Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Benefits of Fitness Training

If you’ve ever joined a commercial gym before, you are more than aware of the offer for the free fitness assessment that comes with it. Many people take advantage of this and discover risks for injury they never knew they had. The mistake that most gyms make after the assessment is the high-pressure sales talk. Suddenly, it becomes less about you and more about getting your name of a piece of paper. As a personal trainer, I’ve seen it happen all too often.


Assessment aside, I want to explain why a hiring a personal trainer – even if it’s only for a month – could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. No sales talk. Just the facts. 

It Will Pay for Itself



First off, hiring a personal trainer is an investment that will pay for itself in the long run. A great trainer won’t just give you a workout and a diet, he or she will explain step by step the why behind the program and diet. The best way to look at hiring a trainer is like a work internship. 

You’re working with an expert who will teach you through hands-on training how to care for your body. This is information that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. It’s information you can share with those who are closest to you to help them change their lives.



Sure, some people do stick with a personal trainer for years. It’s not because they haven’t learned how to exercise or how to eat. It’s about the connection that the trainer and client have built up over time. It becomes less about hiring a trainer and more about training with a friend. I have several clients that have long since reached their goals but they continue working with me because of the motivation, support, and genuine interest that I provide.


There are plenty of people who hire a trainer for a few months, learn what they need, and continue on their own. Either way, a personal trainer is an effective long-term investment in yourself.

Finds Your Strengths, Identifies Your Risks


The first thing that you and your trainer will do is go through an assessment often called the Functional Movement Screen. It involves a series of seemingly simple movements that can quickly identify your strong points, muscle overcompensations, tightness, and risk for injury.

The best trainers will continue monitoring your strengths, weaknesses, and injury risk during each training session. The trainer may not outright say what he or she is doing except in a simple postural correction. Little by little, you watch your weaknesses disappear and your risk for injury dramatically decrease.



Continuing with the point above, a great trainer will explain in detail areas of concern and the plan of action that will be taken to correct the weaknesses. You’ll be actively learning the steps you can take on your own to avoid issues due to muscular over compensation, tightness, and problem areas.

Eventually, you’ll feel like you are running the show during your workouts and the trainer is there for motivation and support.

Uncomplicates Nutrition


Aside from going over a Functional Movement Screen with you, a great personal trainer will also spend a great deal of time learning about your eating habits, medical issues, and any pertinent information related to your diet. From this, he or she will create an easy-to-understand meal planner recommendation. This will include recommendations for meal ideas, macronutrients, daily caloric intake, and supplements.



Again, it won’t be just a piece of paper for you to follow. Your trainer will walk you through each recommendation so that you understand the potential benefits and how it specifically applies to you based on a number of acute variables such as your height, weight, lifestyle, and goals.


Personally, I ask my clients to email me their food journal entries each week so I can review their weekly progress and make suggestions if necessary to allow them to continue moving towards their goals. 

Always Changing Custom Workouts


One of the most common mistakes that newcomers to fitness make is they find a workout online and use it for months without changing a thing. Not only is this dangerous but it potentially won’t do anything for them since it hasn’t been designed to meet that individual’s specific measurements, lifestyle, and fitness goals.



One-size-fits-all workouts can be troublesome especially when exercises are recommended that you have never done before. Same goes for workout videos. Sure, you can see the movement being performed but you can’t ask the instructor for coaching points. 


When you hire a personal trainer, you can rest assured that you are getting a custom-built workout program that is specifically designed for YOU and no one else. The program will emphasize your strengths, improve your weak points, and reduce or eliminate areas of risk.


What’s more, your workout program will never stay the same. A great trainer will constantly be tweaking your workout program to ensure you continue to improve in all areas.

Keeps Working Outside the Gym



Finally, the best personal trainers keep working long after you have left the gym. Great trainers provide 24/7 support for their clients in order to maximize recovery and results.

Personally, I take two hours each and every day including weekends to answer e-mails and texts from my clients. My clients know that like a friend they can always reach out to ask questions or get support.  

Ready to Change Your Life?


If you’re ready to get serious about pursuing your fitness goals, then it’s time to get signed up with a personal trainer who has fifteen years in the industry.

I offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied in any way. I am a trainer who believes in this industry because it’s my passion. I love helping people achieve their goals and making lifelong friends in the process.

You can call (617-505-2627) or e-mail me (Will@byrdtraining.com) and let’s get you started with a completely free fitness assessment to see how I can help you achieve your ideal physique.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Benefits of the Deadlift: Power, Muscle, and Performance

Considered the king of exercises by many fitness experts, the deadlift is a compound movement capable of helping you achieve a variety of fitness goals involving strength, power, and muscle mass. 

There’s a good chance you’ve heard this before as every fitness-related website and magazine seems to say the same things about the deadlift. Is there justification in what they say about the deadlift? Is it really as incredible of an exercise as it’s made out to be?

Let’s take a closer look at the deadlift to see if it can help you achieve your fitness goals and whether it’s worthy to be called the king.

What is the Deadlift?

On paper, the deadlift is pretty straight forward: it’s an exercise performed with a barbell that begins from the ground and ends in a lockout of the hip flexors. In reality, the deadlift is anything but simple.


This multiple muscle activator exercise requires cooperation from major muscle groups, joints, and connective tissue in order to move the barbell from the ground properly. It can be performed without weights; however, for the real benefits of strength, power, and muscle, which I’ll talk more about below, you need to add in the extra weight. 

What Muscles Do Deadlifts Work?


As mentioned above, the deadlift is a compound exercise, which means that it activates several muscle groups – primary and secondary movers – at the same time:

·      Hamstrings
·      Quadriceps
·      Back
·      Calves
·      Glutes
·      Hip flexors
·      Abdominals
·      Biceps
·      Forearms

One of the most unique aspects of the deadlift is that there are different types, which will emphasize some muscle groups more than others.

Other Types of Deadlifts


Alternate Grip Deadlift

·      A traditional deadlift but instead of a two-overhand grip, you use an over / under hand grip

Hex Bar Deadlift

·      Uses a Hex Bar
·      Better for generating maximum power
·      Safer on the lower back and knees

Sumo Deadlift

·      Wide stance
·      Focuses more on the quadriceps and hip abductors

Romanian Deadlift

·      Almost exclusively focuses on the hamstrings
·      Safer than the traditional deadlift but not great for building power

Benefits of the Deadlift


Spikes Metabolism
·      Since you’re working several major muscle groups simultaneously, you are sending your metabolic rate through the roof. The best part is that you don’t need a lot of weight to trigger this benefit. Simply moving through a deadlift with a barbell may be more than enough to challenge your body and increase metabolism. This has obvious benefits for weight loss and cutting season.

Increases Growth Hormone Production
·      If you’re a guy over the age of 30 and you’re looking for a way to naturally increase your testosterone, it’s time to start doing deadlifts. The deadlift exercise has been shown to promote the production and release of growth hormone in the body, namely testosterone for men.

Builds Power
·      The deadlift is one of the best movements to develop raw power. As a hip hinging movement, the deadlift demands that your glutes and hip flexors play a major role. Properly performing a deadlift will dramatically increase the amount of force you can generate from the ground. This translates into huge gains in strength and overall power.

Develops Muscle Mass
·      One of the most popular benefits of deadlifts is its incredible ability to help you build serious muscle mass. The exercise itself is ideal for achieving muscle hypertrophy as it involves the legs and back. What’s more, the increase in growth hormone may also help you build muscle as testosterone, in particular, is a very anabolic hormone. This means that it promotes overall growth. In other words, deadlifts will support muscle building for all of your other workouts.

How to Properly Perform a Deadlift


This is extremely important as the deadlift can quickly lead to strain or injury when not performed correctly. Since it activates several muscle groups at the same time, if you have improper form, you can increase your risk for over compensation. When one muscle group takes over for another during an exercise, you’re asking for trouble.

There are three phases when performing a deadlift: the set-up, the driving force, and the lock-out. Here’s how to master the proper form of a deadlift:

Setup the Deadlift
·      Approach a barbell so that your shins are on or near the bar. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart.
·      Keep the chest up as you drop the hips towards the floor.
·      Tighten the core, pinch the shoulder blades together, and grab the barbell.
·      Keep the back straight and check your knee placement before starting. Make sure they aren’t hanging over the bar.

Driving Force

·      Simultaneously push through the heels, drive the hips forward, and keep the back straight.
·      This is the hip hinge I mentioned earlier and this is where you generate the most power. 
·      Keep your core tightened throughout the movement.

Lockout the Deadlift

·      Drive and engage your hips forward with a completely straight back.
·      Tighten your glutes and hold this position.
·      Slowly, reverse the movement, keeping your back straight and return to the starting position.

How to Incorporate the Deadlift in Your Workout


It will depend upon your personal fitness goals but the deadlift can be incorporated into one of the following types of workouts:

·      Leg day
·      Full body workout
·      Power-focused workout
·      The top three workout (deadlift, squat, bench)
·      Isolation workout

Best Deadlifting Workout


When I perform deadlifts, I prefer to use a hex bar deadlift while utilizing a lifting methodology called decline and incline pyramid sets. If you want to vastly improve your power, strength, and muscle, try this workout:

Warm-up:

·      10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise
·      5 minutes of total body stretching
·      Examples: Stepper or bicycle

 

Deadlift Workout:


Hex Bar Deadlift: 
·      15 repetitions using 65% of your one repetition maximum (for the amount of weight)
·      12 repetitions using 70% of your one repetition maximum
·      10 repetitions using 75% of your one repetition maximum
·      8 repetitions using 80% of your one repetition maximum
·      6 repetitions using 85% of your one repetition maximum
·      4 repetitions using 90% of your one repetition maximum

Traditional Deadlift
·      4 repetitions using 90% of your one repetition maximum
·      6 repetitions using 85% of your one repetition maximum
·      8 repetitions using 80% of your one repetition maximum

Sumo Deadlift
·      15 repetitions using 65% of your one repetition maximum
·      12 repetitions using 70% of your one repetition maximum
·      10 repetitions using 75% of your one repetition maximum

Conclusion


What is your favorite deadlift? Have you been using the deadlift for a while? What results have you noticed? Tell me in the comments below!

References


Michael B. Zweifel, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Bret Contreras, Wycliffe W. Njororai Simiyu. Effects of 6-week squat, deadlift, or hip thrust training program on speed, power, agility, and strength in experienced lifters: A pilot study. Journal of Trainology 2017;6:13-17.

Berglund, L, Aasa, B, Hellqvist, J, Michaelson, J, and Aasa, U. Which patients with low back pain benefit from deadlift training? The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(7): 1803- 1811, 2015.

Swinton, PA, Stewart, A, Agouris, I, Keogh, JWL, and Lloyd, R. A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads. J Strength Cond Res 25(7): 2000-2009, 2011.