Warm Up

#1 rule of thumb before starting a workout routine = warmup FIRST. It goes with saying that if you want the best experience during your workout, take time to prepare the muscles ahead of time.

What is consider a good warm up duration?

it was preached that at least 5 minutes is a good amount of time to take to warm up. I personally find when I do an actual good warm up, it takes me 10-12 minutes and that is due to the fact I had a coach who taught me to warm up correctly before working out for my sport/event. He always preached a proper warm up is usually 10 minutes minimum. Although in all fairness, we can definitely go for a 5 minute warm up as long as you are spending time doing dynamic exercises in that 5 minutes. So duration is pending on the individual and what they need out of that particular warm up to best prepare them for the workout ahead.

What is considered a dynamic warm up / exercises?

A dynamic exercise is something that is actively done to warm up the muscles (opposite if static exercises). The reason behind dynamic exercises is because you are getting the HR up somewhat but not to the point of exhaustion or fatigue but enough where you feel like you have done something to increase HR. Some good exercises for a dynamic exercise(s) include: leg swings, butt kicks, fire hydrants, glute bridges, high knees, just to name a few (there are plenty more) and some choose to use the treadmill, elliptical or bike when warming up.

Choosing your warm up exercises wisely

When doing a proper warm up you need to consider which exercises will correspond well with the type of workout you have planned for the day. The truth is I see so many people rely on the treadmill to warm up and yet don’t go long enough or push themselves hard enough to 1) feel an increase in HR and 2) will have any correlation with the exercises they choose to do next. For example when I have a leg day where I am doing deadlifts or squats, my dynamic warm up is going to work the muscles that will help during those lifts specifically (I may or may not do some duration on the treadmill or bike) but afterwards I still want do some light sets of deadlifts and squats or do some glute bridges or something that will fire up those particular muscles. It isn’t to say that you have to do 10 minute worth of deadlifts or squats BUT do some low loaded sets that will help fire them legs up.

Basically in summary, warming up is an important aspect of fitness, it is helpful to start a workout with the best intentions by firing up those muscles and targeting the correct muscles to put forth the best effort. It doesn’t have to be long and grueling and it won’t kill you, but it definitely will get that HR up and can be any variation of fun exercises. Keep in mind that it should be dynamic in nature and spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of the workout so you can use that information to set the course for the warm up. Have fun!

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

Lower back pain

While working with the general population for over 7 years, I have come to realize how many people suffer from lower back pain (mild to more chronic cases) and unfortunately, many times it isn’t always pinpointed as to what has caused it directly or indirectly. Come to find out, lower back pain can stem from other parts of the body, bad posture, direct damage to the back, being overweight or obesity, poor form during exercises, accidents, etc. Most clients I have worked with, have no answer as to what causes the pain and sometimes I find the worst pain happens during any and all exercises — in turn hindering their progress or deterring them from trying an exercise because they are scared of anything that could possibly trigger back pain or discomfort. It isn’t always easy to work around but with patience, support and understanding of the situation, I have found ways to help clients manage their lower back pain and/or have had a client or two not experience back pain anymore.

One of the many things I like to emphasize to clients with lower back pain is stretching the back and being gentle but keeping it warmed up and following through with daily stretches that give it comfort.

Secondly, practicing good posture. Something we lack as Americans because we work at a desk job for long hours, or have made a habit of our poor posture choices, and so it will take practice, and body awareness and the willingness to change in order to form a new habit.

Thirdly, foam rolling (I will talk about this in detail in a separate post) but foam rolling is awesome and while it does “hurt”, it works wonders and again will take practice, proper learning of how to use the tool and some time out of your day or workout to actually do it.

Focusing on exercises that both strengthen the back and strengthen the core/abdominal region. Both very important in terms of everyday activities and longevity. I don’t mean for you to do crunches everyday — (all exercises need good posture, and utilize the core) but make it more intentional when doing exercises to tighten the core & use good posture– all the while maintaining strength in all other parts of your body.

Glutes! yes, strengthening your glutes will help with back pain as well and also just in general, glutes are important because weak glute muscles can cause other muscles to overcompensate (thus causing imbalances). I don’t necessarily mean doing 100 back squats, I mean try some small bodyweight movements (glute bridges, hip thrust, donkey kicks…+ more! ) stuff that can be done at home or with a trainer. strong glutes are vital — I will talk more this in the foreseeable future.

Physical therapy — I know many people complain about how sometimes it doesn’t help or they don’t feel any better from it when it comes to their lower back pain. Some have told me they felt worse after taking physical therapy for lower back pain. I personally enjoy watching physical therapist and like the rehab portion of fitness and believe in physical therapy but like many things in life, it might not be for everyone and what you do in the clinic, should be done at home to maintain that strength and functionality. I don’t say spend thousands of dollars on physical therapy but if not going is a choice you are making, that is fine, I am not judging you by any means (I am lucky I never have had to endure physical therapy yet) and I realize sometimes it can be painful — so, do some research or perhaps talk to a trainer at a gym, still find ways to stay active and manage your health, don’t give up just because physical therapy isn’t making you feel 100 percent; remember they are human and some physical therapist are better than others in their scope of training and specializations.

Those are just a few things I have had work for my clients, but remember everyone is different and lower back pain is different for each individual. What might work for one, may not work for another, I consider everything before making a huge decision. If you are someone in the profession of physical therapy or someone with a degree in exercise science or any of the sciences that revolve around health/fitness/wellness, please feel free to leave comments and share your take on lower back pain and how you have managed to help others who suffer from lower back pain. I love being able to get views from all sides of the health profession.

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

Does everyone need a personal trainer

I think of personal trainers the same as I think of financial advisors; good to have, but not always necessary pending the person and their lifestyle and how much research they are willing to do to take the place of someone who is already knowledgeable in the profession. Funny, because I am a personal trainer and I still feel as though I am valuable and people are usually always willing to learn, but at the same time, I want to eventually make it so that my clients feel good working out on their own time — because I feel most successful when a client can say they no longer need my services because they are confident in trying things out on their own and want to explore other avenues with their fitness but very grateful for what information I was able to share with them.

It is a good mixture of being able to say when you need help and ask for it, even if it isn’t necessarily for a long term commitment – and being able to do the research and find ways to learn on your own. Most of the time people need the accountability more than anything when they hire a personal trainer, while we teach form, technique, speak upon nutrition and other elements of fitness, we also if well trained ourselves like holding our clients accountable. I do. I always ask questions to understand why they made a poor choice in diet, or decided to skip a workout, etc. I don’t get upset but I want them to know I care and want the best for them but at the same time I need my clients and myself to know what we expect from each other and how to go about that so we can work together in conquering their goals.

The important thing to take away from hiring a personal trainer is knowing why, why are you choosing to hire me to train you? is this a long term commitment for a future goal or a short term commitment to learn a few things to make you more comfortable inside the gym or working out at home, doesn’t matter whichever it is, just know your why so the trainer can better train you and also don’t be afraid to ask us questions, we love them! we thrive off a client’s willingness to learn new things. To say that everyone needs a personal trainer, is far fetched but I would say, the majority of Americans can benefit from a proper trainer who is knowledgeable and caring and can dedicate their time helping you achieve goals. For those of you who have always been athletes, and don’t feel the need to hire a trainer or strength coach, keep in mind because we are athletes – many times that makes it all the more important to have someone looking after our form and techniques because many times as athletes and professional fitness persons we tend to hide our imbalances, lack of correct form, etc well enough that others may not notice but if seen by someone who trains others for a living and specializes in the profession was to watch our lunges or squats would be able to notice the small tweaks that need to be done and make it so we are better athletes #justsayin.

Fitness Wonderwoman

Shay-lon Moss

There is no place like home

Home is where most of us feel safe, unjudged, at peace, comfortable, warm. When leaving home, that is when the world might turn into a battlefield for some– dealing with other people’s attitudes, behaviors, lack of empathy, etc. We never actually know what will come of the day when we step outside our doors; it is unknown, but we leave and hope for the best. #fingerscrossed

Truth be told, I can understand why the gym can feel like home for some and for others feel like a battlefield. It is easy for someone like me to say the gym is my second home because I work at one, I pretty much have been going to a gym ongoing for years now and while different gyms have different atmospheres; I always try to go in thinking “this is my time, I am here for me” and ignore the white noise in the background. Not so easy for many others to do, different reasons but still remains a common denominator: They don’t like the gym. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, I definitely am not looking to sway you to go to a gym that makes you feel uncomfortable because I was that person once & felt like an outsider in a big room full of people who all were on different missions, not to mention I struggle with social anxiety, so for me it was like one of the hardest things to adjust to.

However, I do not want people to be afraid to go inside a gym and be themselves, you are allowed to not be knowledgeable about equipment, you are allowed to be confused as to where to start, you are allowed to play it safe and use the treadmill, you are allowed to people watch, you are allowed to feel overwhelmed by how much there is in one room and think to yourself you can’t possibly do this, you are allowed to be scared of judgement from others, you are allowed to walk around and find something you like best. As a matter of fact, I expect this of people when they walk into a gym for a first time or try different locations to get a feel for the atmosphere and I expect it from those who have gone to a gym before but for whatever reason whenever they step into one, they are just as confused as to where to start as you are. I’d love to say it is easy, but nothing is easy about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new or trying something that scares you — although I am all about giving it a go and not being afraid to not like it but also always putting your best foot forward so that you get a true feel for the situation.

Some of things that I find that are helpful when coming into a gym include:

having your exercises planned out ahead of time via phone or paper

bringing a friend, family member or co-worker

wearing comfortable clothing that will allow you to move freely and gives you a sense of confidence

go in with an open mind but no expectations

talk to the front desk — ask questions, get a tour of the building

be observant of the type of people who come to the location — athletes, older adults, elderly, youth, etc

bring a positive attitude; don’t base it off other people’s experiences, base it off your own

take note of how clean / or well taken care stuff is

and don’t forget we were all here once upon a time.

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

Intrinsic / Extrinsic

The majority of my clients have what I call “extrinsic” goals, and motivation. To be honest, most people probably have more extrinsic reasons to want to stay healthy vs intrinsically. I don’t judge either way, but I know one will be better off in the long term scheme of things —

When people workout to lose weight, gain muscle, tone, work a specific part of their body — they are using extrinsic goals/motivation — this is their means to keep going. When someone is working out to feel good, be more confident, to stay active, because they love working out — generally speaking, they using more intrinsic goals/motivation. I, myself use intrinsic motivation to keep me going, while I do have extrinsic goals, if none of them were met, I would still maintain exercise because I like that it helps my mental health/well-being (overall gives me a good feeling). The problem with extrinsic motivation is it fades away eventually — either you hit the goal & now what? , you give up because you feel hopeless, you rely on others to push yourself or hold yourself accountable & when they fail to do so; they are to blame for you giving up, and you tend to be harder on yourself because you seek something that you want RIGHT NOW. Whereas, intrinsic people, tend to be okay with taking their time, they have a purpose that fuels them enough where if they don’t meet the extrinsic goals, they can keep going, they hold themselves accountable and they don’t give up very easy.

Having a little of both is normal as well, because sometimes we want extrinsic goals to help us feel better about ourselves and the intrinsic goal is now maintaining that afterwards. We spoke on motivation in the previous post and how we use it as a form of reasoning to do an act or behavior — so when you need the motivation, you want to find something that gives you overall purpose in the long term, and not just a short term gain.

Extrinsic goals aren’t bad, but intrinsic goals will last longer and keep things from going stale. Having a bit of both is a safe way to manage your goals and keep yourself motivated. If you are like myself and have more intrinsic reasons than you will probably make fitness a lifestyle rather than a fad & if you are extrinsic, think about things that are important to you in your day to day activities — things that as you get older will get harder/more challenging and how you see yourself conquering them <— this might help to put into a different perspective.

Fitness WonderWoman

Shay-lon Moss

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