man.

Gawking

Some of the most beautifully fit people show up to the gym to get their daily workouts in. Sure, some people like to turn heads — they’ve worked hard on their bodies and the ego boost is nice. So, by all means, we give you the blessing to look their way and (politely) admire.

However, it’s important to respect that some gals or guys go to specific lengths to not attract your pervy eyes. For example, if someone’s wearing a baseball cap down low to avoid eye contact, do them a favor and leave them alone.

“You should really think about modifying your technique.”

We’ve seen this happen countless times: Someone giving workout tips to a person who isn’t seeking advice. It’s even funnier when the person handing out tips is out of shape.

But if someone asks for advice, then it’s cool.

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Updating your social media with selfies

A visit to the gym shouldn’t turn into a photo shoot. Those who attend the gym on a daily basis and see amateur models snapping selfies in the mirror make this face:

Being an equipment vulture

We understand that there are people who want to workout and get out of the gym in a timely manner. This means finding those open machines and bench areas to push out those reps. Unfortunately, those areas might not be available when you want them, so you’ll have to wait for an extra minute or two.

Instead of giving your fellow gym patron time to finish their exercise, some hang around like a freakin’ vulture, waiting to swoop in the moment you’re done.

It’s f*cking annoying.

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Going shirtless and posing

We get that you want to work on your posing routine in front of the mirror. Honestly, we can respect it, even more so when you have a competition coming up.

However, there’s no need to do it in the middle of the gym where everyone can see you. Most gyms have rooms where they teach classes and in those areas, they have mirrors where you can work on your posing. Going shirtless and posing in front of people who may have issues with their bodies is a f*cked up way to drive them away from their fitness goals.

MIGHTY FIT

How to fix your elbow pain

I used to look down on people with elbow pain.

How can your elbow hurt unless you’re dropping “The People’s Elbow” all day every day?

Turns out there’s a lot of craziness that can cause elbow pain, and almost none of it has anything to do with what The Rock is cookin’.


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Intrigued?

There are two general types of elbow pain; golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow. Two very white collar injuries that have nothing to do with spandex singlets or cage matches. That’s good for us. It means we don’t need to fight a roided out muscle man to relieve our elbow discomfort.

Check out that wrist extension. There’s a reason it’s called tennis elbow.

(U.S.Air Force photo/Bill Evans)

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow comes from an issue with your forearm extensors. Those are the muscles on the same side of your forearm as the back of your hand.

Repetitive movements that engage the extensors can start to cause them to become overactive, eventually shorten, and pull away from their connection on the outside of the elbow.

Tennis players generally live in an extended position while swinging the racket, when the ball is hit those muscles loosen dramatically. It’s that rapid contraction and loosening that causes pain.

This same thing happens in the weight room, whether you’re benching or manipulating dumbbells; the forearm extensors end up in a stuck contracted position. This is an overuse injury that is super easy to fix, which we’ll get into shortly.

Just some AF brass doin’ what they do best…

(U.S. Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

Golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow is the exact opposite problem of tennis elbow; the issue is in your forearm flexors. Those are the muscles on the same side of your arm as your palm. These muscles become overly contracted, shortened, and eventually pull away from the bone on the inside of the elbow.

Golfers tend to live in this position when they hold their club.

In the gym, this pain can occur from cheating on pulling movements. When your back is too weak to finish a movement you may tend to curl the weight in closer with your forearm to get an extra inch or so of movement. If you’re too weak to let the weight back gently, which is probably the case, if you’re cheating on the rep, it’s going to snap back and cause an eccentric pull in your forearm. Over time this leads to chronic pain.

Elbow Pain When Working Out (WHY & HOW TO FIX IT!!)

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For those of you who work for a living

These issues are repetitive stress injuries. They don’t happen all of a sudden after a dramatic accident. Repeated stress over weeks, months, or years makes the pain a reality in your life.

Any motion that you do every day has the potential to cause an issue over time.

  • If you turn a wrench.
  • If you pull a trigger.
  • If you type at a keyboard (like me these days).

The most astounding thing about elbow pain is that it has nothing to do with your elbow generally. It’s all about the muscles attached to your elbows. This runs true for almost every injury you can imagine. Our joints are just locations where pain manifests; they aren’t the place where it originates. I talked about this same concept in the knee when it comes to knee pain in the squat.

10 Best Self-Treatments for Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

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The fix

Massage helps. It really does. These guys in the above video do a great job of explaining how you can start to rehab an issue.

But, the best pain management protocol is a pain mitigation protocol. Train your way to not only pain-free forearms but build the forearms of a Disney prince at the same time.

Here are three simple exercises you should be doing 2-3 times a week to keep your forearms strong and balance out any imbalances you may be developing from repetitive work.

  1. Supinated Forearm Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  2. Pronated Forearm Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  3. Plate Pinch Carries: 3 sets of 20-30 feet
Just add these to your training sessions three times per week until the pain subsides. Once you’re pain free you can reduce to training your forearms one time a week.

I fully understand that this article is by no means exhaustive. Respond in the comments of this article on Facebook or send me a direct message at michael@composurefitness.com with your sticking points, comments, or concerns on all things elbow pain.

I’m also making a push to keep the conversation going over at the Mighty Fit Facebook Group. If you haven’t yet joined the group, do so. It’s where I spend the most time answering questions and helping people get the most out of their training.

MIGHTY FIT

Use this Jedi training technique to balance out your force production

The Force is constantly out of balance. First Anakin was supposed to bring balance, but he turned into a cyborg sociopath. Then Luke was meant to bring balance; he screwed the pooch as well though. Now here we are hoping Rey is able to put a US Marine in his place and finally balance the damn thing out.


The above is a serious imbalance in a galaxy far far away a long ass time ago. The imbalance I’m about to help you correct is a whole lot simpler and straight forward.

It’s the balance of strength and function between the front and back of your upper body. If you have a serious imbalance, you may be suffering from postural discomfort, pain, or significant stalls in your training. You don’t need a Jedi to solve this, all you need is basic knowledge of the push:pull ratio.

Vertical and horizontal pushes and pulls are what you should be counting when it comes to your upper body ratio.

(@iqphysique96)

What the ratio means

You may have noticed some training plans online are broken up into three separate training days: push day, pull day, and legs day. The push and pull days refer to the upper body.

Pulling muscles are those that help you pull. They’re located on the back.

Pushing muscles are the muscles that help you push. They’re located on the front side of the body.

In order to maintain a balanced posture and ability, the front and back of the upper body need to be somewhat even in strength and capability.

Sloped shoulders? You may be doing too many pushes and need to add in more pulls.

(Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash)

When things are stronger one way or another, you see people with posture that just doesn’t look right, not to mention their ability to apply force AKA strength.

All training plans can be broken down in a ratio of push related to pull to see where their focus is. You just count the pressing movements and pulling movement, then reduce the fraction. Don’t freak out, I know fractions are intimidating, it’s typically really small numbers like 4:4 or 8:6. We just reduce those down to 1:1 and 2:1.5 respectively.

For instance, the Mighty Fit plan is a 1-to-1 push-to-pull ratio. That very simply means that for every push exercise that you do, you also do a pull exercise.

Time to add in more pulls. Horizontal 1-arm rows are a great exercise to help balance out an overactive chest.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

How/Why to move to a 1:2 Push:Pull ratio

If your chest and front delts are particularly large and tight, they will pull your shoulders and scapulae forward and give you that rounded upper back look. Strengthening your back muscles like your lower traps, rhomboids, and lats will bring some balance into your posture and relieve you of any discomfort.

Training all chest and sitting at a computer all day is a very common lifestyle for most of us. I’m guilty of it, and just about every peer of mine in the Marine Corps was the same.

The easiest way to correct an upper-body imbalance is to change your push/pull ratio. If you have forward shoulders from sitting at a computer all day, switch to a push/pull of 1:2. Do one push exercise for every two pull exercises.[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BdP21ywHLar/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link expand=1]Michael Gregory on Instagram: “Talking Programming Now . Antagonist pair sets are a great way to program your exercise selection. . Push Pull is a great way to program…”

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How/Why to move to a 2:1

If your back is overactive and tight, often seen in surfers, your shoulder blades will be pinched together, and chest will be open. This is from a strong back and a weak front. Presses and push-ups will bring balance back into this person.

If your job has you hiking a lot, you may be used to having your shoulders pulled back and together. If your nipples are facing the sky or you can barely get 2-3 fingers between your shoulder blades, this is you.

Changing your push:pull ratio to 2:1 may help your chest take some control in your upper body.

In addition, when you do conduct pull exercises, ensure that you are allowing your shoulder blades to move with the movement. Don’t lock them back and together (like you do in heavy bench presses with your back pinned into a bench).

The biceps are actually a pulling muscle and the triceps are a pushing muscle. Check out the arm primer article for how to train these further.

(Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash)

Now apply this ratio to you

If you have mild pain, discomfort, or a noticeable strength imbalance your first step to remedy things should be to change your push:pull ratio. It’s a simple solution to a problem that will prevent some “bodywork expert” from getting involved. You have the power, and now, the tool to bring balance to your internal upper body force production.

In the Mighty Fit plan, there is a pressing movement everyday set up as a push/pull set that is paired with a pulling movement. You’ll gain ample size and functionality in your upper body over the duration of the plan. If you are starting from a place of imbalance now you have all the information you need to change the plan to suit your exact needs; add a push or pull!

If you haven’t started the Mighty Fit plan yet…what are you waiting for? Click the link in the left navigation bar of this site page.

MIGHTY FIT

Why you should be training, not exercising

Though the distinction between training and exercising might seem unimportant — it isn’t. How you label your physical activity says more about you, your mindset, and your probable rate of success than any PFT score ever could.

I first saw this difference at The Basic School in Quantico. Some of my peers were former college athletes, and a few were training in our off-time for an upcoming marathon. These peers had goals and a plan to achieve them. The rest of us were just doing what I now call “exercising,” random workouts on random days, inconsistently.


I’m on the far left, standing and squinting.

(Photo by Michael Gregory)

The Marines who were actually training were the only ones I knew who could keep a solid schedule and maintain their fitness levels during The Basic School. The rest of us got by on an ever-dwindling fitness reservoir that was nearly empty by the time I finally finished the school.

I finally started applying this training mentality to fitness during the Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor Course. The course itself was a constant physical beat-down, but in the few classroom lectures, we were taught how to set up a MCMAP and combat conditioning plan for our units. It was then that I realized I could design a plan to become progressively more difficult as fitness levels increase, the same way a pre-deployment workup gets more complicated as the deployment date nears.

A classic case of the slay fest.

(Photo by Cpl. Brooke C. Woods USMC Recruit Depot San Diego)

How I loathed unit PT…

I used to think I hated PT just because I disliked being told what to do.

I have come to realize I actually hated unit PT because it is exercise and not training.

Most units plan solid workups to prepare each member of the unit to the max extent possible with all the skills and proficiencies needed for when they are actually ‘in country.’ This is training, a clear plan that progressively increases in difficulty and complexity with an end state in mind.

I have rarely seen physical fitness approached in the same logical way in unit PT.

Most units approach PT in one of two ways: as a slay fest or a joke.

  1. A Slay Fest: (n) from the ancient Greek Slayus Festivus, meaning make as many people puke or stroke out as possible in an effort to assert physical dominance and make less-fit service members feel inadequate.
  2. A Joke: just going through the motions and checking the quarterly unit PT requirement box.

Neither one of these has the intention of making better the members of the unit. In fact, slay fests often lead to injuries which have the opposite effect on unit readiness, while potentially initiating a hazing investigation because a junior NCO decided to play drill instructor.

Is this a training session or exercise? …Seriously though, what is this?

(Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash)

The difference between training and exercising

In the Marine Corps, I saw what could be accomplished when a proper training plan is followed to the most minute detail. I also saw what type of chaos or indifference towards fitness can result from no plan and/or unchecked egos.

This is why you should be training. The most successful athletes are those that have a plan in place that works them towards a goal. I’m a firm believer that everyone is an athlete no matter what your job or current station in life.

Marines are constantly reminded that it doesn’t matter what your MOS is, you could find yourself in combat and you better be prepared for it. Even though some roll their eyes at the idea of a finance technician lobbing grenades in a firefight, they still have an underlying feeling of pride that this is a potentiality.

Promotion on Iwo Jima. I swore to not waste anyone’s time with exercise on that day.

(Photo by Jeremy Graves)

I carry that with me to this day. Constantly thinking about what I would do if a fight breaks out — or if ‘patient zero’ of the zombie apocalypse strolls into my part of town — doesn’t keep me awake at night in dread. It keeps me awake at night in giddy anticipation because I’m training for that sh*t every. Damn. Day.

Of course, your reason for training doesn’t need to be so heavy, violent, or world-altering. Simply wanting to be able to throw a perfect spiral with your future son is a perfect reason to be training. If you need a more immediate time frame, choose a challenge: sign up for an adventure race, a marathon, an adult sports league, or a powerlifting meet (I just took second in my first meet and got a free t-shirt #winning #tigerblood). Train for the on-season or the event day.

As a member of the military community, it’s in your blood to conduct work-ups. Now it’s your turn to determine where and when that “deployment” is and how you train for it. Exercise is a word for people who throw out their back trying to get the gallon of Arizona Iced Tea off the bottom shelf and into their grocery cart. They need exercise; you need to be training.

MIGHTY FIT

The easiest way to fix your crappy ‘I work at a desk all day’ posture

Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle that does not promote good posture.

Right now, I’m in a terrible postural position, typing this very sentence. That’s pretty meta.

The answer we most often hear is that we need to exercise. Great! But telling someone with bad posture to exercise is like telling someone who just had their heart broken to “get over it”… Duh! But how?

How do you get over someone as perfect as Megan? Err… I mean, how will exercise fix your posture?

You need a targeted approach. Specifically, one target. Specifically, one exercise.


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The answer to your postural woes.

I’ve talked about the beautiful balance between push and pull exercises and how you can customize that relationship here to create a more balanced strength training program.

For many people, one training session a week isn’t enough to combat decades of staring at a computer screen like depressed Charlie Brown.

Welcome to the face pull.

It’s a pull exercise sure, but it has the unique distinction of hitting those smaller back muscles like the rhomboid and rear delts that often get overshadowed by the lats and traps.

The face pull directly targets those muscles that actually help you keep your head and shoulders back.

The great thing about it is it’s self-limiting and generally not fatiguing…So you can do it at the end of almost every workout.

This is one of the exercises that is leading the fight against the effects of sedentarism.

What weight to use.

Take a squared stance and bend your knees slightly. If the weight is too heavy, this stance will cause you to fall over.

Your goal is for your hands to beat your elbows to your face on every pull as you pull the resistance to the double biceps position. If your hands can’t beat your elbows, or if they can’t even get to your face, the weight is too heavy.

Those two factors will keep the weight light enough so that you don’t load up the exercise to a point where your upper traps and lats take over and completely destroy your ability to work your rhomboids, teres minor, infraspinatus, and less used lower and middle traps.

It’s those small guys that have the greatest impact on your shoulder health and posture.
Stop Doing Face Pulls Like This! (SAVE A FRIEND)

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How to perform it.

Set up a resistance band or cable machine at your face height.

Grab the rope or band with your thumbs facing in towards each other.

Pull the implement to the bridge of your nose until you reach the double biceps position. You should feel like someone who is super serious about hitch-hiking

ENSURE your hands get there first. If your elbows get to the ending position first, you’re wrong.

Just like with most rows and pulls your shoulder blades are leading this exercise. As you pull back, your shoulder blades should be getting closer and closer together. When your arms are fully extended in front of you, your shoulder blades should be completely apart and separated.
My FAVOURITE SHOULDER PREHAB Exercise: The Face Pull

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When to perform it.

Literally all the time. Perform three sets of this guy at the end of every workout until you win a Quasimodo look-alike competition for having back muscles so huge that you resemble the caretaker of the bells of Notre Dame.

If you’re sore, refrain. If you are actually doing this exercise properly, it is hard to work to the point of chronic DOMS in your minor upper back muscles.

Add this to the end of all your Mighty Fit Plan sessions. Consider it a cool down.
MIGHTY FIT

5 ways to work out with a trainer without paying for it

It’s no secret that enlisted troops don’t make a lot of cash (especially when you think about what’s asked of them). The military has mandatory fitness requirements for active troops, but even so, PT sessions concentrate on limited exercises geared toward passing the PT test. Many servicemembers also have families who want a healthy lifestyle, but who can’t afford a gym membership.

Most military base gyms are pretty exceptional but, like all tools, these workout faculties don’t mean sh*t unless you know how to use them. Hiring a personal trainer to put you through a series of workouts can get super pricey and most troops can’t afford someone’s expert advice on how to get leaned out.

So we came up with a few ways to help you learn from those expensive trainers without paying a freakin’ cent.


Learn workout tips from trainers as they work with their other clients

In many of the non-exclusive gyms, once you enter the facility you’ll notice many of the trainers are putting their clients through their paid workouts out in the open. This is a great time to be at the gym.

Now, without looking like a complete stalker, it’s okay to take mental notes of what exercises they’re conducting and how they are performing them.

You can use that visual information and put it in your bag of workout routines for later. If you just happen to overhear the trainer’s personal critique of a specific exercise, then that’s a huge plus.

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We don’t care what it is — it’s free!

Search for free personal training vouchers online with no commitments

One of the best ways for physical trainers to build their fitness empires up is by online marketing and their clients’ word of mouth. The hardest part for any trainer is to get you through their door and meet with them face-to-face. To get you into their gyms, many will offer you free training sessions to prove they can bring value to your lifestyle.

If you go through with the free sessions, make sure you read all the fine print on the voucher so you’re not falling into a more significant commitment than you thought. Free personal training vouchers could be your golden ticket to a healthier lifestyle.

Casually talk to trainer and have them pitch you why they should train you

Trainers are always looking for new clients; this makes them super approachable. In fact, they will try and make eye contact with you so they can start a casual conversation with you that will hopefully lead to you setting up an appointment with them. If you want to outsmart them and get some free training, you can tell them your fitness goals and they might recommend a workout program you’ve never heard of.

Take that information to the internet and research what the hell they were talking just about. You can save money by watching free video streaming services — let ad revenue pay for your work-out!

www.youtube.com

Watch one of several thousands free training videos on YouTube

The fitness market is flooded with ripped men and women trying to teach you their way of training using YouTube as their distribution system. All you have to do is type what workout you’re looking for and at the touch of a button, you’ll have thousands of training videos to choose from at no cost.

Everyone wins in this scenario. The YouTube trainer expands their personal following and you get great advice without shelling out boatloads of cash.

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We said “discreetly!”

Discreetly watch the other fit people

Ripped people at the gym have put in the time to build that muscle mass.

If you have no idea what exercises do what, discreetly take a look at what the ripped gym-goers are doing and how they are doing it.

Like they say, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Learn the movements and attempt to mimic what you just saw — with a manageable weight. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than spending your hard earned cash on a trainer.

FYI: Sorry to all the fitness trainers out there for this article c*ck block. But we’re telling the truth.

MIGHTY FIT

High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) vs High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

I led multiple combat conditioning programs in the Marine Corps, and I did my Martial Arts Instructor Certification at the MACE in Quantico with the creators of MCMAP. Yet, I had no idea what HITT was. I thought it was just a cheap rip-off of HIIT that the Marine Corps wanted to get their proprietary mitts on.

I was a little salty at certain points in my career.

The short of it is: HIIT is a type of workout and HITT is a comprehensive program that encompasses all aspects of fitness.


A few seconds of this, a few seconds of that…

What HIIT is

High-Intensity interval training (HIIT) really got popular when the Tabata method got some good press. The Tabata method is a type of HIIT workout where you perform a movement for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat this sequence for as many rounds as you are adapted to.

Other styles of HIIT follow the same basic layout. You perform a movement for a certain period of time, and then you rest for about half the time you did the movement for.

If you are really particular, you would measure your heart rate and rest until your heart rate gets to about 60% of your estimated maximum heart rate.

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BjzcNion5Qq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link expand=1]Michael Gregory on Instagram: “Here’s how to do a HIIT workout properly. . A lot of people do “HIIT” but they don’t understand the purpose. It’s to to boost your output…”

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It might sound like math class, and it basically is. There are plenty of apps and timers out there for HIIT workouts, but most people just wing it.

In fact, most people completely miss the point of HIIT.

At its base, HIIT is a fat burning workout that takes advantage of the anaerobic fuel systems of the body. If you don’t allow your heart rate to get down low enough between sets, you are preventing your body from truly resting. Without enough rest, you cannot perform at 90-100%+ effort, and therefore miss out on burning a maximum amount of fat.

I can and will go more in-depth on this topic in the future. Take a look at the above Instagram post for details on how to properly use HIIT to help you lose that adorable baby fat on your tummy.

Run fast and lift heavy. Sounds pretty good to me.

(Photo by Capt. Colleen McFadden)

What HITT is

High-Intensity Tactical Training, on the other hand, is a program designed by the Marine Corps to prepare Marines for combat. You can read the whole methodology behind it here.

It has 3 basic principles:

  1. Prevent potential for injury
  2. Increase performance levels that support combat specific tasks
  3. Build strength, optimize mobility, and increase speed

Subtle how they squeezed five principles into three, but I’ll roll with it.

High Intensity Tactical Training (HITT) Promo Video- USMC

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I’d argue that these components should be the base of every single human being’s training plan, not just military personnel. I would just switch the wording around in number two to read “increase performance levels to support career specific tasks” for the normies.

Reading through the methodology, linked above, I could nitpick some of the specifics of the program. Ultimately though, I’m a fan.

Unlike HIIT, HITT has nothing to do with burning fat whatsoever. Actually, it would probably be in a Marine’s favor to keep a modest amount of body fat on their frame in case things go south and they are without food for multiple days.

The next step is to do the workout with a full combat load. That’s HITT.

(Photo by Capt. Colleen McFadden)

Execution is everything

HIIT and HITT couldn’t be more different. HIIT is for people who are primarily concerned with how they look while HITT is for Marines who want to f*ck sh*t up.

Both of these can be very beneficial to you depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Military personnel don’t have the luxury of knowing exactly what they are getting themselves into with a deployment until they get there. A well-rounded plan, like HITT, that increases all aspects of fitness is ideal if you have the time.

Don’t let this image fool you. This man’s primary form of exercise is not HIIT. He lifts.

(Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

HITT is for someone who is looking for long-term nonspecific training that will focus on all aspects of fitness. It doesn’t need to be just for those getting ready for a deployment.

HIIT is for someone who is looking to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle. That’s it for HIIT. It won’t make you stronger, it probably won’t make you much faster. It is exclusively for people who want to lose fat.

The bottom line of this showdown between fitness modalities is that the Marine Corps needs to get better at naming their programs. Otherwise, most people will just write off their highly researched program as a shameless government knock-off of something that already exists.

MIGHTY FIT

8 rules everyone should live by while in the gym, but don’t

Just like anywhere else, there rules in place in the gym to protect both patrons and staff. Some common rules include no dropping weights on the floor, no using chalk while deadlifting, and, most importantly, work hard or go home.


These written rules are set in stone, but there are a few others you won’t find taped to a wall or printed in a manual. These gym rules are best left unwritten, but you’ll quickly pick up on them.

To get all you newcomers up to speed, we’re going to plainly spell out these gym norms. You’re welcome, America!

Also Read: 5 ways you’re ‘creeping’ way too hard while at the gym

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No using the squat rack to do biceps curls

The squat rack is for working out your lower body — not your arms. Most gyms don’t have many squats rack in the first place, so it can be pretty infuriating to see someone repping their out biceps when all you want to do is get a solid lower-body workout in as your pre-game kicks in.

There is an exception to this unwritten rule: If the person doing bicep curls at the squat rack is expertly curling 135+ pounds, leave them alone.

Re-rack your plates

Most of the time, there are signs posted on the walls reminding you to re-rack your dumbbells. Unfortunately, those signs don’t specifically tell gym-goers that they should also re-rack any plates they’ve used after they’re done. Not only is it kind to set up the area to be used by the next person, it’s also a hidden workout — every calorie burned counts.

It’s a good habit to get into.

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Wiping yourself down is good, too, but we meant the cleaning the workout equipment.

Wipe down your workout area

It’s simple: After you finish using a workout area, wipe the station down with a paper towel and some sanitation spray (typically provided by the gym). It’s not difficult and it doesn’t take long, and yet people seem to forget to do it all the freakin’ time.

Nursing a workout machine

Most gym patrons want to get in, get a solid workout, and move on. Nobody likes to wait for equipment to become available, especially when another person is “nursing” the machine and shows no signs of leaving.

That sh*t can get annoying.

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Nailed it!

Overloading with too much weight

When somebody has an ego or is trying to show off, they tend to put as much weight on the bar as possible, secretly hoping that people are watching. Realistically, unless you’re a professional weightlifter or a fitness celebrity, nobody cares how much you bench.

In fact, when you load up the bar and lift improperly just to push out a bigger rep, you just look dumb.

Wear shin protectors or long socks while deadlifting

There’s nothing more disgusting than seeing spots of blood on the straight bar when you go to do a few deadlifts. This is evidence that the person who spilled blood probably had good form, but it’s still nasty to see… and nastier to touch.

Zero tolerance for body shaming

Seriously!

You have to be an asshole to make fun of someone who isn’t in good shape while you’re in the gym. Giving someone the side-eye for having bad form is one thing, but why snicker at someone trying to improve their lifestyle?

That’s just f*cked up.

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Creepy!

No gawking

There are plenty of beautiful people working out at the gym. There are also a lot of attractive people outside of the gym. Continuously staring at someone as they workout gets kind of creepy after too long.

Try and refrain from staring.

MIGHTY FIT

5 workout machines you should skip while at the gym

Service members have crazy schedules, which makes it hard to find time enough to work on your physique. Most of us have only about an hour to spend each time we hit the gym. Typically, the routines we do in that brief period consist of using free weights and a few workout machines.

Many people who step foot in the gym are there to lose weight. They’ll use the various isolation (or single-joint) machines believing that if they use every machine the gym has to offer, they’ll start to lean out. The unfortunately fact of the matter is that not all the machines in the weight room burn a lot of calories when you hop on and start repping.

To burn the most calories in the shortest time, most gym professionals recommend focusing on compound movements — exercises that require more than one muscle group to move a weight, like pull-ups or dumbbell presses.

So, which machines should you avoid if you want to burn fat?


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Leg extension machine

Leg extensions help bulk up your quadriceps. Most of these machines require you to sit down and enjoy yourself as you rep out the sets. This is a very isolated movement — and that’s not the best way to challenge your body and burn fat. Instead of sitting on the machine to work on your legs, consider standing up and doing some non-weighed squats.

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Calf raise machine

Yes, the calf-raise machine will bulk up your calves up — but it won’t burn off those unwanted calories and lean you out. There are plenty of other options when it comes to working out your calves. The video below will show you a few techniques that introduce compound movements to a calf workout.

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Bicep curl machine

On this machine, a patron sits down and works their biceps against resistance while in a static position. Even if you’re trying to work on your arms, the process of selecting, moving, and returning free weights will help you burn a little extra fat.

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Seated tricep extension

If your goal is to build massive triceps, then you’ll want to add a few tricep-related exercises to your routine. However, if you’re also looking to burn some extra fat in the process, you might want to conduct your training in a stress-loaded, standing position.

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Seated abs crunch machine

There many ways to get a solid ab workout — but you’ll find that very few fitness trainers recommend that people take a seat in ab crunch machines. Those machines are fine for beginners or people with medical conditions, but everyone else should strike this machine from of their minds and replace it with these:

MIGHTY FIT

This new center helps veterans connect with the great outdoors

In the mountains of Crested Butte Colorado, the Adaptive Sports Center is working to help people with disabilities enjoy physically rigorous activities both in indoor facilities and in the beautiful mountains of the area. They not only welcome disabled veterans and others who live an adaptive lifestyle, but they give lessons to those people and close family and friends to help them enjoy the sports safely. And a new building is helping them do even more.


The Adaptive Sports Center Mission

vimeo.com

The Adaptive Sports Center Mission

Crested Butte is an inspiring place for an adaptive sports center as it is home to a lake, a reservoir, plenty of great rock climbing areas, mountain trails, and awesome slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and more.

But of course, many of those activities are challenging for veterans and others who have disabilities. So the ASC has always provided the special equipment necessary to make the slopes, trails, and more accessible. They also have trainers that can help disabled people learn how to use the equipment properly, and the trainers even help friends and family members learn unfamiliar sports and activities so that wounded veterans and others can bond as a group in the outdoors.

And while the ASC supports plenty of individuals and families with no military affiliation, they also make a point of helping veteran and military families like the Dryers, an Air Force family. Mitchell Dryer, a former Air National Guard firefighter, was injured in a fire and his daughter, Emeri, lost control of her legs to an infection as a baby.

Emeri learned to ski at the ASC. A skilled skier took her on the slopes after she had learned to give them the commands for “faster” and “slower.” Now, she carves the slopes with the rest of her family.

There are also participants like Jose, a veteran combat medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder but uses adaptive cycling and cooking to center and challenge himself.

The facilities and personnel at ASC are essential to making many of these transitions possible, but the folks at the center are celebrating the recent opening of a whole new facility that expands their care possibilities.

The Kelsey Wright Building was built in 2018-2019 and is now open. One of its prime offerings is that it allows participants to ski into and out of the building during winter programs, which is great because it houses lots of support activities for the ASC’s mission.

It has a space where personnel can assess the capabilities of participants, an area to modify, repair, and properly fit equipment, and an industrial kitchen. But it also has a lot of great space that isn’t directly tied to outdoor services. It has a classroom, a library, a housing area, and an adaptive climbing wall.

The ASC does ask participants to pay what they can for all the activities they use at the center, but everything is done at reduced cost, and they offer scholarships for those who need financial assistance. If your family or the family of someone you know would benefit from their services, you can find more information here.

If you’re interested in donating to the non-profit center to help it with its missions, you can do that here. The Adaptive Sports Center is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.