Monday, October 31, 2005

Your Spirit and Your Workout - Be Non-Attached

Many people think that working out is a physical activity. Well, it is really spiritual and mental. Let's focus on the spiritual now. What will give you that extra push to work out if you are in pain? What will keep you committed to your work out? It is your spirit - you will to increase the level of your fitness, the fight in you to keep going when it gets touch, the belief in yourself that you can reach your goals, the love for yourself when you fail a goal, and the capacity to recommit. All of that extends from your spirit.

Have you ever watched athletes? They are talented, of course, or they would not get where they are and they would not get paid millions of dollars. But what keeps them going when they are tired? What keeps them going when they are loosing the game and all eyes are on them? What makes them get up when they lose and be able to play another game? What keeps them going is their spirit. In fact, when you work out, you are working out your spirit, character, brain and personality as much as you are working out your body. You are exercising the love and commitment to yourself, your integrity in health, your commitment power, and your strength.

Another thing is that working out does not have to be about work. It can be about commitment to your health and your goals, not an attachment that things like your body and work outs, and goal attainment have to look a certain way. When you are attached, you often suffer. Working out is not fun. You don't like yourself if you don't meet your goals. As you work out, you may be able to get to the point where you BE working out. it is a part of you - not a task. It is the air you breathe. Strive for that, but do not be attached!

The last poem in my book Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories is about being true to yourself, reaching your goals, liking how you look, but just being you! You can find my books on http://www.louizapatsis.com/, http://www.authorhouse.com/, http://www.amazon.com/, and http://www.bn.com/. Search by my name Louiza Patsis or by title.

Have fun at your workout! Don't forget to check out http://www.louizapatsis.com/.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Perhaps the Best Abdominal Exercise

Many people have trouble with their abs. This includes women that have just had a baby. It also includes men that have a "beer belly", if you will. The first thing to do if you have excess fat on your midsection is to do cardiovascular work to sweat and burn the calories.

This is something that now all people understand: If you have a lot of muscle tissue in your abdominal wall, it will not show if you have a layer of fat that will not let it show. If a bodybuilder, for instance, competes in a bodybuilding contest, she or he will trim down the days before the event. More muscles will show. Another thing that some people do not understand is that women, even fit women, tend to have more fat or a thicker layer of fat than men. Even if the women have a good set of abdominal muscles, they will not show a six-pack unless they trim down more, often losing fat from their face, chest, and other areas from which they do not want to lose fat.

Abdominal muscles are often secondary muscles in many moves - such as lying down and lifting your legs up and down. Sit-ups and other exercises can be used to target abdominal muscles as primary movers. Here is an exercise in which abdominal muscles are both primary and secondary movers and is one of the best abdominal exercises out there. It is an advanced exercise. Do not do this exercise without the approval of your physician.

To stretch, stand up and reach up for a few seconds at least three separate times. Sit sideways on a chair, with its back to your right or left. Place your gluteus maximus on the edge of the chair. Place your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders and legs up at the same time. Support your head with your hands and keep your elbows out parallel to your ribcage as much as possible. Do four sets of ten abdominal sit-ups this way. Increase the amount of repetitions every two weeks by five repetitions per set, if you are an intermediate exerciser in terms of your abdominal muscles. Or increase the repetitions as you see fit for the exercise to give you a burn and to be possible to do! Here is an advanced isometric movement: During one of the repetitions per set, hold the position with your shoulders and knees as close together as possible for about five seconds. This varies the workout. This movement and isometric movements are tough. Isometric movements should only be done for seconds at a time and once in a while and only by intermediate or advanced exercisers. To stretch, stand up and reach up for a few seconds at least three separate times.

This is a tough exercise! When you are done, pat yourself on the back! Don't forget to check out
www.louizapatsis.com.

Your Personal Trainer and You

Do you need a personal trainer? Well, this depends on your fitness level and knowledge. If you are a novice going to the gym, or pursuing a new sport, it is an excellent idea to get a personal trainer or coach. A good personal trainer will make sure that you have an okay from a physician to work out. Then they will ask you what you want to do: tone up, have arms that are more cut, trim your waist, run a marathon, hike, be more flexible, become a size 4 or whatever else. The personal trainer or coach can be there to see the greatness in a person even if the person does not see it on her or his own. Her or his job is to show you their knowledge, monitor your posture and results, see what works for you and empower you in your motivation. It is your job to be motivated, to say how you feel, to get to know your body, to monitor your own results as well, and to be disciplined in being on time and following your routine and diet (if assigned a special one). It is also your job to get to know the cardiovascular and weight routines and equipment, and to get to know what muscle does what, how to stretch and rest your muscles and how a fitness program works. That way, when the time comes, you can fly from the nest. (I don't mean to be cliché.) In a year or less, it is usually best for a client to be on their own and follow the program and even add to it or modify it by themselves. This will give the client a sense of independence. If you have a new fitness goal, then go ahead and hire or take on another personal trainer or coach for a while. Otherwise, once you get to know the tricks, be on your own. You can do it! Don’t forget to check out my web site www.louizapatsis.com.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Plateaus are not only in Arizona.

Have you ever started to eat ravenously? Then you get stuffed halfway through the meal and start feeling full, heavy, or even sick. But you go on. Then the high you first felt goes away and you are just flat. You are happy to be eating so the food does not go to waste. But there is no more fun. Have you ever felt a relationship get stale after awhile? Either the sex is no fun or the conversation reveals nothing new about the other person or nothing exhilarating and inspiring.

Something similar can happen when you work out. If you do the same routine for over three months, six months, or especially one year, you may see that your body - endurance, muscle growth and vitality - does not respond as it first did. And you may end up feeling bored. Some people -those that lack motivation and drive, or those that simply are not turned on about the workout and need to be to keep going - will decrease the amount of days working out or stop working out altogether!

Everyone's medical health, fitness, body and goals differ. For a healthy person approved to work out by their physician, who wants to tone up and lose excess fat, workout routines should be changed every three or four weeks, then more dramatically every three to four months, and then even more each year. That does not mean that if something works for you, such as running a certain amount of hours on the treadmill every week, you have to change it. It could mean small, subtle changes like varying the incline on the treadmill, incorporating arm movements, or changing the leg weight exercises you do that day. It could mean running outside for a periods of some weeks or months. Changing your workout routine could be varying the abdominal exercises you do or using a Swiss ball with abdominal exercises for some weeks or months. [A blog for abdominal exercises will follow soon.]

At first you may need to work with a personal trainer to design your workout for some weeks, months or a year. Now if you are injured or really feel you want to maintain where you are at in fitness, a plateau is not a definite no-no.A primary idea in working out is to really get to know and feel your body, and to be able to design your own workouts. [A blog on personal trainers will follow soon.]

Take a trip to Arizona to see those mesmerizing plateaus. But don't have them in your workouts! Don't forget to check out my web site! www.louizapatsis.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Work those quadriceps!

The quadriceps, or front thigh, muscles are among the largest in our bodies. They are the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis (externus), the vastus intermedius and the vastus medialis (internus). They are responsible for knee extension (as a straight leg kick if you are angry at someone ha ha ha) and hip flexion (as when you lie down and extend legs outward, then *bend inward).

When you walk or run, you automatically work your quadriceps. But how many of us, in this day of automobiles, elevators and more) do that? All cardiovascular equipment that involves the legs involves the quadriceps. The gluteus maximus is probably the only muscle larger than they are. However, as with all muscles, you want to strengthen your quadriceps for strength and for circulation and bone health. The fact that the quadriceps are so large is optimal for strengthening them to increase your metabolism. As you may already know, this muscle build up will use more oxygen and more energy, and so burn more calories, even when you sit or sleep. Strong quadriceps also improve stability and posture (not as much as strengthening abdomen or back).

The squats are great for working hips and legs, and increasing metabolism. Lunges work well for squats. Knee extension exercises are also good for squats. Variations on this, like changing the angle of your angles, or concentrating slowly on one leg at a time, will work different quadriceps muscle fibers and avoid fitness plateaus, where your health and strength do not worsen or improve. Taking a band, putting it around one foot and a time and holding on to it to keep it taut, while lifting a straight leg for inches at a time works wonders on the quadriceps muscle fibers as well. A squat against the wall for seconds at a time works. You want to do about two quadricep exercises a week, besides cardiovascular exercises. This applies to the healthy, intermediate person, not to sick, weak or athletic people training for specific sports.
If you are advanced, plyometric squats and lunges work well for leg muscles, including quadriceps. Rest your quadriceps for at least a day in between working them out on leg machines or plyometric movements. To find out more about me, including about my books, go to www.louizapatsis.com.