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Fitzroy Bramble
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Personal Fitness Trainer at Today's Fitness Center Woburn MA
Personal Fitness Trainer at Today's Fitness Center Woburn MA

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Why Cardio Alone Doesn't Work:

Cardio, the common term for cardiovascular exercise, has countless benefits for every person. By adding some cardio to your daily or weekly workout schedule, you can improve your heart's performance, burn a greater number of calories, release endorphins that improve your mood and help your muscles to better use glucose. While the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are numerous, it is not the only way to workout. Here are some of the reasons that cardio alone isn't enough as well as what kinds of exercises you can use to improve your overall health and fitness.

It May Not Increase Your Metabolism:

If you want to lose weight, cardio isn't the only answer. A reduced calorie deficit might even end up causing you to lose muscle mass, which actually slows your metabolism. In order to burn the greatest number of calories at rest, you need to build more muscle. Lifting weights, or any other type of resistance training, is the best way to achieve this.

Strength Vs. Endurance:

If you want to be a long-distance exerciser, which typically means either running a marathon or doing long cycling rides of 100 miles or more, then endurance may be your main objective. If you simply want overall strength, or if you want to perform well at daily tasks or any shorter fitness-related activities, strength is key and can't be obtained through cardio alone.

Calories In and Calories Out:

For many people, their primary fitness objective is weight loss. While there are a number of studied debating whether there are some ways around this rule, the general scientific body believes that you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Dieting while also doing a large amount of cardiovascular exercise can make you incredibly hungry, which in turns means that you are more likely to binge. By focusing on resistance training, you may not have the same blood sugar spikes that cause you to overeat.

Flexibility Is Key:

In order to feel good and perform at your highest level in any areas of fitness or life, flexibility is important. It takes a mix of cardio, weight training and flexibility in order to achieve the ideal balance. Before and after each workout, spend a few minutes stretching to gain greater range of motion throughout the body.

Cardiovascular exercise has plenty of benefits, but it is not the only way to approach fitness or weight loss. Resistance training, a healthy diet and flexibility are all pieces to the puzzle.

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The Importance of Exercise
The fitness industry is filled with options when it comes to exercise programs. From yoga and pilates to high-impact cardiovascular workouts that challenge even the most fit individuals. However, some individuals may not be aware why exercise is such an important aspect of good health. The following points highlight the importance of exercise:

Helps control weight:
This attribute of exercise is probably the most well-known. After all, losing weight is often the primary motivation for individuals to begin an exercise regimen. Regular exercise can either prevent excess weight gain, help individuals maintain their current weight or help individuals lose weight.

Boosts energy:
In today’s society, many people complain about being overworked and exhausted, and it is easy to see how this feeling has become the presiding thought. After all, working long hours, eating poorly and not having time to exercise all combine to create the perfect storm of exhaustion.

Thankfully, regular exercise can create energy. This works because exercise helps the cardiovascular system operate more efficiently and delivers nutrients and oxygen to the body’s tissues. When an individual’s heart and muscles work more efficiently, they have more energy to get through their day.

Helps fight diseases and various health conditions:
Individuals concerned about developing high blood pressure or heart disease will likely be encouraged by exercise’s effectiveness in combating these conditions. Being active improves good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein and reduces unhealthy triglycerides. This means that individuals who exercise regularly will keep their blood flowing more smoothly and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Other conditions that exercise can improve upon or prevent include arthritis, various types of cancer, depression, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and stroke.

Improves mood:
A brisk walk or workout at the gym can greatly improve an individual’s emotional outlook. Physical activity stimulates certain brain chemicals, which in turn make an individual feel more relaxed and happier. In addition, exercise often makes individuals feel better about the way they look, which improves their self-esteem and boosts their confidence.

Counteracts stress:
Stress, which is part of almost every individual’s daily life, has a detrimental effect on the body. Thankfully, recent studies have revealed that exercise can actually reverse the damage stress causes on a cellular level. Moreover, exercise releases dopamine, norepinephrine and erotonin, which are brain chemicals that are soothing. These chemicals eliminate stress and make an individual feel relaxed.

Makes it easier to learn:
It has been proven that exercise increases growth factors within the brain, which in turn makes the brain establish new connections. This process gives individuals a greater ability to learn. The more complicated the exercise, the more positive effect it has on the brain. For example, dance and tennis are examples of exercises that encourage high brain growth due to their complexity.
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Abs Exercise Tips:

It’s probably the most common question I get as a personal trainer. “How do I reduce my belly fat?” The answer is easy – reduce your overall body fat and the belly fat will go away. This isn’t always the answer people want to hear, but it’s the truth. There is no exercise or set of exercises that will magically make your belly fat evaporate; no gizmo, gadget, or magic wand you see on late night TV will miraculously give you a slim flat tummy.

So, what can you do? Here are five steps you can follow to get rid of that belly fat and get the flat toned abs you’ve been longing for.

1. Reduce your consumption of carbohydrates and sweets. Carbs and sweets are one of the fastest ways to increase your body’s fat reserves, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. That little bit of fat on your tummy (and the love handles on either side) are your body’s reserve fuel tank. The object here is to have your body eliminate your reserves, and that means eliminating the fuel it uses to fill the fat cells on your belly: sweets and carbs.

2. Portion control is critical in any fat reducing endeavor. The only way to eliminate belly fat is to burn more calories than you consume: it’s just that simple! By eating smaller and more frequent meals you can not only reduce your caloric intake, but also boost your metabolism. Higher metabolism gives you more energy, and causes your resting caloric burn rate to increase. You’ll burn more calories just sitting still!

3. Building core skeletal muscles further increases your metabolism. It takes a lot of energy to keep lean muscle mass maintained, and takes nothing to maintain body fat. You’ll end up with more energy, which makes it easier to burn fat, and by strengthening your core you’ll have a nice six pack waiting for you when you burn off the last of that annoying belly fat.

4. Cardio! People often loathe cardio workouts, but they are the core of any fat loss regimen. Don’t fret, you don’t have to chain yourself to the stairmaster or spend hours running miles and miles through your neighborhood. Cardiovascular workouts can be enjoyable. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy and practice it regularly.

5. Keep the end in mind. These five simple rules are easier said than done. It does take a significant amount of will power to stay away from starches and sweets, get up off couch, and get active on a regular basis. Write down your goal, and be specific. If your goal is to fit back into your 32″ pants, or to get your body fat down to 15% for swimsuit season, you need to be specific when you set it.
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Women Build Muscle
There are more myths and misconceptions about strength training than any other area of fitness. While research continues to uncover more and more reasons why working out with weights is good for you, many women continue to avoid resistance training for fear of developing muscles of Herculean proportions.

Other women have tried it and been less than thrilled with the results. “Don’t worry,” people say. “Women can’t build muscle like men. They don’t have enough testosterone.” This is, in fact, only partly true.

Many women, believing they wouldn’t build muscle, hit the gym with a vengeance and then wondered why, after several weeks of resistance training, their clothes didn’t fit and they had gained muscle weight.
The truth is, not everyone responds to training in quite the same way. While testosterone plays an important role in muscle development, the answer to why some men and women increase in muscle size and others don’t lies within our DNA.

We are predisposed to respond to exercise in a particular way, in large part because of our genetics. Our genetic makeup determines what types of muscle fibers we have and where they are distributed. It determines our ratio of testosterone to estrogen and where we store body fat. And it also determines our body type.

A Question of Body Type:
All women fall under one of three body classifications, or are a combination of types. Mesomorphs tend to be muscular, endomorphs are more rounded and voluptuous and ectomorphs are slim or linear in shape. Mesomorphs respond to strength training by building muscle mass much faster than their ectomorphic counterparts, even though they may be following identical training regimens.

Endomorphs generally need to lose body fat in order to see a change in size or shape as a result of strength training. Ectomorphs are less likely to build muscle mass but will become stronger as a result of resistance training.

Building Just Your Heart Muscle:
One of the fundamental principles of strength training is that if you overload a muscle, you will increase its size. With aerobic training, the overload is typically your body weight. Activities such as step training or stair climbing result in changes in the size and shape of the muscles of the lower body. Increasing the height of the step or adding power movements increases the overload.

For those concerned about building muscle, it would be better to reduce the step height or lower the impact of the movements. While this may reduce the aerobic value of the workout, it also will decrease the amount of overload on the muscles, making it less likely that you will build more muscle.

Training by the Rules:
When it comes to strength training, the old rule still applies: To get stronger, work with heavier weights and perform fewer repetitions. To promote endurance, use lighter weights and complete more repetitions.
It’s encouraging to note that just like men, most women will experience a 20 to 40% increase in muscular strength after several months of resistance training.

Understanding your body type and how you might respond to exercise can help you set realistic goals and expectations. Avoid comparisons to others you see, at the gym or elsewhere, and remember that no two people are alike.
Focus on how good exercise makes you feel rather than how you would like to look. Accepting our bodies for what they are is a great way to get rid of the guilt or pressure we often feel to look a certain way.
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Why you need personal training, and how to stick with it

After some time spent working out in a gym, you might think you’re not progressing as fast as you originally wanted. Sometimes you can chalk it up to impatience (working out takes some dedication!), but there are a number of factors that can lead you to waste your workouts: improper technique, inefficient or ineffective workout routines, or the lack of a progressive workout plan can all slow your progress down. That’s where the help of a professional comes in.

What are the advantages of working with a personal trainer?

A personal trainer is a professional fitness expert whose job is solely to help you have the best workout of your life, helping you attain the maximum physical results while minimizing the risk of injuries. A personal trainer will help you develop workout plans and schedules, keep an eye on your form during personal training sessions, motivate you to do your best, and keep track of your personal progress.
All of these benefits do come at a higher cost. Basic gym memberships usually don’t include a personal trainer, although many gyms actually specialize in only personal training or small group classes (and usually charge a bit more for memberships). You may also find private in-home personal training works better for you – some trainers even offer online classes (over Skype, for example) so they can coach you long distance, usually for a lower price.

How do I stick to my personal training routine?

Sticking with a personal training program should be easier than going to a gym for a regular exercise session. You’ll likely see results faster than you would on your own, which will keep you motivated. Trainers can help you perform better mentally by keeping you motivated and giving you advice. Having a personal trainer also creates a sense of accountability, which helps keep you on-track with your workout schedule and personal goals. One counter-intuitive aspect is that since personal trainers are usually more expensive than simple gym memberships, you’re more likely to stick with your routine – otherwise, the money you’ve spent on training will have been a waste.
If you’re looking to save some money, you can always try planning weekly or monthly sessions with a personal trainer while you continue workouts on your own in between. That way, you can monitor your progress and still have someone keeping you accountable, so you can reach your fitness goals as fast as possible.
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