Alive! Fitness Studio http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com Slow-motion strength training, 20-minutes, twice a week Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:37:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Are You Still Counting Sheep? Take a Nap! http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/are-you-still-counting-sheep-take-a-nap/ http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/are-you-still-counting-sheep-take-a-nap/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:42:36 +0000 http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/?p=1670 "Sixty-five percent of us will have trouble falling asleep tonight and be exhausted tomorrow." – James Maas  According to James Maas, "Quality sleep is not a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity". I know you’re thinking, "then why the heck is she writing about napping"? You’ve probably been told (or read) that napping during the day is bad […]

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"Sixty-five percent of us will have trouble falling asleep tonight and be exhausted tomorrow." – James Maas 

According to James Maas, "Quality sleep is not a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity". I know you’re thinking, "then why the heck is she writing about napping"? You’ve probably been told (or read) that napping during the day is bad for you and will exacerbate any insomnia you may have. This is not true according to current sleep research. 

Our fundamental, internally programmed pattern is known as biphasic sleep which is composed of one long period of sleep at night AND a short period at midday. In the 1950’s, Dr. Jurgen Ashoff of the Max Planck Institute in Germany provided hard, scientific evidence that a midday nap is part of our DNA.

It’s not your lunch that’s making you sleepy, it’s your need for a midday nap! Napping is natural and most beneficial for alertness, mental ability, and overall health. Now I can already hear the objections; it’s our conviction here in Silicon Valley that “time is money”. This thinking that napping is a waste of time is what gets in the way of our taking a brief, rejuvenating 20-minute midday power nap. 

What if this 20-minute power nap gave you the following benefits?

  • Longer life and more energy
  • Reduced stress
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Better memory
  • Increased productivity
I’ll bet these benefits are enough to get you power napping.  I’ve been powernapping between 2 and 3pm each day for over 10 years with the help of an application called Pzizz. It uses voice, music, and subliminal suggestions for getting the most out of the rest of your day when you awaken. It actually becomes more effective the longer you use it. Now, all I have to hear is the first few words and I’m asleep. Here’s a link to a review and a way to get Pzizz at no cost

You’ll need to find your own best nap time, typically between 1 and 3pm. Just make time to nap each day and do it in a safe place. If it’s difficult for you to nap during daylight hours, a sleep mask can help. 

I started by putting it on my calendar with a notification, and now that’s not even necessary. It’s become a regular part of my life. Napping has made my afternoons much more productive, and I sleep more soundly at night. It has become essential to my health and wellbeing. You could say I’m addicted to it, but better a nap than taking drugs for sleep.

Remember, instead of drinking a caffeine filled latte or a sugar-laden soda for your afternoon boost, take a nap. Power napping… the pause that refreshes!

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It’s the Little Things http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/little-things/ http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/little-things/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:17:28 +0000 http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/?p=1129 “I have to tell you, I’m very skeptical of this slow motion workout stuff.” Those were the first words I heard from one of my long time clients, Elaine Mayland. Elaine retired to New England at age 80. Her incredible wit and humor will be greatly missed in the studio. Shortly before leaving, Elaine related […]

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“I have to tell you, I’m very skeptical of this slow motion workout stuff.”

Those were the first words I heard from one of my long time clients, Elaine Mayland. Elaine retired to New England at age 80. Her incredible wit and humor will be greatly missed in the studio.

Shortly before leaving, Elaine related a very powerful story to me about what this “slow motion stuff” had done for her in her life. For many years Elaine was second in command of a body work and movement technique called the Rosen Method, and was second only to Marian Rosen, the founder. So Elaine traveled, lectured and taught worldwide right up to her retirement.

Earlier this year during her return from a trip to the Netherlands, she had to pass through the Hamburg Airport. As I understand it, the Hamburg Airport is enormous, with distances between terminals sometimes being miles. During her visit to the airport, Elaine said she was routed from terminal to terminal to terminal, taking up more than three hours and causing her to walk many miles. She told me it was at least five. Finally things got sorted out and Elaine caught another flight home.

So, what’s the big deal? Five miles in an airport doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, and for many it’s not, but if you have advanced, severe osteoarthritis in both knees, it can be frightening. When Elaine first came to Alive! some years ago, she said we were her last hope to keep from having surgery on both knees, a prospect that was absolutely a last resort for her. She occasionally had to use a walker, and when she traveled she had to hire a companion to help her get up stairs with luggage and to be there in case she fell. Now, the amazing part of this story is that one year before the Hamburg incident Elaine had to travel through the same airport, and at that time she had to be wheeled through the airport in a wheelchair, much to her embarrassment. Her great realization this year was that she had not only walked miles and miles through the airport, but that she had not even thought of hiring a companion to travel with her. She felt so confident in her abilities that it didn’t even dawn on her to hire anyone to assist her while traveling.

To me, this is the definition of independence. This is freedom. It’s the ability to live life at a higher level. Elaine has not only stopped a part of her biological clock, but reversed it, if only a little bit. And this little bit was enough to make a very big difference in the quality of her life!

With a little hard work, and I mean a “little,” we can all improve our quality of life and thereby the quality of those we interact with.

I hear it over and over from the people I work with that it’s the “little things” that change for them from doing SafeStrength® training. They walk a little further, they take a little less medicine, they get up off the floor a little easier, they put their own luggage in the overhead storage, and they hold their children and grandchildren (and Great Grand Children – Congratulations Marjorie!) more and longer.

Subtly, life just gets better.

I want to thank you all for reading this little story, and for those of you who work so hard in the studio, BRAVO! You have our deepest respect and gratitude –you’ve survived, Alive!

Author: James P. Bell

 

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Muscular Growth & Hierarchy of Necessity http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/muscular-growth-hierarchy-necessity/ http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/muscular-growth-hierarchy-necessity/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 02:37:05 +0000 http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/?p=989 You’re doing your work out and you are getting near the end of an exercise. Your muscles are burning; they’re screaming, “Stop, Stop”! But your trainer is saying, “Keep Going” we’re going to work through the burn! Your first inclination is to strike the trainer soundly about the head but damn, they’re just out of […]

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C2013CheryShepard-James146-crYou’re doing your work out and you are getting near the end of an exercise.

Your muscles are burning; they’re screaming, “Stop, Stop”! But your trainer is saying, “Keep Going” we’re going to work through the burn! Your first inclination is to strike the trainer soundly about the head but damn, they’re just out of reach…. You smartly follow your trainer’s advice and you keep going for another 15 seconds at which point your muscles go to complete momentary fatigue. This is called in-roading and when accomplished, gives you 50% more benefit from the exercise than if you had given into your mind’s pleading for you to stop if even 1 second short of that complete momentary fatigue.

This bonus in raised metabolism and increased muscular growth is due to a survival mechanism in our brains. The brain perceives this level of exhaustion as a threat to survival and then reacts appropriately. It does what it sees as necessary to perpetuate your life. Anything short of this level of work the brain sees as doable and doesn’t respond with anywhere near the same level of growth.

This disparity is because of something that is called the Hierarchy of Necessity.

That means, that if the brain doesn’t perceive something as necessary in some way, it’s not going to do much or anything about it. It’s why most steady state activities do very little to stimulate muscular growth or burn calories. The brain just doesn’t see the need. On the other hand though, if the stimulus is raised and the steady state activity made to be hard and highly demanding the cardio-vascular response does seem to be enhanced in a much shorter amount of time. (McMaster University 2005)

When applied to resistance training the results can be dramatic! With enough load and demand all sorts of wonderful things happen for the body.

1. 50% more muscular growth

2. Increased metabolism

3. Increased insulin resistance

4. Increased bone mass

5. Increased cardio-vascular efficiency

6. Increased spinal stability

7. Decreased joint and spinal pain

8. And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Well, maybe not number 8, but you get my point. Only good things happen when you safely exercise to full muscular fatigue.

You may notice I just added the word “safely” to this little essay. I add it because not all high intensity training is safe. If it’s not safe it’s not effective because injuries will either cause too much down time or cause you to abandon the exercise all together.

If you know me then you know that I believe only one form of HIT (High Intensity Training) is safe. That would be slow motion strength training in a highly structured environment with one skilled trainer per client.

So exercise safely to full fatigue utilizing a very knowledgeable slow-motion HIT trainer.

This will keep you safe and your exercise will be of benefit to your body.

 

(c) 2014 James P. Bell, SafeStrength® Master Trainer

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Gardening This Spring? Keep your Body Uninjured! http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/gardening-spring-keep-body-uninjured/ http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/gardening-spring-keep-body-uninjured/#comments Sun, 20 Apr 2014 02:15:23 +0000 http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/?p=788 Well…spring has sprung! It’s that time of year when we want to get outside and work in our garden. Gardening is very, very good for us as long as we follow a few basic rules. 1. Start slowly. If you are going to be doing some hoeing in the garden, start at 10 minutes at […]

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small_430716741Well…spring has sprung! It’s that time of year when we want to get outside and work in our garden.

Gardening is very, very good for us as long as we follow a few basic rules.

1. Start slowly. If you are going to be doing some hoeing in the garden, start at 10 minutes at a time, then 15, 20, 30 and so on. Don’t go out and hoe for 3 hours the first  day. It’s just asking to be sore or injured.

2. Pull those tummy muscles in tight and support your core, and especially your spine!

Do this every time you lift or push.

3. Breathe when you are lifting or pushing! Don’t risk a stroke, especially in hot weather when you are  feeling hot, tired and dehydrated! Your breathing should be relaxed, open and free.

4. When bending to lift or work with something always bend at the hips, not the waist. The easiest way to remember this is to stick your “Butt” out! It’s how we were designed to bend. Bending at the waist puts too much force on the lumbar area of the spine.

And most importantly…. stay focused on the task at hand! Be alert and present with your work so you can remember to Breathe, Pull Your Tummy In and Bend at the Hips.

I wish you all a happy and pain free spring and summer!

(c) James P. Bell, SafeStrength® Master Trainer

 

photo credit: Pictoscribe via photopin cc

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The Benefits of Strength Training on Osteoarthritis http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/benefits-strength-training-osteoarthritis/ http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/uncategorized/benefits-strength-training-osteoarthritis/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:51:58 +0000 http://www.alivefitnessstudio.com/?p=741 Well, it only took a few minutes to Google™ up more articles than anyone could read in one lifetime about osteoarthritis and the benefits of strength training. So I scrolled down through the list and picked from what looked like the more prominent names in the study of health and exercise. After reading them, you […]

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Well, it only took a few minutes to Google™ up more articles than anyone could read in one lifetime about osteoarthritis and the benefits of strength training. So I scrolled down through the list and picked from what looked like the more prominent names in the study of health and exercise.

After reading them, you can probably guess what I found. They all promote strength training to help alleviate the effects of osteoarthritis.

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in American and osteoarthritis is by far the most prevalent form of arthritis.¹

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the bone and cartilage of the joints, most commonly of the hips and knees. The cartilage starts breaking down and the joint space gradually closes. In serious cases, the space closes to a point where the joint is bone to bone, thus creating the stiffness and pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Now, for the good news! Recent studies done at Tufts University² showed that a regular exercise program, emphasizing strength training, done 2-3 times per week, benefited patients by greatly reducing  the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. They found that the exercise effect in most cases was the equivalent to, or better than taking medications.²

Some of the other effects of strength training on osteoarthritis are…

  1. Increased bone density results in increased resistance to fractures due to falls or impacts.
  2. Stronger muscles, which empowers the person having them to do more activities independently, thereby elevating their overall emotional attitude towards tasks and life.
  3. Long-term strength training, done properly and safely, leads to increased lean muscle mass.  This raises the Basal Metabolic rate, changing your body’s fat to muscle ratio.  With a better body composition ratio, there is reduced stress on the joints.
  4. Doing strength training helps to keep the joints lubricated so they move more smoothly, with less friction and pain.
  5. Better balance due to stronger muscles and greater flexibility, leading to fewer falls and injuries.

So, strength training can help you slow down your biological clock.

While low impact aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming is excellent for maintaining cardiovascular health, it does very little to increase lean muscle mass. Strength training does increase lean muscle mass, and for people with osteoarthritis, more strength means a much higher quality of life!

That being said, don’t stop taking your medications and run out to the nearest gym!! Check with your healthcare practitioner and ask them whether or not it’s safe for you to exercise, and at what level.

Be sure to work with qualified trainers and do workouts that are designed to lessen the stress on your joints while still effectively building your muscles.

James  Bell, Master SafeStrength® Trainer

 

¹ – Nicholas A. Dinubile M.D.  The Physician and Sports Medicine Vol 25 – No.7  7/97

² – CDC (Center for Disease Control) – Article Growing Stronger – Strength Training for Older Adults:  Why Strength Training? 

Copyright© James P. Bell 2005-2014

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