Sometimes you just want to hear straight from the pros - so welcome to a new series on the Merritt Clubs blog! Every month we will chat with one of our trainers as they impart some fitness wisdom and give workout tips for our blog readers.
Jan 24, 2017
Have you ever thought about the value of a personal trainer? It is not uncommon for people to have a certain trepidation over someone standing over them, while they struggle to lose weight and get fit. However, knowing in advance what a personal trainer can teach you can put your mind at ease. A personal trainer has the education and expertise to understand your needs, goals, and limits. Therefore, they are an invaluable asset for achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Aug 31, 2016
Choosing to join a gym is a big decision and can truly be an overwhelming process. Whether you're working out at home and feel the gym would offer more inspiration or are only just beginning to work out, it is imperative that you get the most out of the exercise gym. Regardless of where you are in life, there are some details that you certainly need to think about before deciding on a gym.
Topics: Personal Training, health fitness tips, women strength training, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, women and weights, women only, weight loss and exercise, Fitness Tips, best way to lose weight, fitness, women nutrition, Personal trainer, Baltimore fitness, diet lifestyle change, nutrition
Feb 12, 2015
Topics: recipes to get more vegetables, Healthy Recipes, Personal Training, health fitness tips, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, best way to lose weight, recipes for healthy snacks, Broccoli, Personal trainer, Baltimore fitness, diet lifestyle change, healthy weight loss, healthy diets
Jan 29, 2015
Despite the snow last week, we still had intrepid ladies turn out for the Women and Weights upper body seminar. This week we hammered squat mechanics and practiced many progressions and variations of the squat. However, we didn’t have quite enough time to cover all the reasons ladies need to squat. Yes, that’s right, we need to squat. Coincidentally, on the same day we reviewed squats, this blog post showed up in my news feed and I felt inspired to make my own list. So, without further ado, here is my list of reasons why squatting is so important:
Jan 20, 2015
Week one of Women and Weights is in the books. Last week we discussed the core, it’s importance in injury prevention and exactly what it feels like to engage your core. Then we went over several different exercises that test one’s ability to engage and maintain their core. This week we are discussing upper body movements. This is where we start seeing some major differences in the sexes. In general, men and women respond to resistance training in similar ways. However, differences exist between the sexes in overall muscle mass, strength and hormone levels. The upper body movements are where this becomes most obvious. Upper body movements are much more difficult for women. Why is that, you ask?
Men tend to be larger, have more muscle, they are leaner and have higher levels of the sex hormone, testosterone. These sex hormone related strength differences are mostly found in the upper body. Women possess lower body strength levels similar to men relative to their body weight, but men have greater upper body strength relative to their body weight when compared to women. According to top trainer and researcher Brett Contreras, women possess 40-60% of a man’s upper body strength. That being said, when comparing strength per-pound of fat free mass (i.e. bones and muscle) the differences become less apparent. Women’s muscles are capable of producing the same amount of force as men’s muscles.
In our women and weights seminar this week we will be discussing proper form and will practice a few movements to help ladies increase their upper body strength. Here are a few women specific strength training tips to get you excited:
Learn how to engage your core and maintain it while exercising. Many women starting a strength training program initially posses poor levels of core stability; they utilize an array of lumbar-pelvic strategies when lifting and often end up overarching (excessive hyperextension) the spine during planks, push ups, pull ups and deadlift movements. If you lose your stable core during an exercise, stop the movement and re-engage before continuing.
Work your weaknesses. If you are already really flexible, focus less on stretching and more on building strength and stability. Women tend to have greater mobility in the shoulders, hips, upper back and pelvis and are more likely than men to possess hypermobility.This hypermobility results in less stability and a greater risk of injury. Women are also more likely to over-prioritize cardio. If your cardio is already sufficient, work on building some strength.
Utilize eccentric movements in your training. Women have good reactive or elastic strength, but poor starting strength compared to men. This means it is easier for a woman to lower herself down from the pull up bar (i.e. muscles are lengthening, eccentric movement), than it is to pull herself up (i.e. muscles are contracting, concentric movement). Use caution with eccentric training, as this can cause greater microtrauma to tissues, resulting in greater muscle soreness. Additionally, don’t short movements. Keep working throughout the entire range of motion; don’t just drop off the pull up bar, or drop the bar on a deadlift. Concentrate on lowering all the way down.
Do several total body workouts each week. Women have an advantage in recovery time. They tend to fatigue less and recover faster, meaning they can train the same muscles frequently throughout the week. There is no need to spend one day each week on a specific body part (i.e. chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, glutes on Wednesday, quads on Thursday, etc.) like many of the men in your life may be doing. One day each week on certain body parts might not be enough to produce the changes you desire. However, please remember, there is no such thing as spot reduction. There is no amount of tricep extensions that will get rid of ‘granny arms’ if you aren’t fueling yourself properly and engaging in other strengthening movements.
For more training tips and some hands on advice come to Women and Weights Wednesday nights at 6pm at the Downtown Athletic Club. Even better, schedule a one-on-one appointment with me, or email me to join my newsletter. Women and weights will only last until February 11th. Also, much of the information here can be found in Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body by Brett Contreras.
Jun 27, 2014
May 7, 2014
Topics: Personal Training, health fitness tips, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, weight loss and exercise, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, best way to lose weight, fitness, Personal trainer, Baltimore fitness, diet lifestyle change, the best way to lose weight, being present
Apr 11, 2014
Looking at these pictures, I am reminded of why I love CrossFit. I can see the agony and determination on our faces. What’s more difficult to see is the the elation. This was one of the most fun and challenging competitions I’ve ever experienced. The pictures are from the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge, a team competition for CrossFitters from the entire Mid-Atlantic region. This weekend I’ll be competing for a second time. A lot has happened in the last year, including a shoulder injury, a lot of time off and rehab. Leading up to this point every time I think about it I fight back the urge to toss my cookies. All the old self-doubts surface. Am I ready to compete again? Will I hurt my shoulder? What if I let my teammates down? And so, on. What's worse is after last year I know just how bad it hurts physically. Why on Earth then, would I voluntarily put myself through the agony once again?
Topics: Personal Training, health fitness tips, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, baltimore gyms, help with weight loss, workout routine to lose weight, fitness, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate Challenge, Fitness workout, Personal trainer, merritt charm city crossfit, Baltimore fitness, get healthy, diet lifestyle change, group fitness