It’s NOT All About the Numbers

BodyFat_ImpedenceThe world of fitness is overloaded with numbers. It seems like everywhere you look, there are people on message boards discussing new workout plans, or supplement companies trying to sell you the secret recipe for success: how many sets to be completed, calories to be burned, reps to be done, exercises necessary, grams of protein required, carbohydrates consumed, workouts planned, pounds lifted, kilos converted, miles ran, and the list goes on and on. Crunching the numbers is a workout on its own!

In reality, there’s only one number you should be concerned with at the gym: Zero. That’s the number of cares you should give about all the different advice you are being bombarded with as you walk through those gym doors. Don’t get me wrong, numbers have their place. You can keep track of personal records and progress. But, it has its pitfalls as well.

Research shows that stationary bikes, treadmills, stair climbers, and ellipticals overestimate calories burned by 7%, 13%, 12%, and 42% respectively (UCSF).  42%! This discrepancy, caused by rudimentary formulas and the machines’ incapability to consider each unique individual, represents a far larger concern in the gym: the over-reliance on numbers to motivate your fitness endeavors.

A classic example is the weight scale. If your fitness goals are defined solely by your weight, you may be approaching your workouts the wrong way. The number on the scale is literally just the numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. A scale can’t measure muscle, body fat, strength, or your enjoyment, which is ultimately going to play a large part in you consistently returning to the gym.

The workout is your opportunity to do what YOU enjoy. You are in charge of your workout; your workout is not in charge of you! The great thing about fitness is there is an infinite number of ways to get in shape, and Aztec Recreation provides just about all of them: Bowling, Tennis, Surfing, Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Aztec Adventures challenges, dance, martial arts, and so much more. You name it, they have it.

So squat because you want to, run because you want to, or take that windsurfing class at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center because YOU want to. Finally, at the end of the day, smile—because you’ll want to.

Good Luck!

By: Jimmy Shiba, Graduate Health Promotion Intern, MPH CandidateJimmy_Shiba

How are you making your workout more enjoyable? Let us know! #LiveWellAztecs

 

Resources:

https://arc.sdsu.edu/content.php?arc=3 (All the different programs associated with Aztec Recreation)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weekend/exercise-calorie-counters-work/story?id=9966500#.T1p_TvF8C80  (Article outlining study done by University of California, San Francisco Human Performance Center on cardio equipment accuracy)

http://vtpeakperformance.com/false-reality-calories-burned-cardio-machines/ (Why cardio machines miscalculate calories burned)

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/enjoying-exercise-leads-enhanced-results-study-article-1.1861561 (Research study showing the impact of workout enjoyment)

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/13-tips-to-actually-enjoy-exercising.html (13 simple tips on how to make your workout more enjoyable)

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Member Spotlight: Jenna McGuigan

Jenna McGuigan can squat 255 lbs! This fit, buff, young woman is a sophomore at SDSU who works outJenna Squat at the ARC most days of the week. “I didn’t get it [255 lbs.] the first time I tried,” Says McGuigan, “But I got it the next time.” McGuigan is smart, systematic and focused. Reaching 255 took less than two years of training.

Jenna is a fascinating Aztec who believes that strong women are beautiful.  “With lifting weights and getting stronger I realized how empowering and enlightening it can be to feel like you can do anything.”

The structure of McGuigan’s workout involves five one-two hour sequences that she does daily: Chest day, Back day/ Deadlifts, Shoulder-Calves, Leg Day/Squats, and Arm Day. She will take off some days if she is feeling run down.  In the case of skipping days, Jenna starts back where she left off.  Jenna’s dedicated efforts include getting up at 5:30am daily, running two miles, preparing food and everything she needs for the day, and then heading campus and starting with her ARC workout.

Reaching goals in the gym is natural for McGuigan who has a vision for her future in the field of prosthetics because she loves helping people. She studies physics at SDSU, volunteers for Coaching Corps, and is working on a biomechanical research project studying the elderly with Dr. Levy in Kinesiology. She is only a sophomore but says, “I want to get the most I can from being here at SDSU.” McGuigan says that she is motivated by her professors and she feels respected by them because they recognize her drive.

11188425_10204401205933541_8171323466297958984_nMcGuigan’s greatest inspiration has come through hardship. After being infected with Lyme’s disease, McGuigan’s mom became physically handicapped in 2009, creating a sense for Jenna to never take anything for granted. It also was during this time when Jenna learned how to cook, which is a skill that helps her stay on track with her wellness regimen now. McGuigan sees working as a volunteer in coaching corps as inspirational for both herself and the kids she coaches; “Many of the kids are from families going through financial hardship and don’t have opportunities. For them, the time we spend doing sports and fitness is an important memory.” McGuigan was elected next year’s Coaching Corp president and is it any wonder that the SDSU chapter of Coaching Corps is one of the fastest growing chapters in the country?

Jenna says some of her greatest inspirations have come from realizing how good she has it and making sure she takes advantage of that good fortune. From this sense of gratitude, her personal motto is: “The rest is up to you.”

Read Jenna’s Blog: http://believeinthebeast.com/

Importance of Mobility for Strength Training

Mobility is both beneficial to all aspects of fitness and is easy to improve and maintain.  It is your ability to control your limbs throughout their full range of motion, and can sometimes be confused for stretching.  Although stretching and flexibility are both aspects of mobility, mobility has a direct functional effect on movement.  By working on mobility, not only will you be able to avoid injury but you will be able to execute exercises with more power and efficiency. Watch the video below to see how different mobility exercises can help you get into a more optimal squat position.

 

 

As the school year begins, the gym gets packed with students from a wide range of fitness levels.  From beginners to thoroughbred fitness gurus, students are eager to put the amazing facility at the ARC to good use.  But, before you go charging in to grab a bench or claim a pair of dumbbells, let’s take the time out to prepare the most important piece of equipment in the gym: you. Your body is the most complex machine found in any gym facility.  With over 200 bones and over 650 different muscles, it is important to recognize the endless possibilities of movement patterns and leverages it can accomplish.

Making sure your body has the sufficient mobility for weightlifting should be an essential part of your workout routine.  It allows you to get into optimal positions and execute movements in ways where you are testing the strength of your muscles and not the integrity of your joints.  It also prevents injury by giving you the awareness of any weaknesses you may have in your muscle groups so you will not compensate by overworking and straining other dominant muscle groups during exercises.

Lack of mobility often manifests itself in large compound movements.  The squat is a great example.  Lifters will often times lack mobility at the bottom of the squat in their ankles and hips, which forces their toes and knees forward and outward to create space for their hips to drop down, while at the same time, shifting weight onto the toes.  This starts an avalanche of problems as your body attempts to compensate for the lack of strength created by the poorly leveraged squat position. As the knees come forward, all the weight shifts onto the quads, eliminating the entire posterior chain from the movement (the posterior chain consists of all the muscles on the backside of your body including the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and back).  The body will compensate for the lack of strength with the knees, hips, and lower back, putting them under tremendous strain and often leading to injuries in the future.

You can improve your mobility in countless ways.  Essentially every muscle in your body can be worked on and improved for better performance.  Several high quality foam rollers and bands are available for checkout at the front desk and the PVC pipe is available for use in the Fitness Room.  The ARC also offers various Yoga and Pilates classes throughout the day to all members which can help you strengthen your mind muscle connection and your core while improving flexibility and mobility.   So before you go crazy with the weights, take a moment to make sure your body is primed, supple, and ready for action

Article by: Jimmy Shiba, Graduate Health Promotion Intern,  MPH Candidate

Are you working on your mobility? Let us know how #LiveWellAztecs

More mobility resources:

(A more in depth description of joint mobility and joint stability as the foundation of any workout program)

(Joint mobility as it relates directly to the squat. Video and article by multiple powerlifting world record holder Bryce Lewis)

(The difference between mobility and flexibility.)

 

 

The DO’s and DON’TS of “Bulking Season”

 How to Gain.. The RIGHT Way

Looking to gain muscle mass? If you think eating anything and everything in sight will help you to bulk up, you may want to think again.

Now that summer has come to an end and tank tops and shorts are replaced by baggy pants and sweat shirts.  The next few months can mean only one thing…Ahh it’s bulking time.

  • The Bulk: A period of time when the primary goal is building muscle, gaining weight, increasing strength, or all of the above. Calorie intake is increased so a caloric surplus is present.
  • The Cut: A period of time when the primary goal is losing fat, losing weight, getting leaner, or all of the above. Calorie intake is decreased and/or calorie expenditure is increased so that a caloric deficit is present.

Every off-season, many individuals fall short of their goals. Why? You might ask. Below are some of the most common mistakes people make during the off-season that hinder their gains. If you can avoid as many of these mistake as possible, you will be on your way to a productive off-season.

1) Not Eating Enough

In order to add muscle to your body you need to make sure that you have an adequate surplus of energy. This means simply getting enough calories daily so that your body can recover from workouts and rebuild the stressed muscle fibers little by little.

Without the energy and the fuel, via a surplus of healthy food, you cannot make the improvements you need. Make sure that you are eating enough calories to enable you to make those improvements. Though you might put on a little (note I said a little) body fat, the body fat will come off once you diet down for cutting season.

2) Not Eating Enough Healthy Clean Foods

Above we talked about taking in enough calories so you can put on good size in the off season.

There is a lot of misguided information out on the internet on how to binge to gain muscle. Often there will be claims that eating this amount of protein or X amount of calories will lead to bigger muscles. We are here to clear all that confusion up.goddvs.bad food

You might say ‘fast food and junk food are calorie dense so why not have them once or twice a day so I can bump up my overall calories?”  or “Because junk food is so calorie dense, I’ll have enough energy to make my reps and build more muscle, right?”
While you want to have excess calories while bulking, the majority of those calories should be from clean healthy foods: lean cuts of meat, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Although not as calorie dense, these healthy foods are energy dense. Clean energy is what is going to give you that extra push to do that extra rep. When you are trying to gain weight you do need additional calories, but diet riddled with junk food will result in little muscle gain and plenty of fat storage.

How many times have you heard people say how sluggish they feel after eating fast food?
This is mostly because junk food has nutritionally zero benefits; yes, you are getting your calories but no nutrients to fuel the body leaving you sluggish. Because junk food has the wrong kind of sugars it’s common to find yourself getting a “sugar high” followed by an immediate crash. The crash is due to the energy running out whereas clean healthy foods keep your energy going for a longer lasting effect. So think twice the next time you take a bite out of that 4×4 at In’n’out! Clean it up and you will beef it up!

3) No Cardio

This is a huge mcardioooistake that 99% of the time men fall victim to the no cardio approach in the off season. They justify it by saying “I don’t want to lose any gainz”. Well, we are here to tell you that three 30 minute cardio sessions a week will do wonders for your bulking phase. By incorporating a cardio routine into your workout program, your appetite will go through the roof, which will make it a lot easier to eat more clean healthy food.

“Staying aerobically fit is an important component of gaining weight. A strong and fit heart will help you to recover between sets more efficiently thus improving your overall work capacity (in other words: allowing you to do more sets in same the same amount of time).” Brian Tabor, personal trainer at ARC.
A big part of building more muscle means progressively doing more work (set/reps) in your training. If you want to put on that size then start doing some cardio.

 

4) Not Enough Rest/ Recovery Timesleep-better

Many novice trainers don’t realize that you do all your growing outside the gym. Even some experienced lifters find it hard to stay away from the gym to get enough rest. They do everything else right: eat clean, workout out hard, but forget to give their bodies enough rest and recovery time between workouts so gains are negligible. Being sure to get plenty of food is one thing, but it’s important to get enough rest and sleep as well. You break down the muscle tissue in the gym, given that you fuel your body with nutritious food.

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

For more information, visit these sites:

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=11633
http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_173.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/water.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045506
http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/10-most-common-bulking-mistakes.html

 

 

ARC Express Will Have the Latest in Functional Training Equipment

The ARC Express is the new on-campus fitness facility and will be opening on January 22nd, 2014. Located on the East side of campus, it’s one of the many exciting spaces in the new Aztec Student Union and entry to the ARC Express will be available to Aztec Recreation members. This new workout facility will be located on the 3rd floor of the Union on the south side, offering participants spectacular views of the surrounding area!

The ARC Express will feature state-of-the-art functional training equipment as well as cardio machines, small group training, and a “workout-of-the-day” for ARC members.

Synrgy 360MainImageWe are especially excited about the Synrgy 360 that will be unveiled in the ARC Express. This revolutionary piece of functional training equipment provides limitless opportunities to train smarter, better, and more effectively. It is a full-service training nerve center that will allow members to perform a variety of exercises in order to help them excel in their commitment to moving fitness forward.

The video above shows the amazing functionality of this piece of training equipment. The components available in the ARC Express may vary slightly from those seen in the video.

XL_combo_421x352The Synrgy 360 equipment that will be available for use in the ARC Express will include:

  • Dumbbells
  • Barbells
  • Flat Bench
  • Back Extension Bench
  • Utility Bench
  • Multi-adjustable Bench
  • Cable Motion Chest Press
  • Cable Motion Shoulder Press
  • Cable Motion Pull-down
  • Cable Motion Row
  • Glute Machine
  • Leg Curl Machine
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Seated Leg Press
  • Pec Fly/Rear Deltoid Machine
  • Cable Motion Space
  • Suspension Zone
  • Versa Space
  • Chin-Up Bar

Along with the Life Fitness Synrgy 360, the ARC Express will feature the following fitness equipment:

• Treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, AMT Trainers & rowing machines

• Battle Ropes, Medicine Balls, TRX

• Weight Training: Free weights up to 50 lbs

• Circuit Training

• Stretching Mats

The ARC Express hours of operation will be:

Monday – Friday: 8:00AM – 10:00PM

Saturday and Sunday: 12:00PM – 6:00PM

 

By: Kayla Heaviside

TRX Videos

TRX image

You may have seen your fellow ARC members working out with the black and yellow strap contraption, but there are an infinite number of ways to use it and get an amazing workout. This piece of functional training equipment is called the TRX Suspension Trainer and it allows you to work on all major muscle groups and many major areas of muscular fitness (strength, endurance, stability, and mobility).

The TRX gives you a total body workout with minimal equipment because it uses your own body weight. This allows one to adjust the difficulty of any exercise, simply by walking closer to or further away from the anchor point, so it is a great piece of equipment for people of all fitness levels.

You can use TRX to:
• Gain mobility and flexibility
• Recover from a variety of injuries
• Build muscle
• Increase total body strength
• Stimulate metabolism
• Improve muscle coordination

It’s important to add variety to your workouts, so try out a new TRX exercise this week! The Group Fitness Studio and the stretching mat area of the ARC both have TRX wall mounts to perform these exercises. The Group Fitness Studio is open to members any time between scheduled classes, and you can check out a TRX from the front desk at any time of day using your I.D.

Get some ideas and inspiration from any of the TRX videos posted on their official website: http://www.trxtraining.com/blogs

By: Kayla Heaviside