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Health and Wealth

Why You Should Try Kettlebells

Kettlebells give you the opportunity to move athletically with additional resistance from a variety of angles and more challenging positions, and planes of resistance.

Exercises such as kettlebell swings, can help increase your heart rate, adding as cardio and can tone muscle, but where they really come into their own is in building strength throughout your posterior chain.

Kettlebells are an incredibly useful tool for those looking to build their base of strength and mobility.

The best being the Kettlebell swing.

Initiated by a powerful hip thrust from your hamstring and glutes, opting for heavier weights (once the move is mastered, of course) for up to 90 seconds a set will vastly improve your anaerobic fitness, accelerating your heart-rate and ignite a fat-burn that the bench press can only dream of.

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Thrusters

This movement is a full-body workout and is extremely effective, getting a cardio burn in. Thrusters target your quads, calves, and glutes in your lower body. Then, in your upper body, it works the pecs, delts, biceps, and traps.

Kettlebell Thruster

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Health and Wealth

Best Mobility Movements with Coach Pat!

Sitting at your desk all day, typing away, checking emails, and making calls isn’t the best for your body. I’ve mentioned this in prior post. But what I didn’t mention enough were the best mobility movements to do after the work day. Movements to help circulate the blood flow and revive your body that wasn’t being used.

I met up with a life-long friend, former kickboxing trainer and veteran yoga instructor, Coach Pat. And we came up with 3 mobility movements that anyone can do anywhere.

First up, is a deep lunge with a twist!

The 21 Best Stretching Exercises for Better Flexibility | SELF

For this, getting your elbow down to align your forearm with your shin is ideal to get a good range of flexion and extension throughout the hips.

Keep your shoulders and arms in sync with each other when doing the movement. Bring your raised hand back down to the floor and repeat it to the raised position. Then switch sides.

The deep lunge helps with hip mobility and stretching of the legs. The twist aids in the open of the chest and abdominal area of the body. Your arms and shoulders are also engaged, giving a full body focus.

Second, The Tabletop Bridge

How to Tear 25 Guys Pecs in 10 days | MAX SHANK Training Program

The tabletop bridge is perfect for strengthen the shoulders as well as the glutes and mid to lower back. Start in a seated position and lift your body of the ground using your hands and feet as a base of support.

Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders and place knees parallel above your feet. Keep your feet and knees shoulder width apart from one another. And lift. Once lifted, maintain a flat line from head to knee, making yourself a literal table. Go back to seated position and repeat the cycle.

Your shoulders, glutes, back and abs are being used in this mobility movement, and doesn’t require much balance or strength to complete. Perfect for starting off with.

Thirdly, is the Cobra Stretch 

What does the Cobra exercise consist of? - Quora

Lie down flat on the floor head forward, and place your chin above the ground. Straighten your legs and press your palms firmly against the floor. Inhale and elongate your arms and lift your chest following your upper back. Keeping your hips steady and staying in this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Then lower back down.

The cobra stretch utilizes stretches the lower and mid areas of the back, while also stretching your abs. It also helps to strengthen the shoulders and triceps as a result of the lift.

This beneficial for those long hours hunched at the desk, putting pressure on the lower back. This helps alleviate that area.

Thanks to Coach Pat for helping curate this list! More possible collaborations with her in the future.

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Health and Wealth

Best Spots to Outdoor Train in NYC

Due to the recent pandemic still being a thing. Gyms are becoming a concern to train in. Close quarters, not that much accountability for cleaning. Despite this, NYC has an abundance of outdoor spots to train at.

Regardless of your preferred workout, whether jogging, solo workouts, training with friends or simply going for a walk; NYC has it all.

In no particular order, I’ll be listing the best locations to train outside:

1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2

This park is located right by the water, facing lower Manhattan. Here you can play soccer on the turf fields, bike and run on the assorted trails. The park has more than enough space to spread-out and have room to do several different activities at once. While also having an amazing view.

2. Elevated Acre

Just at the base edge of the Financial district in lower Manhattan, this spot overlooks the river to see Brooklyn on the other side. This park is smaller yet has large field that is used by numerous athletes. One day you may find a yoga session, later a kickboxing pad drill, or people sunbathing. A more modest a tucked away spot, but better for avoiding too much contact with others.

3. Governor’s Island

Somewhat remote from New York City itself, you can truly isolate yourself from the busy city and focus on your workout. Completely car-free and 800 yards (0.73 km) from Manhattan by ferry, you can walk, run or bike your way around the 172 acre island in an afternoon..

4. Central Park

Okay, Central Park is HUGE. Walking through it all straight is a workout in itself. There are many walking, running and biking trails that wrap around throughout it. But there are many other activities to do besides those. You can go for a swim at the Central Park pool. Play baseball, tennis, handball, or basketball at one of the dozens of courts and fields that are scattered throughout the park. Or you can find an isolated spot to do solo training, regardless, central park has everything.

All in all, finding an outdoor training spot in NYC that is right for you is about location, and your personal fitness goals. Stay safe when exploring new spots! Enjoy the work.

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Health and Wealth

How Core Strength Benefits Day-to-Day Life (Sub-post to “A Strong Core”)

Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re swinging a golf club or sweeping some the floor, the basic fundamental movements stem from your core, and move through it.

Regardless if the movement starts at the base with a kick, or at the top by reaching for a high shelf; the core will always need to play a role. If the core muscles are weak, it can cause limit how well your upper and lower body can perform basic functions. This limitation can cause you to exert more energy than needed.

A strong core enhances balance and stability. It can help prevent falls and injuries during sports or other activities. In fact, a strong, flexible core underpins almost everything you do.

Regular Day Acts

Getting out of bed involves your core to be activated. You are doing a literal “sit-up” and then rotating yourself to the edge of the bed. Having your feet make contact with the floor, and pressing down so you can stand up right, involves your core. This is an activity we do everyday.

Bending down to tie your shoes, reaching up to retrieve something from a cabinet, walking up stairs, and transitioning from sitting to standing, all involve core strength.

These are just a few of the many mundane actions that rely on your core and that you might not notice until they become difficult or painful from inactivity.

At Work

Warehouse jobs or jobs that require manual labor such as, lifting, twisting, and moving, all rely on core muscles.

But less obvious tasks, like sitting at your desk for hours, engage your core as well. Typing, computer use, opening and closing file cabinets and similar work can make back muscles surprisingly stiff and sore, particularly if you’re not strong enough to practice good posture and aren’t taking sufficient breaks.

Why Care

As you’ve probably realized, we use our core in every and all aspects of our daily routines. This doesn’t mean you should do a 100 crunches every night to maintain this strength. No, not at all. It means you should be a little more aware of them.

In these mundane settings, the best way to preserve your core and prevent any aches and pains, is to be mindful of your posture. To have your spine evenly aligned and not putting excess pressure on one are of your back or body.

This will help ease the strain of the daily routines.

 

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Health and Wealth

Body Weight Use Compared to Equipment Weight Use

Body weight workouts can easily be used for a full body routine. This is apparent when doing exercises requiring balance, and stabilizing of your muscles.

Although body weight routines cannot help you achieve every fitness goal you may have. There are some limitations to certain areas of the body that require equipment to activate.

These exercises that cannot be replicated using your body weight are lat pull downs, and chest flys. The two of these movements are important as they’re areas that are rarely used due to sedentary lifestyles and hunching over computers and phones, and desk jobs.

If you’ve ever done side lunges, planks, pushups, and mountain climbers then you can easily combine them for a great full-body workout without touching equipment.

These three routines can be challenging as they require a bit of balance and core strength to do. There are modifications to these that can still give you the workout but make it more accessible to do.

You’d want to adjust your rep range to do higher reps and less sets. Aim for 2 sets of 25 reps of a move when using your own body weight. Since you’re using less resistance than if you were adding heavy weights to the workout, doing higher reps ensures that you’re efficiently using your muscles to trigger growth.

To increase the intensity of these routines, just add a cardio portion to increase total calorie burn. This can be done by running in place, jumping jacks or high knees. All these can elevate your heart rate to the optimal caloric burn level.

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Health and Wealth

Do you need weights/equipment to get a workout? No, here’s why.

Did you try to order some fancy gym equipment for yourself but didn’t quite get what you wanted? If you didn’t get a magic talking fitness mirror, a smart station bike that does your taxes, or one of the other trendy fitness products out there, but still want to stay active at home, good news.

As helpful as all of these products can be, you don’t need them to get in shape. There’s one tool that you already have that’s seriously underrated: your own body.

It’s a nice luxury to have all the equipment, various tools to help you do diverse exercises. But, you don’t really need any of it to workout. The equipment is supplemental to the process of fitness. To most, the luxury can quickly turn into an excuse; that without them, they cannot workout. 

Your body is a tool that you will always have, its cost efficient, it doesn’t require any installation. The body is also hefty, this means that you have resistance when doing push-ups, pull-ups, or even holding a plank.

No extra equipment is needed when doing body weight exercises. This enables you to do them anywhere, any time. For those who have busy schedules and crunched for time, calisthenics may be the workout for you.

Lifting weights is still a great way to get in shape, and so are the other equipment out there. However, they are by no means the only ways to workout.

Benefits to Body Weight Workouts:

The body is a versatile tool. As a result, you can work more muscles at the same time than if you were just isolating one body part with weights. This can give a more well balanced workout.

When relying on the body instead of equipment exercises, you increasing the use of your core, abdominal muscles. These muscles add to your stability and balance, while also helping to reduce the chance of injury.

With having more muscles you can activate in one workout, the more likely you are to be able to stabilize your body, which is important for everyday movement and exercise safety.

Body weight workouts sharpen your body and its natural movement; it is a strong base that will propel you once weight and equipment are added.

The limitation of calisthenics is that you are limited to the weight that you weigh. You aren’t going to become a world recorded power lifter doing this, but you can still strengthen and build your muscles.

In my next blog, I will be adding onto this with a list of body exercises to do that build strength to the body.

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Health and Wealth

A Strong Core, Needs a Strong Exercise to Endure

A strong core is an Invaluable asset. Having a strong and stable midsection can give you better sense of balance, better posture, and can even reduce back problems. Your core is the literal central focus of your body, every movement you make, regardless if you are doing a workout or just going through the daily motions of life. Just by giving your core a little attention in your fitness routine, every motion you do will be tremendously easier.

Muscles of the Core:

The human core is a mass of muscles that complement one another for stability and support. These muscles include the internal and external obliques, which are on the sides of your abdomen and are responsible for rotation and twists. Erector spinae, a set of corresponding muscles that are located on the lower back, ideal for hip hinges such as deadlifts and other pick up movements. The transverse abdominis is the deepest internal core muscle as it wraps around your spine and your sides, kind of like the internal belt holding your body together. Then there is the rectus abdominis, which is what most people think of when they hear “abs,” it is the center piece.

Due to the complexity of muscles in this one area of the body, there are many different exercises to do that target all of them in one go. A popular belief is that sit ups are the best way to achieve a strong core, this simply isn’t true. Sit ups work one set of muscles in the core, the rectus abdominis, and if over done, can cause damage to the lower spin from over use and neglect of the erector spinae.

The best core exercises are the ones that work the entire muscle group. This helps to keep that core group balanced and functional, it can also prevent injury and improving overall performance.

Body weight exercises are ideal for strengthening the core, as you dont want to overstrain the dense muscle group either. Majority of your natural movement is with only your body weight anyway, unless you have a back pack or suit case, so this is a natural progression.

The Plank:

I will go over how to do one of the most coveted core exercises, the plank. This exercise works the endurance and strength of your abs, back and deep core for stability. Not only is it working all the muscles listed above, it also works the glutes, hamstrings and shoulder muscles.

  • To get in plank position, rest your forearms on the floor, have your elbows directly underneath your shoulders, and have your hands and forearms facing straight and parallel to one another.
  • Extend your legs straight out behind you, resting on the tips of your toes. You want to have a straight and flat back, a straight line from your shoulders to the back of your heels.
  • When straight, engage your core by squeezing your abs, your glutes and your quads, try to lower your glutes to maintain the straight line and not to hike up your hips, or dropping them below your waist.
  • Keep your head and spine completely aligned, do not drop your neck or over extend it. Position your head and neck in a neutral position and keep your eyes on your hands.
  • Hold this position for at a minimum of 30 seconds for 3 to for reps, and you will be feeling the engagement of the core supporting your body.
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Health and Wealth

Ways to stay active! Social distance, while also going the distance!

In a world where tight quarters, heavy breathing and multiple people are waiting to share equipment is now a health risk and concern for safety, gyms are seeing fewer and fewer people join as a result of the pandemic. However, as result of limitation, there are many other creative modes of fitness that can be easily applied to anyone’s lifestyle regardless of health concern or if they are simply unable to attend the gym due to a capacity limitation.

It all comes down to the will and determination of the individual to want to be active, to want to put in the work. This can be difficult on ones own to muster up the discipline to do so, without the help of a trainer, a friend, or other people in a fitness class that have the same goal. Finding that energy and motivation by yourself can be difficult, but there are many alternatives than going purely solo on your fitness endeavors.

The first alternative is using a free video app called, Youtube. Youtube has many channels on specific types of fitness training; from yoga, calisthenics, weightlifting, to martial art classes. These are all free! All of them come with a trainer to walk you through the routine, and explain what muscle groups the exercise is working. A good channel to start with is “Athlean-X.” The channel is ran and demonstrated by a certified physician that goes into great detail about the functionality of the muscles. This helps to get a better understanding and awareness of your body and how to better control your movements.

Another alternative to fitness, without attending the gym, are the use of free applications that have classes and instructed lessons pre-recorded. A good app for this is called, FitOn, they are a convenient and easy to use app that have workouts that range from 12 to 40 minutes and vary in intensity. This is good for all levels of training as well.

The final alternative, is this blog! It is also free, and will be posting weekly with updates and fitness tips that are achievable for all fitness levels. This blog is ran by a fitness trainer with over 5 years of experience training over 300 people, with over 300 different goals. Stay tuned for the upcoming post about “How to strengthen your core and overall balance!”