Thursday, December 9, 2010

MAT Recommendation

"Being a sports agent and working with professional athletes over the past 12 years, I have dealt with a wide variety of injuries with my players. Stephanie Turner introduced me to the Muscle Activation Techniques and first implemented it during my pro camp four summers ago. Needless to say, it has be a huge hit with my athletes. They look forward to using MAT and also working with Stephanie on a daily basis. She has been a significant part of my players pre and post training routine."

-NHLPA Agent

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Belly Buster Abs

What is a sure way to get those abs done? Do them before your workout! Get the core warmed up before you even start your cardio. That way your feeling your abs and core support your body as you go through your full workout. Here are 6 moves to get you started:

1) Side Planks: Hold each side for 20-45 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

2) Lateral Leg Lifts: Do 10-15 on each side. Should be done with slight hold at the top of the movement. Repeat 3 times.

3) Medicine Ball Bosu Crunches: Do 15-20 reps. Repeat 3 times.

4) Scissors: Do 14-30 reps. Repeat 3 times.

5) Medicine Ball Stretch Back Crunch: Do 15-25 reps. Repeat 3 times.

6) Bicycle: Do 20 -30 reps alternating elbow to knee. Repeat 3 times.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Momma Needs A New Routine

Depending on the type of delivery, coming back from having a baby can be challenging. Most physicians recommend waiting 6-8 weeks before beginning an exercise routine. Women who have worked out on a regular basis typically want to jump right back into their routine. However, it's important to remember to take things slowly because the body needs some time to adjust. Making sure everything is functioning properly before resuming a full body exercise routine is important. And I have one word for you gals...CORE!!!

You can't just assume that everything is going to be the same once you get approval from your doctor to workout. Your core muscles are going to need a tune-up! These muscles include your rectus abdominis, external/internal obliques, and your spinal erector (lower back) muscles. Not only those muscles, but really anything that surrounds the pelvis. So doing a ton of crunches just isn't going to cut it...there's more to getting back into shape.

Here are a few exercises to get started in the first couple of weeks:

Hip Hikes - On your back with your feet on the ground and shift your hips alternating to each side, shortening the pelvis in towards the ribs. Go slow and do 20-40 reps. Muscles worked: obliques and spinal erectors.

Superman - On your stomach with arms down to side, raise upper body and head up so they don't touch the ground and hold for 8 seconds 5 times through. This is similar to an updog yoga position, which you can start with if you don't feel strong enough to lift yourself up. Muscles worked: spinal erectors.

Planks - Holds in push-up position either on your knees or feet. Hold for 20-60 seconds. Make sure the bum is not sticking far up in the air! Challenge the core by keeping it down, but not sinking too low. Muscles worked: all core.

Crunches with a Towel - Just like regular crunches except you are going to roll up a towel and put it underneath your lower back. Why? Because in order to work your abs properly, as you go back, you should have a slight curve in your lumbar spine. Crunch up and lift the shoulder blades off the ground....go SLOW! and even hold it as you get to the top of the crunch for an extra second. Do 10-30 reps. Muscles worked: abs and spinal erectors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adding Some Zsa Zsa to Your Cardio

I am the first to admit it...during the summer, when it comes to doing cardio, my routine is so much easier. Making the most of the weather while it's gorgeous outside is my focus, so going running and playing tennis are my main sources of cardio. As the weather changes, moving my routine inside can sometimes be a challenge because I easily get bored doing cardio machines. Sound familiar?

So let's look at some ways to mix it up:

Circuit Training. If you don't have time for cardio and you really want to get your weight training routine in, then try some circuit training. This means keeping your body moving between sets with very little rest time. Break your routine down by choosing 5-7 exercises and do short bursts of cardio in between. This keeps the heart rate up and ultimately give you a better workout. You can do each exercise for 45 seconds each with a 15 second transition time into the next exercise. You will be alternating a strength exercise with a cardio move.

Here's an example:

Squat Shoulder Press
Jump Rope
Wide Grip Row
Step Ups
Bicep Curls
Burpees (push ups with a jump up)
Ball Crunches

Repeat circuit 2-3 times

Hit the Track. You can do this workout inside or outside. Depending on your individual running level, you can do as many laps around the track as you like. The key is to do something different on the straight aways and then jog/walk around the curves of the track. Some options for the straight aways are side shuffles, karaoke (like side shuffles but alternating one leg in front of the other), skipping with jumps, frog leaps, high knee jogging, or lunges (forward or lateral). If you really want to work hard, you can sprint the straight aways.

Short Bursts on 3 Machines. If you feel like you get "exercise ADD" when you're on cardio machines, you're not alone! One way to make it easier is to shorten your time on each machine to 10-15 minutes instead of spending 30-45 minutes on one machine. Changing up the programs or increasing levels will give you some variation.

Here are a few routines to get started:

Routine #1
Stepmill (or gauntlet) - Hill or interval program for 10-15 min
Elliptical - Cross Training or random program for 10- 15 min
Treadmill - Speedwork 2 min fast to 1 min jog for 10-15 min

Routine #2
Spinning Cycle - Alternating sitting and standing for 1 minute each for 10 to 14 min total. Remember to increase the resistance when you stand.
Treadmill - Walk/jog increasing incline by 1.0 every other minute for 15 min.
Ski Slide - 2 to 3 minutes sliding with one set of "climbers" or plank ups in between. Repeat 3 times.

Routine #3
Rowing Machine - 5-10 min.
Upright Bike - Hills or Heart Rate Training program for 15 min.Elliptical - Aerobic Training, Reverse, or Intervals for 15-20 min.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Deeper Look Into Shoulder Pain

If you haven't experienced shoulder pain before first hand, I am sure that you have heard someone talk about it. Depending on the severity of injury, it can take from 1 to 6 months to heal. Physicians often refer to it as a rotator cuff injury, tendonitis, bursitis, or even impingement syndrome. But what does that really mean?

The rotator cuff is actually comprised of four different muscles (supraspinatus, teres minor, infraspinatus, and subscapularis). Each has a different role in providing the shoulder joint with stability. These muscles along with others (traps, serratus anterior, levator scapula, and the deltoids) act as force couples on the shoulder blade (scapula) to move it away from the spine (or abduct) as we raise our arms. In order for the joint to function properly, these muscles should be balanced to maintain a smooth motion as we raise our arm out to the side or overhead. Having muscular imbalances involving any of the rotator cuff muscles may lead to an inability to move the scapula outward and can ultimately cause abnormal wear on the joint. As a result, pain often will occur on top of the shoulder.

So where do you start if you have been diagnosed with a shoulder injury? Whether you are working with a physical therapist or a MAT specialist, they should be able to identify what muscles are not working properly by doing a range of motion evaluation and muscle testing. According to what muscles are found weak, you can begin with corrective exercises. One other thing to keep in mind is that even though you have pain in your shoulder, it could be related to another area of the body. The trunk, spine, hips, and knees can also affect shoulder joint motion because all of the joints in your body are interrelated.
Here are some common exercises for shoulder injury prevention and rehabilitation. Any of these exercises can be done with bands or cables:

1) Scapular Retraction - This is actively squeezing the shoulder blades in toward the spine with arms in front of you, to the side or overhead. This can be done standing or even seated at your desk. A progression to this exercise would be a row (as shown below).

2) Arm External Rotation - Starting without a band, keeping your elbow at 90 degrees in close to the side of your body, rotate hand and lower arm out to side while squeezing shoulder blade in towards the spine. This exercise can be done at multiple angles and with bands as you get stronger.

3) Front Raises - Arms are straightened hanging down to sides then raised up to shoulder height.

4) Lateral Raises - This exercise is often the last one to be added in rehab because usually there is pain associated with movement out to the side. Arms are slightly bent and raised out to the side to shoulder height.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baby Got Back

That's right, how many times have we all heard how important it is to strengthen the back muscles? If you train with me, you know that I stress the importance of a strong back. Whether you're working a desk job or standing all of the time like I do, strengthening the back side (including lower back and glutes) is beneficial. I like to include the glutes (or hip extensors) because they act to help the lower back in spinal extension.

Here are some key exercises to include in your routine. Working out your back 2-3 times a week is ideal for the best results. If you haven't spent much time working on your back, then make sure that you start with lower weights and progress slowly. For all exercises, make sure your abdominals stay tight to stabilize so that you can work the muscles properly. Included are recommended weights to get started for men and women. Do 2-3 sets of 12 repetitions.

1) Seated Cable Row (middle back/scapular stabilizers/biceps)
-Women 30-60 lbs
-Men 45-80 lbs

2) Reverse Fly (upper/middle back/scapular stabilizers)
-Women 10-30 lbs
-Men 30-50 lbs

3) Wide Grip Cable Rope Row Standing or Seated
(upper/middle back/scapular stabilizers/biceps)
-Women 40-60 lbs
-Men 55-85 lbs

4) Weight Assisted Pull-Ups (lats/biceps)
-Women and Men start with assistance equal to 2/3 of your
body weight

5) Lat Pulldown (lats/biceps)
-Women 35-60 lbs
-Men 55-90 lbs

6) Back Extension (middle/lower back)
-Do 8-12 reps prone on the floor moving into "Superman"
position with arms to side lifting head and chest off of

7) Hip Extensions on ground or ball (glutes)
-Do 10-15 reps prone on the floor or ball. Leg is bent to 90
degrees at knee and lift heel up toward ceiling using glutes
with a small movement. Both sides should be done

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting to the Root of Knee Pain

Figuring out where knee pain is coming from can be a challenge for many people. The first question anyone with knee pain needs to ask is has the pain been gradual, or can you think of one moment that you started feeling the pain? The point is to establish whether or not it could be an overuse injury or it is something that occured with one specific movement or force to the joint. For example, a football player who takes a blow laterally to the knee from a tackle would have pain from an external force from one incident. In contrast, a right handed golfer might have left side knee pain from the constant repetitive rotational force on the knee, which would be considered an overuse injury. Either way, it is important to consult a physician to establish a course of action for recovery and rehabilitation.

One way that I have been able to help my clients with knee pain is with Muscle Activation Techniques. It can be a terrific tool in analyzing the body for musclular imbalances. Sometimes with overuse injuries (like with the golf example), people are stronger moving one way versus the other and the body can shift to compensate, therefore creating a muscular imbalance. That is why it is so important to understand when your body is out of alignment. There are many different possibilities as to what can be causing knee pain in an overuse injury, such as potential weakness in the hip muscles or even the trunk and spine (core muscles). If muscular weakness is found in the core muscles, it may be causing instability in the pelvis, which can ultimately affect the direction of forces on the knee joint. Using Muscle Activation Techniques to restore muscle strength is a safe way to identify and restore the body to balance.

For more information go to

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Morning Circuit

Need a quickie workout to get the blood pumping in the morning? Give this circuit a try!

1 min. Jump Rope
Reverse Grip Pulldown (12 reps)
Cable Rope Bicep Curl (15 reps)
Red or Blue Band Bicep Curl (15 reps)
Climbers (on slide pads or jumping-24 reps alternating)
Kettlebell Squats with Arm Swing (15 reps w/10 pounds)
Yellow Band Front/Lateral Raises (24 reps)
Burpees (10 reps)
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps on Ball or Bench (15 reps)
Green or Red Band Tricep Pushdowns (15 reps)
Push ups (15 reps)

Repeat 2 Times

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pics from Lululemon Class

Looks like fun! Come join us for my Body Burn class at Lululemon Rush on Thursday, April 29th from 7-8pm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Walk MS Lakefront

I am pleased to announce that I have been asked to be the official trainer to warm up over 4,000 Walk MS participants on the Grant Park stage on Sunday, May 2nd! As some of you know, I have a couple of friends with MS, so getting people to participate and raising money for this event is important to me. After I warm everybody up, the team I will be walking with is the "J-Walkers".

So if you are interested in walking with our team or donating that would be terrific! Your donation will make it possible for the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide programs and services for people with multiple sclerosis while also funding important research that will bring us closer to a cure for this chronic disease.

It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make a tax-deductible donation online simply by clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. After you make a donation, look for your name scrolling in the fundraising honor roll. You can be a part of joining the movement to achieve a world free of MS!

Click here to view the team page for J-Walkers
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Thanks for your support! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Personal Training with Skype

One of my regular clients called me last week and said he was going to be unable to train for the next couple of weeks, but really wanted to get his training in, so he suggested we Skype each other during our appointment time. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about doing this, but it actually turned out great once we got going! I Skyped him at his normal appointment time. We had to adjust his camera a little so that I could get a full view of his body (for biomechanical corrections and cuing). I had my camera set up so that I could demonstrate the exercises for him if necessary. It was really just like being there in person, except for the occasional couple second time delay. He had a Total Gym, bands, and a stability ball. We got in 4 circuits with 12 total exercises, and by half way through, he had a good sweat going!

So it looks like there is another option for people who can't make it to the gym or clients who are traveling and need that push to get out of bed and workout in their hotel room. Glad I tried Skype personal training! Thanks Tom!

Friday, April 9, 2010

20 Minute Abs

Do you get stumped trying to be creative with your abdominal routine? If you do the same abdominal routine every time you go to the gym, you may have noticed that it stopped working. Many people don't realize how or what exactly they are working when exercising. If you can focus more on where you should be feeling the exercise, you will get more out of your routine.

The abdominal muscles include, and are not limited to, the rectus abdominis (all four sections), transverse abdominis (upper and lower fibers), internal/external obliques (anterior and lateral fibers), pyramidalis, and yes, even that psoas! That's a lot of ground to cover with your routine. I am going to give you a full abdominal workout, but here are some helpful hints before you start your exercises:

1) Make sure you lift the shoulder blades off the ground or ball when crunching.
2) If you are on the ball, stretch all the way back as you come back down from crunching up so that you get a slight curve in your lumbar spine and get those spinal erectors involved in the movement.
3) Feeling pain in your back with exercise is not okay! Make sure that you can do the exercises pain free, if not, then you need to ease up on repetitions and build more strength.

Here's the routine:

Stretch Back Ball Crunches (20-30 reps)
Alternating Oblique Ball Crunches (30-40 reps)
Plank Holds (60 seconds)
Side Plank Ups (15 reps each side repeat twice)
Side Lying Leg Lifts (feet together lifting both, 15 reps each side repeat twice)
Pilates 100s (count 100 bounces with arms)
V-ups (20-30 reps)
Lower Abdominal Knee Tucks on Ground (30-40 reps)
Bicycle (30-40 reps)
Alternating Lower Abdominal Leg Extensions on Ground(20-30 reps)
Reverse Crunches (20 reps)
Lower Abdominal Scissors on Ground (20-30 reps)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Lululemon Class

A big thanks to everyone that attended my "Booty/Abs" class at Lululemon Rush Street in March! I will be teaching another class on Thursday, April 29th, from 7-9 pm. The "Body Burn" class will be a full body workout and promises not to disappoint! So if you are ready to get going for summer (while learning some great exercises), come join us at Lululemon Rush on the 29th!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strong Legs

Everyone wants to spend more time outside during the spring and summer. Gradually, we start to take our indoor exercising outside. Whether you are running, playing tennis, or simply going for long walks, having strong legs can improve your performance. And of course, it's always nice for the legs to look good in shorts! Here's a routine that will help you increase your leg strength.

Squats (20 reps)
Plie Squats with Calf Raise (20 reps)
Single Leg Squats (2 sets of 15 reps each side)
Alternating Forward/Side/Reverse Lunges (5 times through each side)
Single Leg Dead Lifts (2 sets of 15 reps each side)
Lateral Jumps balancing touching cones (2 sets of 20 reps)
Prone One Leg Hip Extension (2 sets of 15 reps each side)
Side Lying Leg Lifts-neutral position and internal hip rotation (2 sets of 15 reps each side)
Bridges (2 sets of 30 reps)
Bridges with Legs together (2 sets of 15 reps)

These exercises can be done without weights to start. As they become easier, start to use weights for the squats, lunges, and dead lifts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sexy Arms

Are we ready to go sleeveless for summer? This week I am focusing on getting those arms firm and sexy for the swimsuits and sundresses! Before I give you the workout, I want to stress that you should do this with lighter weights than normal. You are going to repeat 3 sets for each muscle group. Yes, that means light weights and super high reps...burn baby burn!

Lateral Raise with One Arm Holding Front Raise (12 reps each side)
Alternating Shoulder Press (15 reps)
Top 1/3 Lateral Raise (raising to shoulder height and down a few inches making a smaller range of motion-10 reps)

Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension on Bench or Ball (15 reps)
Rope Push down (15 reps)
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks (30 reps)

Bicep Hammer Curl with Rope on Cables (15 reps)
Resistance Band Curl at elbow height keeping elbows up (15 reps)
Alternating Dumbbell Bicep Curl (30 reps)

Remember, it's going to be challenging, so keep the weights light. You may have to half the amount of weight you normally do. I know I did!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Lululemon Class

Mark you calendars! I will be teaching a "Booty/Abs" class at Lululemon Rush Street on Monday, March 29th from 7-8pm. It should be a great spring kickoff to getting that summer bikini body! Great music, rock hard abs and a burning booty...can you ask for more? Hope to see you all there!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Something New

I am not much of a group exercise type person, and yes, I know that's funny considering I am a personal trainer, but I fully admit it to be true. I have been contemplating taking a few different group fitness classes for the past few months because I really think that in order to do the best I can do, I have to follow the trends and see what else is out there. Many trainers get stagnant because they are not open to trying new things, but my philosphy is that trying them makes me better and more creative with what I can offer my clents.

So my first stop this past weekend was taking a class at the Dailey Method in Bucktown. It's a combination of the barre method, ballet, pilates, and yoga. I registered myself and a friend for a "mixed" class on Sunday morning. Upon arrival, the people at the front desk were very welcoming and gave us a tour of the studio...always a good sign because that set the tone for my whole experience. Our class was at capacity with about 30 people. The instructor quickly introduced herself and asked who was new and if we had any injuries (another good sign of a well run studio). Throughout the class, she continued to walk around correcting people's form and making sure everyone understood what we were doing. Most of the exercises were isolated smaller moves in sequences that cover one body part for ultimate fatigue. The moves are purposely done that way so that you don't have to use a lot of weight, but you perform high repetitions instead. Overall effective, but sometimes a little boring. However, when you are taking the class for the first time, you are definitely not bored because you don't know what's coming next!

So what's the verdict? I had a great time, a good workout, and will definitely go back. I am not sure if I could do the workout multiple times a week because I hear that the exercises are typically the same in most of the classes, but I would do it once a week for some variation to my normal routine (which consists of running, weights 3-4 times a week, and tennis). Am I sore? Yes, actually, my lower abs and shoulders are a little sore. In fact, my legs were shaking like crazy during the class and I thought for sure my quads would be sore, but they're not...all that leg strengthening definitely pays off!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Injury Strikes

Suffering an injury can be frustrating for many people. Some think that when you have an injury you should stop working out all together. However, with most injuries, you can keep working just have to do it the right way. The first step should be to consult a physical therapist. If you have been active, working with a good physical therapist that understands your needs is extremely important. Through a referral, you might try to find a physical therapist that works independently from the larger chain physical therapy clinics. It can be beneficial because often times that therapist is more likely to spend more one on one time with you rather than juggling multiple patients as you see often in the larger clinics. This PT will not only provide you with exercises to get you back into your routine, but can also give you guidelines on how to continue working out without further injury. Most therapists want to see people continue activity safely, so they can provide parameters as to what you should and should not do during your recovery process.

If you are working with a trainer, it is important for communication to occur with the physical therapist so both routines are on the same page and/or working in the same direction. When I have clients that are working with me for Muscle Activation Techniques in addition to their therapy routine, I am in constant communication with their therapist. Working with a trainer that has rehabilition knowledge can be very helpful because it may shorten your recovery time. If you don't use a trainer, many physical therapists have trainers that they refer people to work with post rehab so that they can continue working out.

And remember, some injuries take more recovery time, so be patient and try stay positive! Staying active through your rehabilition can often help!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick Cardio Tip

I was working out yesterday on the stepmill and I couln't help but notice that everyone around me on the other stepmills were holding themselves up as they worked out. I could not believe that every single person around me was doing it! This is really one of my pet peeves. Many people get on a machine and turn it up to such a high level that they need to lean over the machine or grasp onto it for dear life. They don't realize they are doing themselves a disservice by holding on. Not that I am saying you can't hold on for balance, but holding on because you can't keep up with the level you are on is not good. I should also mention that so many people get hurt (for example: shoulder and back injuries) by holding on in front of them while on the stepmill and the treadmill. So what point am I trying to make? If you are doing cardio at such a high level that you need to hold onto the machine, then back off on your level and take it down. It's more beneficial to workout at a lower level and not hold on. You will also find it easier to increase your aerobic fitness!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Travel Workouts

Working out while on the road can be a challenge. Many people have jobs that require a heavy travel schedule and often times that gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I can't tell you how many times I have heard clients say, "I was travelling so I couldn't workout." Yes, it is true that it's more difficult, and sometimes you are booked back to back with client meetings. All perfectly legitimate excuses, but the bottom line is that if you want to, you will workout.

But, alas, there is a way out...resistance bands! They easily fit in your bag for travel and can be just as effective as weights. You can pick up a set of 3 bands (yellow, green, and red). Most stores like Target or even Chicago Home Fitness have a set that even comes with a DVD to show you what to do. All you need to do is have a travel routine and you are good to go!

Here is something to get started:

1) Seated Row (back and biceps)- Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you and the band looped around your feet, pull back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

2) Push-ups (chest, triceps, and core)- These can either be done as full push-ups or modified on your knees.

3) Lateral Raise (shoulders)- Stand holding a lighter band in your hands with one foot underneath the band and raise arms out to side up to shoulder height. For more resistance, put both of your feet under the band.

4) Lunges (quads, hamstrings, and gluts)- Any kind of lunge can be done travelling. You can choose from forward, side, reverse, or even a cross back lunge. The lunge is a terrific exercise that can be done anywhere!

5) Bicep Curl (biceps)- Stand with the band either underneath one or both feet. Elbows stay in and pull the band up into almost full flexion.

6) Tricep Extension (Triceps)- The bands come with a door loop to secure the bands in a closed door. Use this piece and loop the band through at about your height. Stand facing the door, with your elbows in, extend your arms until they are straight and then come back to 90 elbow flexion.

7) Crunches (core)- You can do any type of crunch on the floor. Obliques, planks, lower abs, anything!

8) Single Leg Squats (quads, hamstrings, and gluts)- Just doing single leg squats touching the ground with your opposite hand is a great exercise. It strengthens your legs and works on your balance.

One last thing...cardio! Sometimes travel isn't always ideal for getting that cardio in, so check with your hotel to see if they have a workout room. If not, try to get outside and go for a brisk walk or run to get something in. Something is always better than nothing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekly Strength Routine

Check it out! If you look at the side column of my blog, you will see a "Workout of the Week". It will be updated with a different routine to try on your own. This first workout is pretty basic, but they will vary in diffuculty in the future. With each workout chose your own weights, challenge yourself, but remember to do only what you feel comfortable doing. Keep checking each week for a new routine!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is Muscle Activation Techniques?

If you workout on regular basis or are an athlete, chances are you have been injured. We've all been there at least once. Usually, we push through to complete the activity without listening to our bodies. As you continue to workout the body continues to develop compensation patterns that allow you to accomplish the movement without putting strain on the injured area, but sometimes this can make the situation worse. Taking a break can sometimes help, but usually the pain is back once regular activity is resumed. So how can you return to regular activity? And how do you identify what the problem is?

An evaluation method that I often use with my clients is Muscle Activation Techniques. It allows me to identify and correct muscular imbalances in the body that can eventually lead to injury and/or pain. The goal of MAT is to correct the problem before it occurs. Muscle Activation Technique examines the body’s limitations in range of motion and potential muscular weaknesses. Once asymmetries in the body are identified, isometrics and exercises can be prescribed to correct imbalances.

MAT not only helps athletes to recover from injuries quickly, but also helps them prevent injuries. It prepares the body to be more efficient in training and athletic performance. MAT can speed up the rehabilitation process by balancing the muscular system. It provides an improved environment for healing, allowing the athlete to return to participation faster. The end result is improved athletic capabilities.

To see more about Muscle Activiation Techniques go to

Monday, January 18, 2010

How to be Time Efficient with Your Weight Training Routine

Does your weight training routine often get cut short as a result of time? Many people go to the gym and do their cardio first, then if they have time, they do their weights. For some, the extra time it takes to go through a weight routine means that it gets eliminated all together. However, what many don't realize is that a weight training routine can get your heart rate up just as much as cardio if you do it right. Here are some pointers to help get your weight training routine in:

  • If you are not training for anything specific, start out your workout with weights and not cardio. You can use your weight training routine as a warm up for your cardio. Using those muscles before you start your cardio will help you burn more calories.

  • Try setting up a circuit. Do each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest time. If you can alternate upper body, lower body and abdominals in a circuit, then you can do exercises back to back with minimal rest time. That way you can get more accomplished in a shorter time period.

  • Stick to the major muscle groups. Back, chest, and shoulders for the upper body. For example: seated row, dumbell chest press, and lateral raise. Quads, hamstrings, and glutes for the lower body. Examples include leg extension, leg curl, leg presses, and squats. If you have time, then add in smaller muscles like biceps and triceps. You will be working your biceps and triceps too when you do the larger muscle groups.

  • If you have the workout space, in between sets try jumping rope or doing side shuffles for 30-60 seconds. This will keep your heart rate up and make the workout more challenging.

Remember to listen to your body. It is important to push yourself, but if you are extremely short of breath, you should back off. If you are new to working out, gradually increasing your intensity over multiple workouts is a good idea.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shake Up Your Cardio Routine

Do you often walk into the gym and get on the same piece of cardio equipment? Maybe even get on the same machine? Do you notice that initally you were seeing results and now you have plateaued? Then it's time to shake things up with a new routine! The key to acheiving those fitness goals it to have variety in your routine. Here are some different ways to make cardio more interesting and fun:
  • If you spend most of your time on one piece of cardio equipment, try breaking it up into 2-3 shorter workouts. For example: 15 min. stepmill, 10 min. bike, 20 min. treadmill.
  • Be creative with using different programs on each machine. So if you do the elliptical on manual every time, try the hill program or interval training. Many machines have about 10 different programs to chose from.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and try a different sport each month. Sports like tennis, racquetball, and squash are always fun to try! If you are in a cold climate, try skiing or even ice skating.
  • Workout like a track star for a day. Find a track or stay on the treadmill and do speed work. Or pretend you are running a race and time yourself for a 3 mile run.
  • Take a class. Many people are shy when it comes to taking classes. Most health clubs offer a variety of classes (spin, kickboxing, rock climbing, etc). If you don't belong to a health club and have a Lululemon store in your area, check out their class schedule. Each Lululemon store has free classes each weekend!

The biggest goal should be to have fun while you're working out!