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Category

Fitness

10 Daily Habits to Incorporate More Physical Activity

By Fitness

For those of us trying to get healthier, a sedentary lifestyle can be a major obstacle! Many people struggle with finding ways to stay active. Between work schedules, commuting, family obligations, and the popularity of working from home, it can be hard to find opportunities to exercise.

Luckily, healthy movement doesn’t have to look like going to the gym or attending fitness classes. If you want to get fitter, but have no idea of where to start, here are some proven techniques for making sure that you move more every day!

10 Ways to Get More Physical Activity Every Day

1. Use a wearable fitness tracker to quantify your steps per day 

One of the best ways to be proactive about increasing your physical activity is to monitor it, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to invest in a wearable fitness tracker, such as a smartwatch.

These devices can give you a more realistic idea of how much you’re moving, and thus make it easy to know when you should be moving more.

In addition to making it easier to actually quantify the amount that you’re walking, there’s also evidence that using a wearable fitness tracker can actually lead to a natural increase in movement.

For example, a systematic review found that fitness tracker use led to users getting in an extra 1,800 steps a day and 40 more minutes of walking on average (not to mention about 1 kg of weight loss).

2. Take regular walks during your lunch break or before work

If you find that a busy work schedule is one of the main obstacles getting in the way of your ability to get more physical activity, you may need to take advantage of the downtime that you do have throughout the day, even if it seems too short to be effective.

For example, a study was conducted to compare the benefits of walking in short 10-minute bouts versus longer 30-minute sessions.

The researchers ultimately found that, while the participants who did longer 30-minute walks ultimately saw bigger improvements in various health metrics, the group that broke their walks into three short 10-minute bouts still saw significantly increased physical activity as well as improved diastolic blood pressure when compared to a control group that was not prescribed a walking regimen at all.

So, on the days that you just can’t take thirty minutes or more out of your schedule for a long walk, you can still benefit from breaking up your physical activity into shorter bouts when you get the chance.

You could take a stroll during your ten-minute work breaks or while you’re on your lunch hour.

3. Start the day with a quick workout

If you find yourself starting off the day with every intention to fit in a workout after work but end up feeling too tired and unmotivated after a long day of taking care of your responsibilities to make that happen, you may benefit from starting off your morning with a quick exercise session instead!

Rather than saving it for later in the day, when you may lose motivation or run out of time due to your schedule, starting the day off with a quick morning workout can help you check your physical activity goal off of your to-do list right away.

Morning workouts may also help with habit formation, appetite/eating behaviors later in the day, and metabolic regulations caused by working out in a fasted state, all of which can add up to impactful results over time!

It may take some time to adjust to an earlier schedule, but it can lead to big payoffs over in the long run.

4. Invest in a standing desk

For a way to increase physical activity that barely feels like moving at all, simply switch your regular office desk for a standing desk instead.

Sitting too often is a major contributor to sedentary lifestyles. Using a sit-stand desk or a raised laptop stand can cut down on sedentary behaviors during your workday and has even been linked to significant improvements in fasting triglycerides and insulin resistance, both of which are important factors for your metabolic health.

Start by standing for twenty minutes, then sitting for ten. Then repeat the sequence.

Once you get more comfortable with your standing desk work set-up, you can start standing for longer periods of time, such as 45 minutes out of the hour.

To up the ante even more, you could add a walking pad underneath your desk. That could really increase your movement when you’re on the clock!

5. Change your regular commute

In addition to sitting for excessively long periods at work, you might also struggle with sitting for long periods during your commute.

So, if it’s at all feasible, consider other ways to get to work, such as walking or biking, so that you can naturally increase your physical activity during the day. Bonus point: it’ll probably be a great mood-booster, since being stuck in traffic for hours is never fun.

You can still apply this tip if walking or biking to work isn’t feasible for you, due to distance, safety, or weather. For example, you could simply start parking further away from the building where you work so that you have to go on a longer walk to get to your desk.

Or you could take the stairs instead of the elevator to get your heart rate up a little before you sit down to your day’s responsibilities.

6. Follow along with a YouTube workout or at-home fitness class

Even though hitting the gym or joining an in-person fitness class can often feel like the “gold standard” for getting a good workout, it certainly isn’t the only option. What’s more, many people find that they have too many obstacles in their schedules to attend a gym or class regularly.

So if, for whatever reason, a classic gym membership doesn’t fit in with your current lifestyle, you can still get a great workout from the comfort of your own home, by following along with video workouts!

Video workouts allow you to follow a structured workout routine without having to leave the house, making them a great option for anyone who doesn’t have the time or resources to go to a gym or class during the day.

Video workouts can also be extremely effective for helping boost your physical fitness.

A recent 2022 study found that the introduction of weekly muscle-strengthening and aerobic video workouts into fitness routines was linked to significant improvements in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, sleep efficiency, and physical activity frequency among participants.

The study also showed that afterwards, participants who did video workouts reported higher self-confidence and fewer perceived barriers to exercise!

7. Try a new sport

In a similar vein to video workouts, gym activities like lifting and running are probably the first exercises you think about when you consider increasing your physical activity. But don’t forget to consider doing sports as well!

Participating in sports and recreational activities like cycling and tennis was associated with lower odds of obesity in adults aged 40 and above.

Adding sports-based workouts to your life can be easy. For instance, you could invest in some baseball gloves and a softball and play catch with your partner or family instead of watching TV.

You could also look into your local city or town’s recreational opportunities or call your local gym to see whether they offer adult leagues for the sport of your choice. 

8. Dedicate an hour a day to household chores that get you moving 

They need to get done anyway, so why not try carving out some time each day for chores that you know will keep you busy and moving?

Some chores that are guaranteed to get you off your feet include weeding or pruning your garden, vacuuming, or walking the dog just one more time.

All of these chores naturally help you get moving and keep you productive in the process. Your household and your health will thank you!

9. Take frequent stretch breaks during the workday

It can be easy to lose track of time during the workday. Suddenly, you realize that you’ve spent hours in your seat, focused on the task at hand. That’s great for your job performance, of course, but excessive sitting isn’t always great for your physical health.

So, break up your work grind! To give your mind and body a much-needed break, try incorporating frequent stretches into your day.

This practice keeps you moving more, and it can even be highly beneficial for preventing pain and stiffness down the line.

For example, one study found that people who were instructed to participate in frequent stretch interventions saw significant pain reduction when compared to a control group that was not instructed to stretch regularly.

Give yourself a five-minute break every hour or so to stand up, move around, and stretch it out. If you need help reminding yourself to do this, try setting an hourly timer and recruiting your officemates.

You’ll all benefit from a much-needed mental wellness break, and you’ll be getting in some beneficial movement in the process!

10. Make your screen time double as an opportunity for exercise

There is another contributor to a sedentary lifestyle besides work and daily responsibilities: screen time. Our constant exposure to screens may eventually lead to too many hours of sedentariness.

But you don’t need to get rid of your screen time completely, especially if it’s one of your preferred ways to unwind at the end of a long day.

Instead, figure out ways to get some movement in even when you’re enjoying some well-deserved relaxation with your favorite shows or social media sites!

For example, you could try challenging yourself to do as many sit-ups as you can before the commercial break is over, or perform some Pilates or yoga while watching a movie.

Simply standing as you use social media, rather than sitting on the couch, can help you get the most out of it.

Conclusion 

One of the best ways to make progress on your health and wellness goals is to find ways to get more movement every day. We recommend experimenting with a few different methods to find out what works best for your lifestyle.

Those little changes add up and can make a huge difference over time!

Steer Clear of These 7 Common Mistakes on Your Body Composition Journey

By Body Composition, Fitness

Let’s face it: the journey to achieving health and fitness goals can be long and difficult.

While many people want to be the fittest, strongest, and healthiest versions of themselves, dramatic body composition changes rarely happen immediately, which can be discouraging. It can also be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re used to focusing on weight-only goals.

In this article, we’ll outline seven of the most common mistakes that can get in the way of your quest to improve your body composition, plus how to avoid them!

Why body composition goals are so important

Body weight is one of the most basic metrics we use to judge our fitness. It’s also the most popular metric, perhaps because it’s so easy to track — and, unfortunately, obsess over!

However, if you’re looking for a way to improve your total health and wellness, you should consider making body composition goals in addition (or even instead of) weight management goals. This is sometimes referred to as body recomposition.

Your body composition takes into account several factors that contribute to your total body weight, such as your muscle mass, body fat mass, and percent body fat.

Making body composition goals, rather than losing weight alone, means building or maintaining lean muscle mass, which has been linked to protection from diseases like cancer — and even a longer lifespan!

Furthermore, paying attention to your body composition can also help you to better understand your overall health and health risks.

For example, making body composition goals instead of weight goals can prevent the “metabolically obese” scenario, when you’re technically a healthy weight but still have more body fat than is optimal for your health.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Improving Your Body Composition

1. Underestimating the importance of your diet

Many people think that the best way to accomplish a fitness goal is to exercise and hit the gym. This is especially true when it comes to body recomposition, since your objective is usually to increase your muscle mass, which requires working out.

However, it’s just as important to pay attention to your diet as it is to refine your exercise routine if you want to attain your body composition targets.

While exercise can certainly help you build lean muscle mass, your body needs adequate nutrition so that your muscles can recover, repair and, ultimately, grow. Another point: exercise can burn calories, which is important for burning fat, but that calorie deficit can easily be canceled out if your diet isn’t portion-controlled.

So, to ensure that you’re making body recomposition progress in a timely manner, it’s a good idea to pair your workout routine with a diet that is tailored to your goals. This has been proven to lead to better and more consistent results.

A 2012 study focused on post-menopausal women found that introducing the participants to a weight intervention involving exercise alone led to an average 2.4% weight loss, while an intervention that focused on diet alone led to an average 8.5% weight loss.

However, a two-pronged intervention that included both diet and exercise led to an average 10.8% weight loss over twelve months!

Similar results were seen in the participants’ body composition measurements, including their waist circumference and body fat percentage.

2. Focusing solely on calories

On a related note, if you’re trying to change your body composition, it’s important to take a holistic look at your diet and consider factors beyond just the number of calories you eat every day.

If you’re coming from a mindset where you’ve only ever focused on weight loss, you might be familiar with the old mantra: calories in versus calories out. This idea comes from the fact that your body uses calories for energy. If you consume more calories than you use, your body then stores the excess in your fat tissue to be used later on.

On the other hand, a deficit of calories means that you have to burn through the stored calories in your fat tissue for energy, ultimately leading to weight loss.

So calories are important, especially when it comes to managing your body fat.

However, when it comes to body recomposition, it’s also essential to focus on your diet quality so that your body has all of the building blocks it needs. It’s especially important to look at your protein intake, as an adequate protein intake is necessary for building muscle.

Eating a high-protein diet while in a calorie deficit can lead to better diet quality and reduced loss of lean body mass, helping you to tackle multiple body recomposition goals at once.

3. Not having a workout plan for building muscle 

Body composition goals generally involve building muscle in addition to losing fat, which means that you need to have a workout plan that adequately addresses both targets. In many cases, this means implementing a combination of various workouts into your day.

Cardio-centric aerobic workouts may be good for losing weight since they often require massive amounts of energy and thus can increase your calorie deficit. But cardio alone usually isn’t enough to build significant muscle mass.

Instead, the best way to build muscle is to incorporate heavier resistance-training exercises into your routine, alongside your cardio. Muscle growth, which is also known as “hypertrophy,” requires repeated stress to your muscle fibers via heavy resistance.

When you do challenging resistance workouts like weightlifting, your muscle fibers become damaged. However, with the right nutrition (in other words, enough protein), your muscle fibers can rebuild themselves, becoming thicker and stronger, which ultimately leads to bigger muscles.

This phenomenon was highlighted in a randomized trial called STRRIDE AT/RT, which was designed to compare the effects of aerobic training alone, resistance training alone, and a combination of the two.

The researchers found that aerobic training was the best for losing weight, but that resistance training was necessary to increase lean mass in its participants.

4. Not keeping track of your body composition in multiple ways 

Traditional body weight scales are the most common tool that people use to keep track of their fitness. However, when it comes to body composition, a traditional scale can’t tell you much about the progress you’re making.

Muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue but is much more compact in size. So, if you’re gaining muscle and losing weight, your weight may not change (or it may even go up), even if you’re actually getting closer to your body composition goals.

Instead of tracking your health journey using your weight, it’s recommended that you use other means of determining your progress, in order to get a fuller picture of how your body is changing. Here are a few ideas:

  • Measure your hip, waist, thigh, chest, and arm circumferences. These metrics can give you a better idea of how effective your training is than your weight alone.
  • Discover your body fat and muscle mass percentages by getting your body composition tested regularly, via a BIA scale or DEXA scan.
  • Track your daily steps and approximate calories burned with a wearable fitness tracker. Knowing how much you’re moving around may inspire you to get more active!

5. Not setting specific goals 

Most people attempting to improve their body composition have long-term goals that they are working toward. However, focusing solely on those big-picture goals can make you feel like you’ll never reach your target.

Instead of setting major goals that might take months or years to complete, some researchers have found that it can be more helpful to set smaller goals more frequently.

For example, if you’re struggling with your motivation, try setting incremental milestones (i.e., losing one percent of your body fat over a month versus trying to lose five percent of your body fat total).

Smaller goals may help you to stay on target more easily and establish a realistic fitness roadmap. Plus, hitting those smaller goals can provide you with bursts of inspiration that ultimately cause you to meet your major goals over time!

6. Ignoring the importance of sleep and rest

Because your diet and exercise are two of the biggest factors that determine your body composition, it probably comes as no surprise that people with body composition goals tend to focus on what they eat and how often they work out.

However, it’s also important to keep other aspects of your lifestyle in mind, like the amount of rest and sleep that you allow yourself.

Sleep is an extremely important component of your health, and it can play a big role in your body composition. For example, your sleep habits influence the hormones that control your metabolism and appetite.

In fact, sleep is such an important factor for your body composition that researchers have found that sleep disruption can negatively influence your body composition progress, even if you’re losing weight at the same time.

In a similar vein, it’s crucial to know when it’s time to let yourself rest. Allowing yourself a couple of days off per week from your workout routine is crucial to avoiding overtraining, which can actually set your progress back.

7. Not staying consistent

Finally, there is nothing more important for reaching your goals (and maintaining your progress) than staying consistent!

We’re often sold the idea that we can make huge amounts of progress within weeks of starting a new exercise routine or diet plan. However, the truth is that accomplishing a fitness goal usually takes months or even years to accomplish in a healthy manner.

Rapid progress can actually be really bad for your body composition, because it can indicate that you’re losing muscle mass in addition to body fat, which is contradictory to most body composition goals.

So, when it comes to improving your body composition, it’s key to understand that fitness is not a short-term goal. You’ll need to stay consistent for long periods of time if you want to make any meaningful progress.

Even when you don’t see huge changes right away, staying on track will eventually get you to where you need to be — without compromising your health in the process.

Conclusion 

When you set a body recomposition goal, what it really means is that you’re making a commitment to eating well, exercising right, and tracking your progress for long-term success.

Accomplishing your goal starts with understanding the main tenets of gaining muscle and losing fat, as well as avoiding these common mistakes along the way. Over time, your efforts will pay off!

How Many Minutes of Strength Training Are Truly Necessary?

By Fitness

You want to build muscle and get fit, so you know that you need to hit the gym and do some strength training. But as you plan out how you’ll meet your goals, you may be troubled by the eternal question: “How much strength training should I actually be doing?”

In truth, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma. It depends on many factors, including your aspirations and your current fitness level.

When it comes to strength training, it might be better to ask how you should be training, rather than how much. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what the research has to say about the amount of strength training you should do per week to hit your fitness targets. You’ll also learn how to optimize those strength training sessions, to ensure you’re spending your time wisely!

Why you need strength training

If your goal is to grow bigger, stronger muscles, you should add strength training (also known as resistance training) to your workout routine.

Resistance training, which includes such activities as lifting weights or doing bodyweight workouts, is a challenging exercise that puts stress on your muscle fibers. These strenuous movements cause microscopic damage to your muscle tissues (sometimes called “microtears”).

When combined with the right diet and plenty of protein, your immune system responds to microscopic muscle damage by repairing those muscle fibers. As a result, they grow back thicker and stronger, ultimately leading to bigger and more capable muscles. This process is also referred to as “muscle hypertrophy.”

It’s not all about aesthetics or sheer strength, either: resistance training’s effects on your body composition are beneficial for many other facets of your health. For example, resistance training can help you improve your balance and posture.

Additionally, increasing or maintaining your lean muscle mass can also be good for your overall cardiometabolic health. The lean muscle mass that you gain from strength training can enhance your metabolism in many ways, which means that it may help reduce some of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

So, how much weight lifting is necessary to reap these rewards? At the end of the day, the amount of strength training you need depends on the kind of results you’re looking for.

How much strength training do you need to gain muscle?

The desire to increase your muscle mass is one of the most popular motivations for beginning strength training. But, to achieve the ideal outcome, how should you train?

A systematic review and meta-analysis focused on several studies that addressed this very topic. Through their analysis, they concluded that people should train their major muscle groups at least twice a week in order to maximize their muscle growth.

You may be wondering what these training sessions should look like. The guidelines can vary, based on who you’re talking to. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing higher-volume multiple-set programs to maximize hypertrophy. In other words, they recommend that you should do multiple sets of a lifting exercise, with each set having multiple reps.

However, other researchers have found that low-load training can also result in similar gains if you reach failure (in other words, if you work out until the point when you physically cannot do another set).

In both cases, it seems that you can achieve promising results as long as the intensity of your workout is high, and you’re pushing your muscles to the point of stress.

Also, it’s important to note that your muscle gains may differ depending on the muscle groups you’re training. A 2022 systematic review evaluated the effects of moderate (12-20 weekly sets) and high (more than 20 weekly sets) training volume on young men with resistance training experience.

They found that there was no significant difference between the two approaches when it came to building the quadricep and bicep muscles — but there did seem to be a significant advantage to doing high-volume training for the triceps.

Finally, the number of training sessions you need can change depending on your current fitness level. Evidence suggests that untrained individuals (ie: people with no/limited weight-lifting experience) saw greater muscle hypertrophy when training than individuals with weight-training experience.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that people with weight-training experience can’t rapidly build muscle. The same study also found that trained participants were able to attain similar rates of muscle gain as untrained individuals simply by adding more training sessions to their routines.

How much strength training do you need to lose weight?

Resistance training definitely has a place in your weight loss plan. However, it’s important to note that you may want to focus on body recomposition rather than weight loss if you’re incorporating strength training into the mix.

Resistance training primarily leads to muscle gain (or the prevention of lean muscle mass loss). Because muscle is denser and heavier than fat tissue, this means that you may see a higher number on the scale even though your body composition is actually improving.

Additionally, losing fat depends primarily on your calorie intake. In order to lose fat, you should be in a caloric deficit — in other words, you should be eating fewer calories than your body burns in a day.

While strength training can certainly increase your caloric needs, it might not be enough on its own for weight loss. However, pairing your resistance training with the right diet can help you to decrease fat mass while preserving your lean muscle mass.

Case in point: The American College of Sports Medicine’s Position Stand recommends at least 200-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for long-term weight loss, but also states that resistance training doesn’t enhance weight loss; rather, it can increase fat-free mass. This is better for body recomposition rather than strict weight loss.

How much strength training do you need to maintain your general health?

Finally, strength training can go a long way in keeping you healthy as a whole. It’s especially effective if you pair it with cardiovascular workouts that keep your body moving and your heart working hard.

The American Heart Association recommends doing moderate- to high-intensity resistance or weight-training workouts at least two days per week, in addition to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

Other considerations for effective strength training

Make sure to factor in rest time

While heavy strength training can help you reach your fitness goals, it’s also important to schedule in days for resting. This allows your body the time it needs to properly recover from all of that hard work, which it needs for muscle growth. Scheduling a couple of days a week for rest can also help you avoid overtraining, which can increase your chances of burnout and even injury.

Don’t forget the importance of eating the right diet to make muscle gains

Exercise alone isn’t enough to make your body composition and health targets a reality. For best results, make sure that you’re eating the healthy and balanced meals that complement the work you’re doing in the gym.

The optimal diet for you depends on your goals. For example:

  • If you want to gain muscle, you should prioritize eating plenty of lean protein and take in more calories than you burn.
  • On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight, you should aim for a caloric deficit.

Conclusion

When combined with a proper diet, strength training can help you build muscle, gain strength, and improve your overall health. To optimize your success, perform strength training at least twice a week, making sure that your workouts are challenging and push your muscles to the max!

Cardio vs. Weight Training vs. Concurrent Training: Optimizing Body Composition

By Fitness

Highlights

  • Aerobic Exercise- the ultimate exercise for increasing heart health, vascular health, and metabolic rate.
  • Resistance Training- the best training for gaining muscle strength and function. 
  • Concurrent Training- get the best of both aerobic and resistance training. 

When you think of exercise, what immediately comes to mind?

Going out for a jog? Loading up weights at the squat rack? Or maybe both?

All of those classify as exercise, but they serve different purposes. If you want to increase your squat 1-repetition maximum by 50 pounds, a daily cycling class won’t get you there.

It’s clear that your body adapts differently to different types of exercise, but how does that happen and what does it mean for your health?

This article will break down the benefits of different fitness regimens: aerobic, resistance, and concurrent training. In the process of reading this article, you will soon discover that your fitness goals can be achieved with some basic exercise physiology background!

What is Aerobic Training?

Aerobic exercise stimulates the heart and breathing rate to provide your muscles with oxygenated blood. The energy that powers such exercise is produced in muscle cells primarily via an oxidative pathway, meaning oxygen is required.

That explains all the heavy breathing when you go out for a run, doesn’t it?

That oxygen is delivered via blood being pumped from your heart, through your arteries, and returning to the heart through your veins.

So, it’s apparent that aerobic exercise primarily works two systems: energy production in your muscle cells and blood delivery in your cardiovascular system.

So how does this help you?

Does Aerobic Training Strengthen The Heart?

Aerobic exercise trains the heart to be stronger and more efficient at circulating blood. With aerobic exercise, the chamber of the heart (left ventricle) that pumps blood to the rest of the body literally gets larger and squeezes out more blood per pump, which means its stroke volume is increased. This results in an improved capacity for cardiac output, which is the quantity of blood pumped by the heart per minute.

If you’ve heard of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), it may seem counterintuitive that a large left ventricle muscle is a beneficial adaptation to aerobic exercise. But, important characteristics differentiate an enlarged left ventricle due to healthy aerobic exercise training and one resulting from disease.

strong, efficient heart is exactly what you want in order to live a long and healthy life.

If your heart is bigger and stronger, pumping more blood per beat, it doesn’t have to beat as rapidly. That’s why you often hear of elite endurance athletes with resting heart rates in the 30’s and 40’s. This is more important than it may seem: lower resting heart rate is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

All these cardiac adaptations are aided by an increase in blood volume that occurs with aerobic exercise training. Without getting too technical, the expanded blood volume improves the heart’s contractility and filling capacity, allowing it to pump more blood per beat.

Although the heart is a different type of muscle than what’s in your arms or legs, it’s still subject to a related function. It contracts in order to move blood throughout the body. In addition to making it stronger and more efficient, you can also lighten the heart’s load by decreasing the resistance it faces.

How does aerobic training reduce arterial stiffness?

Each time the heart beats, arteries in the body provide resistance to the blood flowing.

The resistance provided by arteries is variable, though. Aerobic exercise training reduces the heart’s workload by reducing arterial stiffness.

When you perform aerobic exercise, your heart rate increases, pushing more blood through your arteries than at rest. The inner wall of your arteries feel the increased blood flow, and through a series of mechanisms, causes your arteries to widen.

As you train and your arteries experience this regularly, they become more effective at expanding. If you don’t regularly do aerobic exercise, your arteries never experience this stretch and they literally stiffen up (it is harder for your heart to pump blood through a stiff tube). Additionally, arterial stiffness is associated with coronary artery plaque development, the stuff that causes heart attacks.

Aerobic exercise also impacts your vascular system by promoting capillary growth. Capillaries are the microscopic vessels where oxygen diffuses from red blood cells to muscle (and other) cells.

Aerobic exercise requires increased oxygen delivery to the muscle to produce energy, so your body grows more capillaries to be able to better handle the energy demand.

How does aerobic exercise affect your metabolism?

Along with cardiovascular adaptation, aerobic exercise substantially impacts your muscles’ energy production system. Once blood delivers oxygen to the muscle cells, they still have to use it to produce energy that powers all the exercise you’re doing.

Aerobic exercise also relies to a great extent on breaking down fat molecules for energy, which can only happen within mitochondria.

Consequently, aerobic exercise training drastically improves your muscle cells’ ability to burn fat by generating more mitochondria and improving their functionality.

High-intensity aerobic exercise also increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), resulting in increased calorie burn after training sessions in addition to what you burned while exercising.  However, to maintain EPOC as you gain fitness, make sure to gradually progress your training intensity.

How Does Aerobic Training Impact Body Composition?

People who struggle with being overweight or obese have likely been told that aerobic exercise is a cornerstone of any weight loss routine.

The key to aerobic exercise is that it keeps the heart rate elevated for a continuous amount of time. While this will help to burn calories, it has specific impacts on body composition that people should keep in mind.

study published by the American Physiological Society took a look at the effects of regular exercise in adults. This study lasted eight months and placed adults on either aerobic training programs, resistance training programs, or a combined program. The researchers found that those in the aerobic training program lost more weight overall, including more fat mass than those in the resistance training program. On the other hand, those in the resistance training program gained more fat-free mass, including lean muscle.

To recap, aerobic training causes the cardiorespiratory system to adapt. It maintains heart function and health and keeps your energy metabolism system running.

Aerobic exercise is a jackpot for fitness and a key element of maintaining your health. But it may not get you big muscles or make your body much stronger…what will?

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance exercise is training that progressively overloads your muscles. Some examples of resistance training would be traditional weightlifting, bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups, and resistance band exercises. These types of exercises are meant to make your muscles bigger, stronger, more powerful, and more functional.

Specific adaptations to resistance training begin within the muscle cells. However, you’ll still get systemic benefits ranging from muscle growth to cardiovascular benefit.

To gain a deeper understanding of the whole-body performance and health effects of resistance training, read into how resistance exercise affects muscle at the microscopic level.

How does muscle adaptation work?

The point of resistance training is to make muscles function more effectively. This all starts with the contractile proteins that act to control muscle shortening and lengthening.

When you do resistance exercise, some of those proteins get yanked apart. That, along with the stress your muscle experienced, is the stimulus for your muscle to rebuild – this time bigger, stronger, or more powerful than before.

After resistance exercise, your muscle synthesizes proteins (this is aided by nutritional stimuli i.e. protein consumption). Special cells known as satellite cells also spring into action to help build up the broken down muscle. They normally lie quietly adjacent to muscle cells, but resistance exercise tells them to get to work.

Satellite cells combine with the muscle cells that were strained and damaged during your resistance training session. In doing so, they lend their molecular machinery to support protein synthesis that leads to muscle hypertrophy.

Resistance training with loads over 60% of your 1-repetition maximum results in hypertrophy of primarily type II fibers (‘fast-twitch’). These fibers are capable of rapid contraction with high force but tire more easily.

These micro-level adaptations matter to athletes and the general population alike. When you make measurable gains in muscle mass, strength, or power, you can thank the protein synthesis and fiber-specific adaptations that occurred within your muscle cells.

How does muscle hypertrophy occur? 

All those microscopic adaptations add up to cause changes that are easier to grasp. Resistance training at the proper intensity leads to measurable muscle hypertrophy. Strength improves in part due to changes to the neuromuscular system. Control over your muscles is typically a balance between competing neural signals. Some of those signals tell the muscle to contract, while others prevent contraction.

Regular resistance training can reduce neural inhibition that normally limits the strength and/or endurance of the muscle.

Muscle accounts for roughly 20% of resting energy expenditure, so it impacts on calorie burn and body composition is meaningful. Not only that, but you can’t increase the mass of most of the other organs that account for resting energy expenditure, like the liver, heart, brain, and kidney. Muscle is different because it hypertrophies, growing larger, and expending more calories.

By packing on muscle, not only do you increase strength, power, and function, but you also raise your basal metabolic rate. And by doing so, you’ll see an increase in your metabolism and an improvement in your health.

Does Weight Lifting Count as Cardio? 

If you’ve ever lifted weights or done resistance exercise, you’ve probably felt your heart pounding with the exertion.

Does that mean you’re getting cardiovascular and metabolic adaptations like you would with aerobic training?

Maybe not.

Resistance exercise does raise your energy expenditure. But it does so differently, and to a lesser extent, than aerobic exercise.

Resistance exercise trains your energy production systems but has less impact on the aerobic energy systems.

Is Resistance Training For Everyone?

Even if you’re not an athlete. Resistance training is important for functional fitness.

Functional strength training is defined as: “Training that attempts to mimic the specific physiological demands of real-life activities.” Unlike more traditional strength training (which focuses on specific muscle groups during each exercise), functional training focuses on whole muscle groups to train the body for daily demands.

A common misconception is that you may be too old for resistance training. But clinical data from a multitude of sources clearly shows the benefits of improving one’s functional fitness level, particularly for older adults.

Functional training such as resistance exercises and bodyweight movements can help you become stronger, more flexible, agiler and better equipped to handle day-to-day feats of strength and athleticism that are often overlooked. Plus, it can help you become less injury-prone.

study recruited seniors who were struggling with their physical abilities and placed them in a resistance-training exercise program. At the end, the researchers observed an increase in their fat-free mass, their muscle mass, their gait speed, and their overall physical capacity. This shows that resistance training not only improved body composition in the elderly but also helped to increase mobility to improve their ability to complete day to day activities.

How Does Resistance Training Impact Body Composition?

study found that regardless of the frequency of the resistance training program, participants increased overall muscle strength. The participants increased lean body composition.

Resistance training is a great way to increase lean muscle mass, and it improves the physical capacity of the elderly, leading to significant improvements in their quality of life. This evidence supports the positive capabilities resistance training has in both building lean body mass as well as maintaining lean mass in aging populations who are at risk of muscle loss.

These adaptations to resistance exercise impact your health and physical performance. Your muscles carry you through the day and increase performance if you’re an athlete.

Breaking down and building up muscle through resistance training is essential to maintaining function as you age. Loss of muscle mass even threatens some people’s capacity to live independently.

In terms of body composition, muscle mass is not only an important component to maintain, but it also contributes to your resting metabolism, helping you maintain a healthy energy balance.

Resistance training benefits the cardiovascular system, but its role is mainly for muscle gain and function.

But, how can you reap the benefits of both aerobic and resistance training? Do you just combine the two however you want?

What is Concurrent Training?

Concurrent training is the combination of both aerobic and resistance exercises within the same training session. Aerobic and resistance exercise impacts your body differently, so it follows that they each cause adaptations via different mechanisms.

How should I order my aerobic and resistance workouts?

In practice, aerobic/interval and resistance training don’t seem to interfere with each others’ adaptations all that much. But, understanding a few specifics about concurrent training will allow you to make good decisions about your exercise program.

The type of aerobic training determines how it interacts with resistance exercise adaptations. While strength and hypertrophy gains could be diminished by adding run training to a resistance program, cycling does not have the same effect.

Why? Researchers aren’t exactly sure. But it may have to do with two factors:

  • Cycling ergonomics are more similar to traditional lower-body resistance exercises
  • Eccentric muscle contractions in running result in muscle damage, while the concentric contractions in cycling do not (to the same extent).

The modality of aerobic exercise (running versus cycling) is important to understanding the effect of concurrent training, but so are frequency and duration. In some cases the more aerobic training you add to your program, the more you may impact muscular adaptation. So pair your training programs correctly; a running program in conjunction with an upper-body lifting exercise may benefit overall, but a running/leg press workout every day could interfere with one another.

And if you’re doing both aerobic and resistance exercise in the same session at the gym, or even on the same day, you’ll want to consider the order in which you do the exercises. It’s basically a matter of prioritization.

If your priority is on building aerobic fitness and performing well in a running race, do your aerobic exercise first in a session, followed by resistance exercise.

On the other hand, if your priority is building strength and muscle, you’ll want to do resistance exercise followed by aerobic.

However, the order probably doesn’t matter if you’re untrained.

The takeaway: if you’re untrained and haven’t set distinct fitness goals yet, don’t worry yet about the order of aerobic or resistance training. Do both and start exercising your way to health!

How do you develop a Concurrent Training program that’s right for you? 

If you’re just going to the gym to stay healthy, the benefit of gaining both aerobic and muscular fitness is well worth it.

To get the most benefit from your hard work at the gym, make sure to use these tips:

  • If your priority is muscle strength and growth, choose aerobic exercise like cycling rather than running to complement your lifting routine.
  • Consume enough protein and carbohydrates to stimulate muscle growth and recovery after workouts
  • If you alternate aerobic and resistance sessions, maximize recovery time between sessions (separate them by at least 6 hours)

Chances are that concurrent training is right for you, so go get started!

A Well-Rounded Exercise Program

As people continue to struggle with obesity and functional fitness as they age, exercise is more important than ever. It is vital to combine diet and exercise to not only lose weight but have a favorable impact on body composition and your lifespan.

Furthermore, it is important to have a well-rounded exercise routine that touches on all types of fitness. Aerobic exercise is effective at maintaining an elevated heart rate and losing fat-free mass. On the other hand, resistance training helps to build lean muscle mass. You can combine the two, with concurrent training, or jump into an explosive HIIT workout when you don’t have much time or need a motivation boost.

With this insight, you will be better equipped to understand why exercise is important for your health (a great motivator), how different types of exercise interact, and which ones are best suited for your needs.

Why My Weight Fluctuates Every Day: Explained

By Body Composition, Fitness

Weight fluctuations are normal. However, they can be very discouraging and emotionally taxing to dieters who step on the scale and notice they’ve gained a few pounds overnight.  

However, the average adult’s weight can fluctuate between 1-and 2 kilograms (2.2 – 4.4 pounds) over the course of a day or a few days. So, for individuals who weigh themselves frequently, once a day or once a week, this may be cause for frustration – so much so – that they turn to food for comfort or end their weight loss journey altogether. 

Though these feelings are valid, it’s important to remember that our weight doesn’t provide us with the full picture of what is going on inside our bodies.


What causes weight fluctuation?

Fluctuations in weight are normal, and in many cases, can be caused by changes in water retention. More body water translates to an increase in weight and less body water translates to a decrease in weight. This leaves body fat and muscle mass unaffected. 

Water retention and body composition test

Not only does water retention change the number we see on the scale, but it can also affect body composition testing via bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). BIA testing is a widely used method of assessing body composition including total body water, muscle mass (fat-free mass), fat mass, and body fat percentage.

Unfortunately, despite BIA testing being considered a great way to determine body composition, water retention can alter the results of a BIA test. Consuming water immediately before BIA testing can skew your results because it can cause an overestimation of body fat mass. On the other hand, retaining water will overestimate fat-free mass (muscle mass) and increase your outputs for extracellular water.

Much like seeing an increase in body weight, seeing an increase in body fat and body fat percentage on a BIA device can be discouraging for individuals who have been dieting and/or exercising with the goal of losing body fat.   

Frequently monitoring changes in weight, muscle mass, and body fat are useful for tracking progress and maintaining motivation. However, it is important to remember that there can be small, undesirable fluctuations throughout your journey, and that’s okay. Don’t let them cause you to abandon your health and wellness goals.  

What causes water retention? 

There are many reasons why an individual’s body weight can fluctuate and the biggest contributor is water retention. 

The human body is approximately 45-75% water. Because of this, changes in how much water our bodies are retaining can affect the number we see on the scale.   

There are many factors that influence how much water our bodies retain, including: 

  • Sodium: Sodium, also referred to as salt, is essential for normal body processes and is a compound that regulates water content. Consuming excess sodium leads to water retention, and therefore, weight gain.  
  • Exercise: Exercise can cause water loss through perspiration, which leads to immediate weight loss, especially if you are not hydrating sufficiently. On the other hand, if you consume more water than you lose, you may see a slight increase in weight.  
  • Glycogen levels: Glycogen is the body’s stored form of carbohydrates. In order to store glycogen, the body also retains water. This means that the more glycogen you have, the more water you retain, which can lead to an increase in weight. On the contrary, if you lose a significant amount of your glycogen stores, which is often the result of a low-carbohydrate diet, you will lose a lot of water, and therefore, see a lower number on the scale.
  • Menstrual cycle: It’s normal for women to see a slight weight increase due to increased water retention right before they start their period. This is because of fluctuations in certain hormones.  
  • Medications: Some medications cause your body to retain more water.
  • Dehydration.: This might seem counter-intuitive, but being dehydrated causes the body to retain more water.  
  • Meal and drink consumption.: Food and liquids are heavier than most people realize. If you eat a meal that also consists of a couple of glasses of fluids and then go weigh yourself, you are going to see an increase in weight. To avoid this, try to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.  
  • Bathroom visits.: Normal bodily excretions (urine and feces) can weigh a couple of pounds and can cause weight to fluctuate. 

How to monitor body composition while keeping water weight in mind  


If you notice undesirable results on a specific day, don’t let this discourage you. If you’ve been exercising more and being consistent with your diet, it is likely that these test results are due to water retention. Keep being consistent with your diet and exercise routine and wait until the following week to test yourself again. You will likely see favorable results at this time. 
 

In order to minimize weight fluctuations due to changes in water retention, here are some tips for obtaining the most accurate body composition test results: 

  • Test in the morning: Test in the morning after you’ve gone to the bathroom and before you’ve consumed any liquids and before you’ve engaged in any exercise. 
  • Test once a week: Test yourself once a week on the same day. For example, test yourself every Sunday or Monday morning. 
  • Meal timing: The night before you weigh yourself, try to eat your last meal around the same time. This will help minimize any digestive changes that could alter your results.
  • Exercise: Be consistent with your exercise the day before. This can mean that you always exercise the day before your test or that this will always be a rest day for you. Sticking to a specific pre-test workout routine will ensure that there are no changes in water retention due to exercise.  
  • Clothes.: Be consistent with what you wear. While this will not affect the BIA test results, it can affect your weight. 

Overall, it’s important to try and keep your testing condition the same as your first body composition test.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why your body retains extra water. This can cause fluctuations in body weight and skewed BIA test results. While this may be disappointing, it’s important to remember that weight fluctuations are normal and small setbacks will not derail your progress. Consistency will keep you on the path toward achieving your fitness and weight loss goals.   

Top 5 Exercises to Manage Hypertension

By Blood Pressure, Fitness

We have all heard about the importance of avoiding high blood pressure — but did you know that there are exercises you can do to reduce your baseline values over time?

While it isn’t something you can tangibly feel, your blood pressure ebbs and flows throughout the day to keep up with your metabolic demands. During periods of physiological stress (like when you exercise or are feeling overwhelmed), your blood pressure can increase for a short period of time — which is not a situation that is considered to be dangerous or unhealthy. But, when a person’s baseline resting blood pressure readings remain high for long periods of time, the risk of developing serious health conditions rises significantly.

But, as scary as a high blood pressure diagnosis can be, it is important to know that high blood pressure is a reversible condition. When you work with your primary care provider and make lifestyle and habit changes, it is possible to lower your baseline daily blood pressure readings to a more healthy and sustainable level.

So, with this in mind, we wanted to explore what you need to understand about high blood pressure, including the most common causes, which values are considered to be healthy readings, how to monitor your blood pressure, and helpful exercises proven to lower blood pressure over time.

Here is everything you need to know about high blood pressure and the exercises you can do to improve it:

What is blood pressure?

As one of the five primary human health vital signs, your blood pressure measures the amount of force exerted on your circulatory system. As a dynamic value, your blood pressure changes throughout the day, depending on activity levels, medical comorbidities, stress, dietary intake, and more.

Unlike your heart rate or temperature, blood pressure is two separate measurements recorded as a single value. Often seen written as a fraction (e.g., 120/80 mmHg), each number gives your primary care provider important information about the function and health of your vascular system:

  • Systolic blood pressure — Written as the top number of the measurement, a person’s systolic blood pressure refers to the amount of force exerted against your blood vessels during a heartbeat. This value represents the highest amount of pressure your arteries, veins, and capillaries are exposed to.
  • Diastolic blood pressure — As the bottom number of the measurement, your diastolic blood pressure value represents the amount of pressure your vascular system is subjected to between heartbeats. In most cases, elevated diastolic blood pressure values are seen in people with high systolic blood pressure.

How high is too high for blood pressure?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg. While it is completely typical for your blood pressure to rise above this level throughout the day, it is advised that your baseline blood pressure (the reading taken when you are at rest) remain as close as possible to these values. In contrast, when a person’s baseline blood pressure levels remain high, they are at an elevated risk of developing serious medical complications. The criteria for the different stages of diagnosis for high blood pressure and hypertension include:

  • Elevated blood pressure — 120-129 mmHg / 80 or less mmHg
  • Stage 1 hypertension — 130-139 mmHg / 80-89 mmHg
  • Stage 2 hypertension — 140 or higher mmHg / 90 or higher mmHg

Prolonged exposure to high blood pressure damages the blood vessels and heart. Because of this, finding ways to manage chronically high blood pressure is essential for reducing your risk of experiencing medical complications, such as a stroke or heart attack.

How to accurately measure your blood pressure

The first step to assessing your baseline blood pressure is taking regular and accurate blood pressure readings — because, without reliable data, it can be challenging to know if you are truly at risk!

Using an automatic blood pressure cuff and monitor at home, you can record your blood pressure readings to determine their baseline values. Because many factors can contribute to an inaccurate blood pressure reading, here are a few of our top tips for avoiding inaccuracy when you take your blood pressure at home:

  • Ensure that you are using the right size of cuff for your arm
  • Maintain a good posture throughout the reading
  • Keep your measuring arm at the height of your heart
  • Avoid taking your blood pressure after exercise or stress
  • Double-check your reading on the opposite arm whenever possible

To determine your baseline blood pressure, performing daily blood pressure readings for at least a few weeks can be beneficial. If possible, take your blood pressure at a similar time of day on each occasion, during a rest period. After each reading, we recommend recording your values in a journal to give to your primary care provider for further analysis.

How activity impacts blood pressure

So, how can exercise (something that causes an acute spike in your blood pressure) reduce your baseline blood pressure readings? The answer lies in the many cardiovascular benefits that regular exercise offers.

Aerobic exercises are any activity that increases your body’s need for oxygen, which is an essential nutrient for the function of your muscle cells. Exercising your muscles during a workout increases your oxygen demand — which explains why it is common for your breathing and heart rate to increase during aerobic activity.

When you participate in this type of exercise, you put your cardiovascular system (the heart, arteries, and veins) under additional stress to keep up with your metabolic needs — which in turn helps to improve your strength and endurance. So, by regularly participating in aerobic exercise, you can decrease your baseline blood pressure, as a stronger heart and vascular system do not need to exert as much force to meet the needs of your cells.

5 exercises that lower blood pressure

If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is important to know that it doesn’t have to be a life-long condition. By working closely with your primary care provider and integrating some of the following blood pressure-reducing exercises into your daily routine, you will be amazed to see how quickly your baseline blood pressure can be guided to lower, healthier levels:

  • Riding a bike

As a great outdoor or indoor exercise, cycling has been shown to offer both short and long-term benefits for managing blood pressure. While it is common for your blood pressure to increase while biking, studies have shown that regular cycling can reduce your baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a period of six months.

If you are new to biking or have not participated in regular aerobic exercise in some time, we highly recommend starting slow. As you become more confident and build increased cardiovascular endurance, longer and more regular bike rides will become easier for you to integrate into your fitness routine.

  • Brisk walking

Perfect for those who are new to regular exercise, getting out for a brisk walk has proven to have many positive effects on your health and baseline blood pressure. As a low-impact aerobic exercise, brisk walking has been shown to reduce baseline systolic blood pressure in people who participated in supervised walking sessions over a six-month period.

Start with something as simple as walking around the block at a leisurely pace. Your walking speed and distance can be safely increased over time, based on how well you feel. Whenever possible, walking with a friend or family member can help to encourage continued commitment (and it makes exercising way more fun!)

  • Swimming

Do you enjoy a morning or afternoon swim? If so, you are well on your way to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. As one of the more demanding aerobic exercises, swimming can help to improve a person’s cardiovascular health while also reducing their baseline systolic blood pressure value over time.

If you are new to swimming, using supportive flotation devices can help to make this exercise safer and more enjoyable. Additionally, due to the sometimes high cardiovascular demands of swimming, be sure to start slow — even swimming a few lengths of a pool regularly can positively affect your health.

  • Dancing

If you love to get funky on the dance floor, you are doing great things for your heart and blood pressure! As a fun and social option for aerobic exercise, all forms of dancing can help to improve cardio endurance and strength, which in turn has been proven to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.

Whether you enjoy line dancing, partner dancing, or dancing alone in your home, choosing to dance regularly is an excellent option for reducing your stress and blood pressure levels. So, the next time you hear your favorite song, be sure to get up and dance!

  • Gardening 

Finally, for all of the green thumbs out there, regular gardening is another form of aerobic exercise that can reduce blood pressure. According to the CDC, gardening (including digging and lifting) is a moderate-intensity exercise that can offer a multitude of health benefits. As an excellent low-impact option for people of all ages, gardening offers more health benefits than most people realize!

As with any other lifestyle change, we highly recommend speaking to your primary care provider before you decide to pick up a new workout routine. Depending on your personal needs, they will be able to provide additional support and encouragement to help ensure that your newfound exercise program is both fun and safe.

The key takeaways

It’s clear that your blood pressure is deeply connected to your cardiac and overall health. While it is typical for your blood pressure levels to fluctuate throughout the day, based on your needs, having chronically high values at your baseline can put you at risk of experiencing serious medical complications. However, there are exercises you can do that are associated with reduced blood pressure readings over time.

With plenty of different aerobic exercises to sample, we hope this article has inspired you to try making one (or more) of these activities a part of your daily routine. Happy exercising!

How David Katz, a personal trainer lost 60kg during 6 months and changed his career? – Talk’InBody

By Case Studies, Fitness, Talk'InBody

David Katz, a personal trainer in Israel succeeded to lose 60kg in 6 months!

Do you want to know how a former Rabbi changed his career as a personal trainer after reshaping his body?
Then let’s watch his interview video.

 

 

C, I, D is a classification system made by InBody.

If you take a look at the InBody Result Sheet,  you will find the Muscle-Fat Analysis section in the middle of it.

Draw a line along the end of each bar graph: Weight, SMM, and Body Fat Mass, you will find one of 3 alphabets: C, I, or D.

C refers to Cautious Type.

I refers to Ideal Type.

D refers to Developed Type.

 

Depending on where you are, your goal setting and training must be differentiated.

* Talk’InBody is a series of our customers’ success stories. If you would like to share your story with the public, please send us your story!

 

How the Anaheim Ducks use InBody to Stay at Peak Performance

By Case Studies, Fitness

The Anaheim Ducks are an NHL team based in Anaheim, California. The Anaheim Ducks have won the Pacific division every year since the 2012-2013 season and have made the Western Conference championship two of the last three years.

Mark Fitzgerald is the strength and conditioning coach for the Anaheim Ducks and the owner of Elite Training Systems, a high-performance training center catered to athletes. His philosophy is improving player performance through training, nutrition, and rest. The NHL season is physically demanding and hectic. Thus, Fitzgerald was looking for technology that could measure his player’s body composition in-house quickly and provide accurate, informative outputs. After referrals from trusted sources and self-experimentation, Fitzgerald found his solution in the InBody.

A tool to better utilize the Ducks’ time

Time constraints are an issue every NHL franchise must manage. The Ducks had the extra challenge of having the longest travel schedule in the league for the 2016-2017 season.  During the course of 82 games and the 40,000+ travel miles, their players’ bodies began to break down.

“The travel and the schedule are very real issues. If you don’t take them into account in your nutrition profile, your rest, your work to rest on the ice, then you’re going to be putting your athletes in a pretty dangerous position.”

Fitzgerald created a comprehensive program to keep players healthy and ready to play. Players receive a daily report on their bodies’ readiness to perform. This allows Fitzgerald to track player condition and create open dialogue between player and coach.

Body composition is a vital metric of the assessment. The challenge was how to test the players consistently and accurately.

Fitzgerald had experience working with calipers and although they were quick and easy to use, he found the results were inconsistent.

The organization had access to a DEXA through a partnership with a local university. But to send players outside the facility, even just a few miles up the road, was difficult. When the team wasn’t traveling, the team was trying to accomplish a lot in the limited time available in the facility.  The players had practice, film sessions, conditioning, etc. Although body composition testing was important, the time it was taking to test was taking away valuable time that could be put into other more productive activities. To get all 20 players tested with a 10-minute DEXA scan outside the facility was almost impossible to perform on a regular basis.

The idea of bringing a DEXA scanner in house was a logistical nightmare of its own.

What Fitzgerald needed was an in-house tool that was fast and convenient like calipers that also provided the accuracy and consistency of a DEXA.

“We use a lot of technology in Anaheim, and I’m careful with what technology we do bring in because I want it to be valuable. I want it to be something I can use for a long time because the value of all this testing data is to do it consecutively and to do it over a term and that’s where the value of what we’re trying to do here is seen.”

After reviewing and comparing other body composition devices on the market, Fitzgerald found what he needed in the InBody.

InBody results on par with more expensive methods

Fitzgerald was familiar with the other BIA devices on the market, but what separated InBody was who was also using the device.

“From day one, InBody did not have to sell me on it. It’s always been, “Here’s what we do. Here’s who’s using us. Talk to any of the teams that are using it. Talk to them and see what they say. To me that’s huge.”

Over 30 teams from the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB were already using InBody as well as the top names in strength and conditioning.

Todd Durkin, two-time Fitness Trainer of the Year and a personal colleague, was receiving exceptional results from using it at his facility. His satisfaction with InBody convinced Fitzgerald to give it a try.

Fitzgerald tested the InBody on himself once a week, same time everyday, in the same fasted state to check consistency.

After only two tests, he began seeing consistency in the testing results. A few more tests later, Fitzgerald began realizing the multitude of applications he could use with the outputs from the InBody. The more Fitzgerald tested, the more satisfied he became with the InBody. Next, he took the results to the Ducks’ university partner.

What the university told him blew him away.

“The university that we work with was able to validate, in some studies that they did, that it’s a valuable tool. When the university compared it to some of the other more expensive methods, the Bod Pod and the DEXA, they said it was right along with them.”

After trusted recommendations, self experimentation, and validation from a top university, InBody became an easy choice.

Getting viable information in under 1 minute

The ease of testing and the quality of information of the InBody 770 became a game changer. In 60 seconds, the InBody 770 gave Fitzgerald and his team accurate measurements of fat mass, skeletal muscle mass, and body water in each segment of the body.

Fitzgerald is now able to test his players on a regular basis in-house and collect vital data to tailor his training for his players needs.

All of the outputs from the InBody Test are provided on the InBody result sheet, which Fitzgerald uses to open dialogue with athletes on areas to focus on. At the highest level of professionals sports, open dialogue between coach and athlete is paramount. Professional athletes want to understand what they are doing. For Fitzgerald, the result sheet is essential in the education process. The InBody provides outputs that Fitzgerald can tie to his diet plans and workout plans.

Two areas of focuses are on nutrition and conditioning. His goal for all his players is to maintain a balanced, strong body so that they can stay on the ice.

Fitzgerald uses lean body mass to set targets for each of his players to maintain during the season. As the number increases or decreases, he can relate it back to what they are doing for nutrition.

“If you eat more higher sources of protein, it’s going to keep lean muscle mass on, you’re not as susceptible to soft tissue injuries and you keep that lean muscle. When one leads to the next and they’re intermingled, it brings more relevance to what I’m saying.  It’s full circle.”

This helps reinforces the importance of diet and supplementation.

Fitzgerald uses the Segmental Lean Analysis section on the InBody result sheet as a guide to help the athlete better understand their body. Most hockey players are asymmetrical because they usually shoot a hockey puck off their dominant leg, working one side of the body significantly more than the other. A hockey player might not feel like they are physically unbalanced, especially if they are performing well. But an asymmetrical body can be vulnerable to injuries.

“Looking at the segmental analysis you’re able to tell them that’s why that happens. That single leg and single arm work I have you do – that’s why I have you do that work. We want to be able to balance those two things out.  It’s never going to be perfectly balanced but we try to keep them a little more balanced than they are.  Again, it opens the door for conversations.”

The InBody result sheet makes that easy to understand.

Correlation InBody outputs to athlete’s performance

Fitzgerald feels his value is in taking all the data, make sense of it for the players, and creating personalized plans. At the Duck’s training facility, they can take an athlete’s force plate number and see an athlete’s force production during a workout. He can then take the outputs of the InBody 770 provides to make correlations.

If an athlete has increased their force production by 5% over the last four weeks, Fitzgerald can compare those results to the InBody output. The InBody can show that after the addition of quality protein in the diet lean body mass increased. Or the addition of a single leg workout routine has lead to better balance between the right and left leg.

Fitzgerald can show his players with data that their efforts in nutrition and conditioning has directly lead to an increase in performance. That creates understanding for the players and validation for him and his programs.

“If you can find a way to help the athlete make sense of why they’re doing what they’re doing and how it benefits them, you’re ahead of the game. InBody allows me another tool to do that. It helps that [the Result Sheet is] tangible and it’s something they can hold onto.”

Using the InBody result sheet to create that connection between nutrition, training and improvements has led to buy-in from the players. Since implementing the InBody as a component of the program, the Anaheim Ducks have seen a reduction in injuries compared to years prior.

Athletes seeing the difference themselves

When Fitzgerald entered the franchise, his goal was to improve player health by creating a program that would encompass player strength and conditioning, nutrition, and rest.  With the InBody, not only was Fitzgerald able to test his players quickly and accurately, but he also was able to use the InBody result sheet to create buy-in from his players.

“With the InBody print out, it open dialogue with the athlete, “Hey, what does this mean? Am I trending in the right way? How can I improve?” When you open those conversations with your athletes, that’s why I’m here. That’s why you coach.”

After adding InBody to his program, Fitzgerald has been able to take everything he is doing and bring it full circle. Players understand better why Fitzgerald has them train and eat a certain way because the InBody result sheet provides them objective proof. They buy in and are more committed to the program. After committing fully to the program, the players feel stronger, perform better, and stay on the ice.

“How many guys on our team played every game? I think we had quite a few compared to the last few years. How many guys that had injury issues in the past don’t have them anymore? We’ve made an intervention and changed what they’re doing and guys are happy to be in here every morning and happy to be part of what we’re doing.”

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How Fitness Quest 10 Uses InBody to Increase Profits and ROI

By Case Studies, Fitness

Todd Durkin is an internationally recognized strength, speed and conditioning coach, personal trainer, motivational speaker and author who inspires and educates people worldwide.  Durkin has won Personal Trainer of the Year (IDEA and ACE) twice and has been listed as “Top 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness” (Greatist) four times.

He owns Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, which has ranked as one of “America’s Top 10 Gyms” by Men’s Health five times. Fitness Quest 10 provides personal training, therapeutic massages, Pilates, nutrition and, more to people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. His clientele includes everyone from elite professional athletes to people who want to improve their health.

The Foundation of Fitness Quest 10

Fitness Quest 10 is the culmination of Todd Durkin’s professional and personal experiences. After a serious back injury, Durkin spent the next five years focused on healing his back without surgery. He learned to combine the latest innovations in sports science with holistic techniques. Today, that knowledge and focus is applied at Fitness Quest 10, recognized as one of the leading facilities in fitness.

“Regardless if it’s a guy I’ve been working with for years, a NFL quarterback or the lightweight champion of the world, we want to make sure we offer them the best service in training and technology around to monitor their progress.”

A major reason behind Durkin’s success was his never-ending commitment toward serving his clients. As part of that commitment, Durkin never hesitated to travel to learn the latest training techniques or invest in new fitness equipment because his passion was always to help his clients reach their goals.
However, all of that energy and commitment was almost wasted because, for years, he didn’t have a method to measure his clients progress accurately.

For the past sixteen years, Fitness Quest 10 relied on calipers to measure their client’s body fat composition. Each client worked with two or three different trainers, and results would differ based on who was testing. One tester might measure 17 percent body fat while another might test 23 percent body fat. The inconsistency was frustrating for trainers and clients because no one could tell objectively if progress was made.

To control consistency, the number of testers were limited to the most experienced trainers. This meant limited testing opportunities for clients. Some clients were going six months or longer without getting tested. Without the data, Durkin and his team had no objective way of knowing how effective their training methods were.
Durkin tried many different solutions. Hydrostatic weighing provided accurate results but created its own problems. First, many clients were unwilling to strip down into a swimsuit and get into a tank of water in order to get tested. Second, because of the size of the tank, it would be difficult to provide hydrostatic weighing as a service at the facility.

After 16 years, many other trainers would have given up and accepted this problem as unsolvable. But for Durkin, he had to solve this issue if he wanted to achieve his dream of providing the best possible fitness experience.

“In the training world, it’s not about us. It’s about the member and how can you create an experience for them that’s going to be world class, that’s going to be superior, that’s going to be the Ritz Carlton or Nordstrom’s and deliver that experience where they say ‘Wow, this is incredible!’.”

Whenever Durkin faces a question or a challenge that he doesn’t have an answer for, he turns to his mastermind network for help. A mastermind is a network of top professionals that collaborate together to improve their craft.  And he found that many members of his network were already using InBody to measure their clients’ body compositions. Durkin was initially skeptical of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), the technology InBody is based on. Durkin had experience with BIA handheld devices and he found those results inaccurate. But at the urging of his mastermind network, he investigated further and he became a believer.

A Solution Trusted By Professionals

Durkin felt that he may have finally found a viable solution when he saw the caliber of organizations that trusted InBody.

“If there are professional sport teams and universities using [InBody], why shouldn’t leading training facilities be using it as well? As trainers and fit pros look for solutions, you want to look for solutions that are going to give you an ROI and keep your client and members happy. I believe InBody is an incredible solution.”

After Durkin brought in the InBody, he quickly saw the potential.  Anyone could use the device with ease, whether it be a front desk person or trainer, and be able to test thousands of clients consistently and accurately. And the InBody result sheet printout provided his clients with a wealth of information that they could take home and study on their own time.

Countless people have raved about the helpfulness of the InBody Result Sheet. After finishing a program, people could get their result sheets laminated, bring it home, and show it off to their families. Durkin found that an astounding 90% of people want to get retested. Now instead of having to remind people to come back for a follow-up test, people are scheduling themselves to get tested. Now he and his trainers have the data to better serve their clients.  As Durkin likes to say “What gets measured, gets done”.

Tailoring Client Progress With Accurate Data

Initially, the focus was to figure out how to measure body fat composition accurately and consistently. Durkin found the InBody 570 provided those outputs as well as so much more.

Fitness Quest 10’s trainers use the InBody Result Sheet as an educational tool to teach their clients about how the programs were affecting their bodies. Most clients would only focus on weight loss. With the Segmental Lean Analysis section on the result sheets, clients were now able to see and understand the importance of muscle.

Pounds of lean muscle in each segment is shown along with the ability of the segment to support the body’s weight. The segments can then be compared to each other to determine proportionately and to a recommended range as a guide for training. 

Clients were also able to learn about something they’ve never thought about before: visceral fat. Everyone knows about subcutaneous fat, the fat that appears right under the skin. But most people don’t know about visceral fat, the fat around the organs. Dangerous health complications are associated with excess visceral fat– and it can’t be measured with calipers. Through his InBody 570, Durkin is able to show how his fitness programs are helping clients lose both visceral and subcutaneous fat to positively impacting their well-being.

The InBody Result sheet measures visceral fat on a scale of 1-20. High visceral fat increases risk for anxiety, cancer, stroke, heart attacks, and other life-risking diseases.

Another important output that clients of Fitness Quest 10 found useful was Basal Metabolic Rate. With BMR, trainers are able to effectively address nutrition for each individual client. Trainers could also use BMR in combination with Fitness Quest 10’s heart tracking technology to a set specific caloric intake target tailored for each individual. So if a client was looking to decrease fat mass, a caloric intake would be set below the BMR plus the addition of calories burned through a workout.

Durkin found that InBody took the guesswork out of creating nutritional plans and exercise recommendations for each of his clients. He could show exactly how his clients were progressing with tangible data.

Investing in His Business

As a responsible business owner, Durkin always asks himself “Is it an expense or is it an investment?” when he brings new technology to his gym.

He found that 90% of his revenue came from existing members and 10% came from client acquisition. And InBody helped generate more revenue from both channels.

The informative outputs from the InBody 570 results sheets encourage his current clients and keep them coming back by showing their progress through numbers they can track. New clients are attracted to Fitness Quest 10 because the InBody allows the facility to offer a unique service.

Integrating the InBody to Boost ROI

InBody has proved to be a valuable recruitment and retention tool. Durkin offers InBody testing as part of the “feeder programs” he runs outside the facility. “Feeder programs” are boot camp style workouts with nutritional support that run for a four-week cycle.  By testing before and after the program, new clients can see the immediate impact of their training on their InBody Result Sheets. The Result Sheet has become a great introduction to Fitness Quest 10 and its services.

Durkin has folded the InBody into part of his membership program. Durkin sells membership packages that offer up to four test a year. Anyone that wants personal training services will get the ability to test every 90 days to check their progress in a consistent manner. When people want to test more frequently, they can pay an additional fee to get a test. Because so many people want to test as often as possible, InBody has become a new revenue stream for his facility.

Today, Fitness Quest 10 can now offer a complete and accurate assessment that tests body composition, functional movement, and fitness for each member– which in turn, proves objectively that his services are improving his client’s well-being.

Fitness Quest 10’s Pursuit for Success

For Durkin, InBody has not only been able to solve a 16-year-old challenge, but he has been able to completely revamp his business with this new device. Clients are now educated on visceral fat and nutrition with objective numbers.  And by providing InBody tests as a service, Fitness Quest 10 now has a new and continuous revenue stream.

Durkins says that not only is InBody a gold standard for measuring body composition, but InBody is an investment that will help your facility stand out.

“I believe the best and the strongest will survive. When you’re in the fitness industry, you’ve got to offer your clients the best unless you’re looking for a cheap solution. Then you’re going to compete on price. That’s the wrong game to be playing. You want to make sure you can distinguish yourself and do things that are different in your community. What’s going to make you different is assessment. For [Fitness Q10], InBody is one of the best ways that we’re using now to leverage technology and innovation .”

As Durkin says, “I want to surround myself with people that are world class and companies that are world class and that’s why I’m excited to have InBody represented here at Fitness Quest 10.”

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OPEX Fitness is Changing the Face of Fitness with InBody

By Case Studies, Fitness

OPEX’s culture of challenging the status quo in fitness began with founder James Fitzgerald. He began his career in clinical research and has written studies on muscle fatigue published in Physiology Canada, The Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, and the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In 1999, he started applying his research to the real world when he began coaching fitness. Fitzgerald gained the attention of the fitness world when he won the inaugural 2007 CrossFit Games by applying his research knowledge to training. Seven years later, he opened the OPEX Fitness facility, now one of the leaders in coaching education and functional athlete training in the world. Today, OPEX Fitness has certified 1900 coaches worldwide and produced 75 Crossfit Games competitors and one Crossfit Games champion.  

Fitzgerald applies the same standards of integrity and accountability that are expected in academic research to his coaching. When he looked for a valid method for measuring body composition at OPEX Fitness, he studied what devices were used in the fields of medicine and research. After exploring all possible options, Fitzgerald decided on InBody, a DSM-BIA device used by doctors and researchers in leading facilities around the world.

 

Fighting Fake Science

Today we find that many fitness professionals are too focused on creating marketable fitness programs that sell instead of focusing on the individual needs of their clients. That means designing “new”, “innovative”, “one-size-fits-all” programs that all promise more dramatic results in less time. There is a competition to be the best solution with the fastest results, but many of these programs provide little to no data to back their claims.

“Marketing is now stronger than education, so the truth in science has been questioned. It’s not uncommon to see fake news — or fake science — being plastered everywhere.The consumer now has no idea what is [true] in fitness.”

Fitzgerald saw a need for a fitness program backed by research that would be able to show real progress through valid measurements. If he could show his clients the real changes that were happening beneath the surface, he would create buy-in and keep clients coming back. This inspired him to create a system that could track this progress, which he named OPEX Body: a comprehensive individual assessment process. It factors in an individual’s physiological profile and fitness ability to create a biological marker, a starting point for their fitness journey.

“This is what your marker presented today. Based upon your goals and what you want to do, here’s the plan that’s going to lay out how to get you there, and we’re going to use this marker to continue to measure that over time.”

The marker helps coaches identify client’s strengths and weaknesses and prescribe a tailored fitness program based on the client’s flexibility, strength, and endurance. Together, client and coach can see the improvements in body composition and vital signs. And together, they can make adjustments to ensure there is a continual progression toward their goals.

The Commitment to the Truth

The OPEX assessment process was refined over 25 years of trial and error. At the beginning of his career, Fitzgerald was trained to measure body fat composition through multiple hand-caliper devices to create a fat score. One client would get six or seven different versions of a body composition score. He felt he was not actually measuring the client, but he was actually choosing a score to fit the client. However, calipers remained an industry standard because they were cheap and easy to use.

Fed up, he realized that all the positives of calipers were overshadowed by its negatives. He had the ability to create a perfectly tailored training program to get someone to their goal. However, if his measurements were wrong, his entire program would be based on a faulty assessment and not on the client’s individual needs.

Fitzgerald decided he needed to upgrade his tools and started studying what medical professionals and researchers were using for body composition: DEXA, Bod-Pods, underwater weighing and bioelectrical impedance.

“Going from calipers to any of those [devices] wasn’t as economical. But I want the truth. So I’ll do whatever it takes to get the truth”.

During his search, he came across InBody at his doctor’s office. His doctors were using InBody to assess patients to determine their baseline. They would then use this baseline as a guide to improve patients’ function, rehabilitate them, and increase their longevity. He immediately saw the value that the InBody provided. Here was a medical-grade device that could provide an accurate, in-depth analysis of an individual’s body composition. The results were an actual measurement of the individual, not an estimate or calculation based on age and gender.

Intrigued, Fitzgerald wanted to test the InBody against other body composition devices.

InBody: The Uncheatable Device

He took different types of body composition devices- BodPod, different kinds of caliper devices, DEXA, underwater weighing, DSM-BIA – and put them all against one another. The goal was to compare InBody’s accuracy to other gold-standard devices and understand the differences between the measurements. Fitzgerald even invited representatives from each body composition company to OPEX Fitness to demonstrate their devices themselves to ensure he was following the testing protocol perfectly. Then he changed the variables to see if InBody was really too good to be true.

“InBody became the number one answer because we tried to break the system, we tried to cheat the system, and there was no way we could cheat it: it still gave us the truth in what it was scoring no matter how hard we tried.”

Fitzgerald specifically went against testing guidelines to see how each device would respond. He tested people both pre and post workouts, wanting to see a change in the structure of water. In other devices, he was unable to see the real changes that the body undergoes after a workout. However, the InBody was able to clearly show the body water differences in the athletes, making it the clear winner against all the other devices.

Nothing beat the InBody for repeatability and the validity of what we’re trying to get with what we want, which is the truth in numbers to give us indications as to how the fitness program is doing.”

 

Deeper Insights with the InBody Result Sheet

Today, OPEX has fully integrated InBody into its methodologies, whether they are training high-level athletes or regular Janes and Joes. All OPEX clients use the InBody as part of their initial and continuing assessment process. Fat and lean body mass measurements that the InBody provides are points of emphasis because they help tie in all of the services that OPEX Fitness provides.

For example, a client’s lean body mass measurement is not only used to guide training programming but for nutritional planning as well. The InBody Result Sheet shows the level of lean mass in each segment of the body, if that segment is adequately developed, and how balanced each segment is to one another. An OPEX Fitness coach will then create training programs based on the specific needs of that client.

From there, the coach can explain how their lean body mass level will affect their metabolism, or basal metabolic rate, which is a building block for a nutritional plan. Because the InBody Result Sheet provides a baseline of how many calories the client’s body burns naturally per day, it is easy for coaches to give an exact number of the macronutrients that are required to fuel lean body mass gain while still losing fat mass.

Finally, OPEX coaches can make the connection to overall health as the lean mass increases and fat mass decreases. The InBody visceral fat measurement shows if a person’s visceral fat falls within the healthy range. By decreasing visceral fat, coaches are helping their clients lower their risk for health complications in the future like heart diseases and diabetes. This data helps make the connection between how physical health relates to overall health for the client and instantly creates more credibility and value for OPEX Fitness.

InBody body composition testing has also allowed Fitzgerald to upgrade the coaching for OPEX’s sponsored Crossfit athletes. They are able to combine the outputs of the InBody with other tools at their facility to gain new insights. One insight they have gained was found by comparing Forced Expiratory Volume to InBody’s lean body mass measurement.

Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV) is an indirect measurement of lung capacity. By comparing the lean body mass measurement with the total amount of air exhaled, OPEX coaches can examine the oxygen exchange capability. In layman terms, this is a look at an athlete’s endurance. It is no longer a mystery why two similar level athletes on comparable training programs don’t have the same level of output. By examining the oxygen exchange capability, OPEX coaches can see that these two similar athletes may have comparable levels of lean body mass but a large difference in lung capacities. The InBody gives a precise lean mass measurement to enable OPEX coaches to say: “you have a lot of muscle, but you don’t the oxygen exchange capability to support that muscle, we really need to improve that exchange”. Adjusting the training to improve exchange will increase output and that is tremendously important in a sport like Crossfit.That insight has helped OPEX coaches to improve their team’s performance.

OPEX and InBody are Leading the Future of Fitness

Although Fitzgerald doesn’t like the state of fitness today, he is encouraged by the direction it’s heading toward. The general public is beginning to realize the importance of measurements when it comes to setting and achieving health goals. People will want an individualized score that is truly representative of their body, and the technology to provide these scores is becoming increasingly accessible and accurate. Fitness instructors will need to learn how to interpret those scores and make appropriate programs based on where the individual is at in terms of their health.

“With the future of biotech and the interest level in that, my belief is that companies like InBody will hold the key for the connection between the best prescriptions possible to help people to live large and long and prosper. InBody has a big part to play in the future and OPEX will be right alongside InBody doing that.”

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