Here’s a fact that may surprise you: The very best trainers in the world do not ever put their clients on exercise machines. If you were to speak with a mechanical engineer, you’d find we still use “machines” in the technical sense of the world—pulley systems, bands, free weight and body resistance, plus lots of balls and wobble boards and rollers. Toys we have aplenty—but you won’t find the very best trainers in the world throwing their clients on those gleaming monstrosities you see in most gyms. Why?
Simply put, exercise machines interfere with proper body biomechanics.
Exercise machines create joint instability. Around every joint in your body is what we in the industry call R-C factor. That stands for resistance-contraction. In plain English, when you sit in some contraption and move a few muscles, you can not properly engage your core postural muscles. I’ve seen countless clients over the years with weak, tight backs, torn up shoulders and blown-out knees who have been under the mistaken impression that their machine workouts were doing their bodies a big favor. When YOU work out (now that you are properly enlightened), you want to work both the tonic (postural) and phasic (prime mover) muscles. Since the distribution of tonic and phasic muscles is about 50-50, if you went back to a stupid gym machine workout, that would be like developing half the muscles in your body. No one would ever go to school and say, “Please, teacher, develop half my brain.”
Exercise machines create special problems for women, especially causing a multitude of knee problems. About 80 percent of knee problems in women could be avoided by never, ever working out on exercise machines. Women have smaller joints and smaller nerve capsules than men and are even more vulnerable to hurting themselves on machines. Besides, ladies, research shows the best way to develop lean legs is by compound movements like squats and lunges. These movements also require you to use core stabilizers—I.e., a strong, stable back and abdominal region.
Exercise machines do not develop your body in the way you were actually designed by God to move. Your body moves in several planes of motion. Most machines require too much forward and back motion, virtually no rotation, an essential catalyst, nor hardly any side to side movement. In addition, if you really want flat abs, even a Pilates cadillac isn’t the very best way because that machine has you lying down. My mentor in fitness, Paul Chek, says the very best way to develop flat abs is with a Swiss ball. He also uses a blood pressure cuff to engage the lower ab muscles.
Don’t be fooled by some impressive array of expensive machines at the gym. Come to Total Fitness and learn how to work out not only safely but also effectively—to get results. Learn how to train like an Olympic athlete, like pro athletes, like this year’s winner of the Master’s golf tournament—sans exercise machines.
The Most Important Movement Patterns for Your Body
Once you have avoided the rows upon rows of big machines at the gym, be sure your workout includes seven basic movement patterns:
Bends—if you watch yourself, aren’t you always bending– to the side, towards the floor?
Pushes. Like a pushup—very functional!
Pulls—like a row.
Twists—probably the most important movement, and often the most underutilized movement in the gym. You can think of twists like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. A catalyst is something that remains the same, but makes all other things happen. Twists are essential!
Gaits—Walking, running, swimming.
A Good Test for Food: Would You Want to Make A Cell Out of It?
Every 120 days, you make a whole new set of red blood cells. About every 7 years, you replace every cell in your body.
In our eagerness to eat, we often forget what eating is all about: replacing the cells in our bodies.
Next time you set down to eat, ask yourself this question: Would I like to replace the cells in my body with this food?
Would you like biceps made out of doughnuts or organic green, leafy vegetables and free-range meats?
Does your central nervous system run on coffee, or pure water?
Would you like your abdominal muscles to be made from protein bars, beer (many people feel like their belly is made from beer, and they are often right) or leftover pizza?
If you stop and think about it, the answer seems obvious. Many people look terrible and feel even worse because they don’t stop to think about the quality of the food they are eating.
A cereal company did a study with rats. One group of rats received no food. A second group was fed the box the cereal came in. A third group was given the cereal itself.
Which group of rats do you think died first? The rats who ate the cereal, of course. The rats who were fed nothing died second, followed by the ones who ate the box.
In other words, if you get up in the morning, eat cereal, you are probably better off eating the cardboard box the cereal came in.
In yoga and Qi Gong, we talk about chi, or life energy. Pick the freshest food you can when you go shopping—otherwise, you are better off eating the box that most packaged foods come in.
Reiki Master Class: August 23-24
Speaking of chi, learn how to channel the highest levels of healing energy with our Reiki Master class, Aug. 23-24. What you will learn:
How to use the Reiki Master symbol to heal at the soul level
Hand positions for healing others
How to use Qi Gong meditative techniques to maintain a high level of personal energy before, during and after healings
How to use essential oils, crystals and other techniques to enhance your Reiki.
When: 9 am – 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $350, or $325 with a $50 nonrefundable deposit received no later than Aug. 9.