Hail Gluteus – The Muscle Goddess

I have a confession to make. I am constantly looking at butts, admittedly of women. I’m not that way inclined, it comes down to my utter appreciation of the musculature of the Glutes. For those I can see are suffering from signs a weak ass, I’m always thinking about ways I could help them give their backside a lift, a bit of plumpness and rounding, tightening and firming. For the blessed one’s who carry a well-rounded strong derriere, hats off to you! You’ve either put in a lot of hard work to get you there, or you have great genetics. Either way, I admire your (posterior) lady lumps.

my-humps-camel-front


 Here are the top 4 reasons why having strong Glutes is of great importance:

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  1. Visually appealing – hands up who wants a well-rounded, lifted, firm toosh? I know I do, and I can’t say I’ve come across anyone who’s replied ‘Thanks, but no… I’m happy with my flat pancake butt’.
  2. Lower back/knee/hip pain – strengthening the Glutes could be the answer to the pain you’ve been experiencing in these areas. Glute weaknesses can lead to muscle imbalances that can cause these types of pain. The Glutes are jointly responsible for providing stability through the hips and lower body, so it makes sense that if they aren’t working optimally, compensations and pain can occur in other areas. Here is a great article if you wish to read more about this.
  3.  Injury prevention – Just as having strong Glutes helps injury management, it also helps injury prevention. Well functioning Glutes help promote quality movement, and a strong stable core, which will lead to a lower risk of injury.
  4. Performance – When doing an exercise such as running, squatting, and lungeing, ideally our Glutes would be one of the major contributing muscles to these movements. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case due to the common occurance of lazy and inhibited Glutes.

So if you see me checking out your behind, please don’t think I’m creepy, I’m here to help you build the butt of your dreams.

Keep any eye out for my next post where I will uncover how to determine if you have lazy, weak, inhibited Glutes.

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Kim is a Personal Trainer at NAFC whose areas of expertise & interest include; strength training, (with an emphasis on the lower body and Glutes), core, Kettlebell, running, & triathlon training.

Kim is running a series of workshops that teach you technical & practical skills to build stronger Glutes & core. Enquire today.

 

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Behind it All – The Glutes

What are ‘the Glutes’?

To me, they are the goddess of all muscles. To you, they may be what you sit on all day. In a mans eyes, they give beautiful, rounded, appealing curves to a woman’s body. For an athlete, it’s what can give them power, and advantage over a competitior. To a fitness model, it’s what gives them a well shaped, and strong behind that helps to create stature and stage presence.

marianne-and-kellie

In simplicity, they are the group of muscles in your butt – Aka booty, ass, behind, toosh, posterior, hiney, derriere, and the list goes on. They are 3 of the main muscles that contribute to movement, function, and stability in the lower body; the Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Gluteus Minimus. They should ideally operate efficiently in most lower body movements such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges.

glutes2In the post to follow, I will be covering why it’s of utmost importance to have strong, well functioning Glutes, and why I think they are the goddess of all muscles. Click here

photddgfggdoKim is a Personal Trainer at NAFC whose areas of expertise & interest include; strength training, (with an emphasis on the lower body and Glutes), core, Kettlebell, running, & triathlon training.

Kim is running a series of workshops that teach you technical & practical skills to build stronger Glutes & core. Enquire today.

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Exercise and Breast Cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month, and I thought I’d talk a bit about breast cancer and the benefits of exercise towards reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Firstly, what causes breast cancer? Experts are not sure why exactly one female will develop it and the other does not but there are risk factors that can impact on a women’s likelihood of developing breast cancer. Such factors[1] include getting older, genetics, dense breast tissue, obesity, height (smaller less risk) and alcohol consumption to name a few. Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females worldwide. It accounts for 16% of all female cancers and 22.9% of invasive cancers in women and 18.2% of all cancer deaths worldwide.[2]

Breast cancer treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapies.[3] But I think in all cancer cases prevention really is the cure. And I am not talking about when you hit your 40’s and your overweight already and you finally get your act together to be mindful of your own health. It could be too late by then. The habit of a healthy lifestyle should be started in childhood and carried right through into adult life to reap the benefits in my opinion, and therefore successfully increase your chance of preventing cancers.

A recent study[4] has found that simply walking for an hour a day will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 14% according to American Cancer Society (ACS). Engage in even more vigorous activities and your risk might be cut even more. A relatively pain free exercise such as walking is all it takes to put you in the right direction.

To be honest I already think people know the benefits of exercise and how it assists with a lot of things. It’s just a matter of doing it and finding a routine that fits with the individual. When 16-18 years olds are driving drunk or hooning and labeled “silly for feeling invincible”, that nothing will happen to them. Can the same be said about adults putting no consideration into their unhealthy lifestyles? especially when we know so much? Do they have the same “it’ll never happen to me” attitude? In a society where we eat double what we should, move less, diets filled with fats and sugars, our lifestyles are far more carcinogenic than ever before.

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Is Functional Training another Fitness Fad?

Being a personal trainer, I deal with a lot of different fitness goals, but mainly I deal with either weight loss or weight gain (muscle hypertrophy). So basically, when I walk into the main gym and I see an overweight person performing a cable woodchopper or standing on inflatable discs performing a barbell bicep curl, because they are seen as “functional” and “good” for them. Later on finding out their goal to start with months ago was weight loss. I can’t help but think what an absolute waste of time! Have gym goers been sucked into a craze of performing exercises completely irrelevant to their goals and forgetting what sort of exercise promotes weight loss or even hypertrophy? All I am saying is these people would have been better off doing any one of our different classes or performing simple but extremely effective exercises such as squats, chin ups, pushups or lunges (all without a bosu or inflatable discs) and all the variations that come with them. Forgetting about such exercise as performing intervals on the rower or even the bike to not only burn calories but create an afterburn!!, which is completely in line with their goals!

My own definition of functional exercises is “performing exercises relative to ones fitness goal”. Basically what that means is suddenly a bicep curl becomes extremely functional for a bodybuilder or weight gain but extremely un-functional for someone wanting weight loss or core strength say.

Is performing a flat db bench press deemed “un-functional” to weight loss? I would seriously argue the point it isn’t! Weight loss requires you to build your lean muscle therefore building your metabolism. Performing a bench press will seriously do that as it is a compound movement for the chest. It is one of the biggest muscle groups of the body, so why that is deemed “un-functional” or to some a waste of time is beyond me. Is performing a farmer’s walk any better? It all comes down to what you are training for. And there is nothing more frustrating than being a trainer and seeing people waste time in the gym, especially considering how time poor everybody is. Then they end up leaving and cancelling memberships because they achieved no results.

The web defines functional fitness as “The ability to perform normal daily activities around the house or at work, without undue fatigue.” In our normal daily lives do we ever stand on a wobbly ball performing squats? We definitely don’t. How “functional” training got to a point where we are training to perform in a circus I will never know. What we do in everyday life is potentially squat or lift 40kg plus of whatever you can think of. We put ourselves in positions like a BB Bent-Over Row and of course a deadlift. These exercises to me are “functional” Positions that need to be able to bear weight, not balance on wobbly surfaces!

In saying all this, equipment such as a bosu or inflatable discs are extremely useful for rehab purposes when injury has occurred. That I fully recommended and see time well spent.

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Personal Trainer’s favourite exercises #1 – The Chin – up

I would like to announce a new series for my blog. Personal Trainers Favourite Exercises. This topic will cover different exercises that myself and my fellow trainers love to prescribe to our clients not only because they produce results but for their sheer enjoyment in doing them ourselves. I want to start with my absolute favourite exercise in the whole world… the CHIN UP!!!

If you are or have been a client of mine, male or female,  looking to achieve fat loss, build muscle or achieve athletic performance you will know how much I love chin – ups and how often I prescribe them. I prescribe them often simply with the mindset of “there is no better upper body exercise in the whole world that will ignite fat loss and muscle gain”. Here are the muscles worked in a chin-up:

 

 

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 Why are chin-ups so good?, check out these simple reasons [1]:

  •  Chin-Ups are a closed kinetic chain exercise. Closed Kinetic chain exercises are much more functional than open kinetic chain exercises like the lat pull down.
  • Direct strength transference of motor pattern. On most strength exercises the concentric is the upward phase and eccentric is the lowering phase. The lat pull down is the opposite of this, while the chin-up fits the mold of core lifts like the bench press and overhead press.
  • Chin-ups work more muscles than machines. Big lifts equal big strength gains and big fat loss. They also release large amounts of anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone.
  • Brett Contreas (bio)[2] in his own words, “When I conducted my EMG studies, I was shocked to find that the bodyweight chin-up led to the highest levels of lower rectus abdominis activation. It surpassed every ab exercise imaginable – even ab wheel rollouts and hanging leg raises.”
  • Special forces and other elite organizations use chin-ups as a testing standard.
  • Chin-ups are a catalyst for bicep growth!
  • Chin-ups force you to handle your own body weight, which is a crucial aspect of success in most sports!

So my advice is start doing chins!!, any questions come see me (simon) or any other trainer for questions or queries on how to implement this exercise into your training routine. Thanks for reading.

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Personal Trainers at N.A.F.C

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/unisa-professor-of-exercise-kevin-norton-warns-on-boot-camp-classes/story-fni6uo1m-1226675117966

Here’s Monika and I on one crazy Friday afternoon!!, I have to thank my Manager Aaron for giving me a chance to represent my beloved Arsenal FC (look closely at my top, it says emirates… home base of arsenal, lol). What an awesome shot in general really!

The article that we posed in is about boot-camps and the possibility of having high injury rates.

“It’s one of the most dangerous activities you can do; a lot of injuries I see start with boot camp-style training,” Professor of exercise Kevin Norton said.

I don’t really want to talk about boot-camps and the exercise or procedures of boot-camp instructors because I really don’t have much experience with boot-camps. But I will talk about what Personal trainers do here at N.A.F.C to help avoid injury.

At N.A.F.C before any trainer gives a member or client a training session or program, the trainer will perform a thorough pre-screening on the individual. We assess blood pressure, talk about their exercise history, past and current injuries as well as medications if they affect exercise. We assess the individual’s posture which in my eyes is probably the most important assessment of all.

Being a personal trainer, the last thing I want to do is prescribe exercises that will cause injury to the individual. So we ensure to take into account that certain muscles are tight, shortened, lengthened and/or weakened which can course injury. To go the extra mile we also assess flexibility, glute activation/strength and core stability.

So if you’re looking for a fitness professional of any kind, you should be looking or asking whether they are registered with Fitness Australia as that will give you confidence that they have up-skilled their skill set to give you up to date and correct info regarding your health and wellbeing.

Thanks

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The Myth of Toning

The Myth of Toning

Ever since i have been a personal trainer i have had to deal with a very common fitness goal that relates to people’s muscle. It is said by both male and female but most of the time females. This word continues to headline articles for all the popular fitness magazines, marketing on protein shakes and celebrities continue to use it with their own fitness journeys. Have you guessed what it is yet???

TONING! This is a confusing word that is associated with some very large misconceptions about the way muscle responds to exercise. Tone is associated with muscles that appear attractively fit, healthy and defined without being too bulky. But how do we look like that? If i said the solution was weight training and any form of it some females would run from me. The common misconception is that weight training or heavy weight training will bulk women up. I mean let’s think about it for one sec. Can we really “tone” our muscles to look a certain way? I mean can i honestly “tone” my arm to show definition and shape through using 1.5kg pink dumbbells and running on a treadmill all night and this will burn fat and show a nice defined and “toned” muscle? In reality the only thing we can do is either Lose body fat to reveal more muscle (which in most situations isn’t the case) or build and HYPERTROPHY the muscle to grow bigger. I know a lot of females would run from me saying that last part but it is the truth. But ladies please understand two simple facts.

1.)   Women have 15-20% LESS testosterone than males, which is the main anabolic hormone for bulk muscle[i]

2.)   Bulking up is very diet/nutrition dependant whereby the individual would need to be taking in a very large amount of calories to fuel growth

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So for all the ladies out there if youre interested in assessing your current workout routine feel free to book in with a trainer and have them write you a program for the main gym.

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