Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Benefits of Walking

     One of the most asked questions I get as a personal trainer is about jogging vs. walking. More specifically, clients usually ask me, "I hate running, is there any other type of cardio I can do?" Why yes, as a matter of fact there is, it's called walking. Typically this garners a response of disbelief. can walking really count as a workout? I am a big believer in walking for cardiovascular health, however, it has to be done correctly. Walking can burn 100 calories per mile. Walk 10 miles a week and those calories start to add up. Walk for an hour each night, about 3-4 miles if your focusing, and that adds up to 2100-2800 calories a week!
     So what do I mean by walking correctly? Well first of all this needs to be exercise, not physical activity. Exercise is time set aside to workout, that is only focus. Physical activity may be the same exercise (i.e. walking) just done as part of your daily, liking walking from the car to the door. While physical activity is good for you, if you are looking to improve your health, it just will not cut it. When you walk for health it needs to be sustained, an hour or so, and at a somewhat fast pace, not just a leisurely stroll. So take advantage of the weather today, and get out there and walk around!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Do I Eat?

     As a personal trainer, a large part of my job is working with clients on their diet. When I say diet, I don't mean a "diet" in the sense of a strict set of rules or gimmicks to be followed for a short period of time, but rather a clients entire lifestyle as it relates to food. I truly believe that 80% of a clients health (including a healthy weight) is directly related to what they put in their bodies.
     Often, clients ask weather or not I follow the same diet that they do. This is sometimes awkward because, I am a person who believes that a trainer should practice what they preach. However, I also believe that there is not one specific diet that fits all people. For instance, I am a 6'3", highly active, 23 year old man. My clients are mostly middle aged, moderately active women. Our two diets should be very different, because we are very different in terms of metabolism and energy expenditure.
     That disclaimer aside, some still want to know, "Jason, what do you eat?" Currently I am a big believer in the Paleolithic diet and lifestyle more specifically, the guidelines set out by Mark Sisson. This diet aims to revert the human diet back to what our ancestors ate before the cultivation of grains. The major change in this diet is the amount of carbohydrate a person can eat, as well as restricting certain food groups. Sisson advocates a diet that includes 150g of carbohydrate or less. I like to call this a moderate carbohydrate diet. Low carbohydrate diets, like Atkins, will tell you to keep carbohydrate to under 20g. I do not endorse this, because it can limit the amount of vegetables one eats, and I certainly believe in vegetables as a dietary necessity. The Primal way of life aims to keep carbohydrate intake low by limiting the amount of fruit we eat, (fruit, while good for you, is high in sugar and can be over consumed) and totally eliminating sugar and grains from our diets.
     Sugar we all know (or should) is the insidious culprit in western diets for weight gain. the more you eat, the heavier you'll be. Its in everything from bread to juice and beyond. Even if I don't have some of my clients follow this diet, I always advocate getting rid of bread. It can't be made without sugar, and that means you shouldn't eat it. The other part of this equation is getting rid of grains. Grains, Sisson suggests, cannot be properly digested by humans (probably why so many people have Celiacs) and contain certain toxins that are actually poisoning us. I personally believe that it is simply a mater of glycemic load. Americans eat way too many carbohydrates in a day. Carbohydrate is strictly used as fuel in you body. If you do not burn that fuel, you store it. Fat and protein, however, have many functions in the body. If they need to be burned as fuel they can be, if not, the body can put them to use else ware before deciding to store them. Cutting out grains eliminates a lot of carbohydrates from the diets, leaving a person to obtain them from fruit and vegetables, which provide other benefits as well as fuel.
     So there you have it, that is what I eat. I keep my carbohydrate intake to 150g or less. I do not (or try my best) to not eat any grains, beans, or sugar. I eat plenty of fat (see Sisson's site, marksdailyapple.com, for research) because a growing body of research suggests fat does not make you fat, but rather is your body's preferred fuel source. I sleep well, and get plenty of exercise. Hopefully I have convinced you to do the same,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Get Outside!

Last week I posted about running. I love running because you can just open your door and go. The other thing I love about running is that I get to be outside. Anytime I can exercise outside I will do so over being in a gym. There is something that is just more motivating about being outside. So today I wanted to address everyone else who likes being outside. Today I am writing about all the stuff you can do outside (besides running) with little to know equipment.

First things first, if you have to equipment, swimming and biking are both great forms of cardio and can be done outside. We covered running, but maybe your not a distance person, or you are looking to add mass and not lose weight. For those people, sprint work can be a great alternative to long distance runs. The basic sprint:rest ratio is 1:1. With a stop watch, this is easy to do, just sprint for a given amount of time, then walk for that same amount of time. If you don't have a watch handy, you can sprint for a given distance, then walk half that distance back and repeat. The 1:1 ration is optimal to build VO2, and accomplishes a lot of calorie burning in a small amount of time (typically this workout last from 10-20 minutes including warm up and cool down), but ratios like 1:2 and 3:2 spring:rest can be used to build up to 1:1.

Maybe you are the person who hates running in all forms. Why not try Hiking? Hiking is a great workout as the climbs and descents add difficulty to a basic walk, and the constant change in the trail relieves some of the boredom on long bouts of cardio. 

Of course, all your basic body weight resistance training exercises can simply be done outside (squats, push ups, pull ups, etc.). Climbing is a fantastic outdoor activity that provides a full body workout, and depending on how daring you are (or crazy some might say) can use very little or quite a bit of equipment. Rowing is another option, and most state parks with lakes have a place you can rent something you can row (sometimes this can be a great workout as the boats you rent may not be the most high tech, forcing you to work harder to row!).

Finally, my personal favorite is what I call free running or trekking. It involves just moving through a forest or patch of trees in the fastest way possible. No trails or marked paths, just run (or walk) and take obstacles in stride. Be careful with this one though, as it can be easy to twist an ankle, so you have to watch where you are going. That's it for today, go outside!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I've been doing

       So lately, my shoulder has been bothering me a ton (suspected partial labrum tear). I have been relegated to running, yoga, and ab exercises. I however, has been continuing to lose weight. I am a firm believer in keep the body guessing (cue Dodgeball reference). The human body has an amazing ability to adapt. That ability in part, is what causes a plateau. So by changing your workout every few months, you are forcing your body to constantly change and adapt to the new stimulus. If your stuck, try something new. admittedly, I have been into running lately after reading a book on running, but I don't believe that is a bad thing. There is no one workout that fits everyone and you should do the rest if your life. Variety is the spice of life! So get out there, and just do whatever!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Easiest Exercise Ever!

Its called Running. Now before you stop reading my blog altogether, hear me out on this one.

This weekend I spent in Mass. (hence this post is a day late), with some family. For the trip I bought the book Born To Run. The book is amazingly well written and a great read altogether. It rekindled my passion for running. I have been running barefoot for three years now and I only grow to like it more each time I step outside.

Now, I am not saying you go out with no shoes and start running. While I believe in this method, I don't believe it is for everyone, so if you decide to do it, put in your research before. For the rest of you, as well as all my clients I do recommend running. Why? You burn serious calories doing it for one. Running burns 100 calories per mile. IF you are in any shape at all you can go1-2 miles easy, adding 100-200 calorie deficit to a workout in only 15-30 min. Then there is the benefit to your heart, and since Cardiovascular diseases are so rampant in the U.S., that should be reason enough alone.

What makes it the easiest exercise ever though? You need very little equipment. Just shoes, and those are debate-able. Since you don't need much equipment, you have no excuses for not working out. For those of you that think running is terribly hard or just plain terrible, I would challenge you this. Try it for two weeks. The more you run the better you get at it, the easier it gets, the farther you go. To get started try this routine. Jog as far as you can go, than walk double that amount of time. For instance, if you can only jog for 10 minutes, follow that up with a 20 min walk. You'll find yourself increasing your time each day.

Good luck, and get outside. Summer doesn't last long, so take advantage!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Quick Tip

I have written here about the power of vegetables (But lets be honest, is there anyone out there who doesn't know that veggies are good for them?). However, what kind of blog would this be if I didn't offer up some recipes to make them better?

Sauteed salad:
2 finely diced beets
2 cups chopped kale
2 cups spinach
Saute beets in olive oil until tender, add kale for 3 min, then add spinach for last minute. Season with salt and pepper. If everything goes according to plan everything will be roughly the same texture, tender but still with a little fresh snap to it.

Healthier Cole Slaw
Cole Slaw mix (Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Shaved carrots, what have you)
Red and Yellow Bell peppers
Prep: Mix everything with some olive oil salt and pepper. Add vinegar if your into that (I'm not a fan). The strawberries replace the sugar in slaw dressing, they are best if diced and mixed throughout the salad. Add a couple dashes of Tabasco instead of the vinegar if you like things hot!

There you have it, eat up and reap the benefits!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Switch It Up

You've probably heard before that the human body is amazingly adaptable right?. Well that is true. In fact it is so adaptable that often times you become used to a certain type of workout (cardio, heavy lifting, endurance lifting, etc.). This is what we call a plateau.

Now in standard training methodology, the principle of overload should prevent the dreaded plateau. The overload principle simply states the the body most continually be challenged to promote further adaptation. For the common person this is generally interpreted as run farther or lift heavier. Often though, this does not provide enough stimulus to warrant change. So what is a person to do?

Change your workout style. Been lifting for hypertrophy (2-4 sets, 8-12 reps)? Try switch it up and lifting for power, typically 1-3 sets for 1-5 reps with heavy weight moving fast. Maybe you have been running long distance for years? Try adding some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 1 or 2 times a week to break up the monotony. The key here is to force your body to re-adapt.

So am I saying here that you should do a completely different workout style every time you workout? Yes and no. If you do that, your body will become adapted to general fitness and be ready for anything. The downside of this is you won't be truly great at anything. This is fine for the average joe, but if say your training for a marathon, or looking for lots of hypertrophy, it would be better to give your body 4-8 weeks to adapt to the new workout, then switch back or move on to another style.

In doing this, you will "keep your body guessing," or forcing adaptation, which will yield greater results over time.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Per Request, I have decided to throw up my bio on here (probably should have done this from the start, but you live and learn I guess). My name is Jason Vogel. I am a personal trainer at Infinity Fitness in Westerville Ohio. I graduated from THE Ohio State University with a Degree in Exercise Science. I am ACT Certified, and working towards my CSCS from the NSCA.

My fitness background mostly includes high school sports, football and lacrosse, and 1 season of college football. I coached middle school and high school lacrosse for three years before getting into training. I worked for 8 months at the Urban Active in Powell, but did not enjoy the corporate atmosphere. I really enjoy were I work now, and feel the more private atmosphere has made a dramatic improvement on my training, and my clients are seeing the benefits of better workouts.

When I workout, I like to do lots of different stuff. I run barefoot most of the year in addition to many different workouts from crossfit to traditional bodybuilding. I like to be outside and my hobbies include hiking and mountain biking, along with being barefoot, whether running or otherwise.

I think what sets me apart from other trainers is how much I care about my clients. It is really hard for me to just give a client what they want and leave it at that. I feel like its my job to give them every piece of info that I think can help better their health. I love my job for that reason, because I get to make a difference in people's daily. Thanks for the support and reading my blog. Hopefully it helps you reach your goals and just be healthier!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Burn Calories More Effectively

Good morning, and I hope this blog post finds you active and well! Today we are going to discuss how you can maximize the effectiveness of you workouts. As a trainer I often hear clients say they want to work on this body part or that due to accumulated weight. Unfortunately weight loss doesn't exactly work that way. You generally lose weight from all over at once with the greatest proportion coming from belly fat. Ladies, I'm sorry, but the weight comes off of you legs and hips last. So what is a burgeoning exercise enthusiast to do? You want to maximize burned calories through a combination of resistance training and cardio. Cardio burns lots of calories, but that burn stops shortly after you stop doing cardio. Weight lifting burns somewhat fewer calories, but because you are doing damage to your muscle fibers, calories continue to be burned long after you stop lifting as you body heals itself. So the ideal workout combines weight training followed by cardiovascular exercise (as your type 1 fibers can use the lactic acid produced from anaerobic activity as energy, as well as you don't want to be fatigued before lifting heavy for safety reasons). So you going to go throw down some curls and jog lightly and expect to lose weight? No! For Best results you need to lift heavy and breakdown your muscle tissue as much as possible because, the more you damage, the more repairs you have to do, the more calories it takes for those repairs. Take it one step further, and lift heavy for full body exercise. Big exercises like jump squats, burppees, power cleans, all burn tons of calories and use most muscles you have. Of course the disclaimer here is to be safe, ask a professional to coach you on form because these movements are multi-joint, and thus have lots of room for injury. Start with very light weight and progress as your form improves. Again when in doubt ASK A PROFESSIONAL. Too many health magazines will tell you to do this stuff and show you pictures, but if you form is bad you can and will get hurt. 'm not saying this to discourage you from trying this stuff, but sitting on the coach with a torn muscle isn't a great workout and all you had to do was ask. So, in summery, lift big, with big movements, then do cardio. The weight will melt off of you.