Monthly Archives: January 2018

Strength Training with Heavy Weights

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Do you ever lift heavy weights when you exercise?

So many people who come to us for help have mainly focused on ‘cardiovascular exercise’ in the past such as running or biking. For those who have done strength training, it’s usually been with light weights.

Now, these types of exercise are great and have many benefits, but don’t be afraid to incorporate heavier weights into your workouts. With any strength training, form is key, and especially with heavier weights, be sure to listen to your body and know your limitations. Of course the term ‘heavy’ is relative, but choose a weight that you can perform correctly for 3 to 6 reps and incorporate no more than one heavy exercise per workout.

The following exercises are great movements to use heavier weights with. You’ll want to be experienced and confident with these exercises before attempting to go heavier. Always warm up properly before lifting a heavy weight.


Barbell Deadlift. To perform a deadlift, step up to a weighted barbell with shins nearly touching the bar and feet hip to shoulder width apart. Squat down toward the bar as you keep your heels firmly planted while maintaining a natural curve through your back. Grasp the bar about shoulder width and tense your body. As you lift the weight, push your feet into the floor while exhaling. Be sure to keep the bar close to the body as you lift. Maintain your posture throughout the lift, keeping tension through your shoulder blades and core as you rise to the top position. Control the weight back down to the floor and repeat.

Dumbbell Chest Press. With a dumbbell in each hand lie back on a bench. Begin with your arms fully extended above your chest and the dumbbells touching each other. Slowly bend your elbows and allow the weights to drop downward and outward until your elbows come to a 90 degree angle. Pause and then exhale as you push the weights back up to the starting point. It’s important to have a spotter on this exercise.

Barbell Squat. Begin with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart with a weighted barbell resting on your upper back. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Drop down to a depth where you still feel stable in your stance. Exhale as you stand back to the top, but don’t lock your knees all the way out. Be sure to maintain a controlled speed and don’t let the weight push you around and never bounce out of the bottom part of the movement.

Add one of these exercises to you workout routine each week for the next 4-6 weeks to elicit changes not brought on by cardio or lighter weights.

Reach your Fitness Goals in 2018

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If you set out to become healthier in 2018, be mindful of the following advice. They’re not your typical ‘must do’ tips, but play an important role in losing weight and keeping it off.

Take responsibility. If you’re not happy with your weight or current state of health, take responsibility and admit that you have not been doing your part. Don’t blame lack of time, the abundance of junk food, or depleted motivation. No one has more control over your actions than you do. Take responsibility for the poor choices you’ve made in the past that got you into your current state of health, and then work to fix those problems.

Think before you act. Before you make a big decision in life, you probably take time to think it over, right? Now, try to follow that same philosophy with food choices. Rather than just grabbing something and eating it, think about how it may affect your health, mood, and energy. Will you be proud of yourself in 30 minutes or ashamed? Become involved in the decision making aspect of eating, rather than just doing what you want to do in that moment, but then regretting your decision afterwards.

Focus on your health. It’s great to set a goal but many people become so focused on the prize that they lose sight of the best way to get there. Many diets and exercise protocols are just plain unhealthy. A good rule is to focus on becoming healthy, and the rest will follow. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds to fit into that smaller pant size, focus on getting your body healthy through minimizing stress, improving your sleep, cleaning up your diet, and exercising. As your health improves, your body fat will drop as you gain muscle, endurance, and confidence. In time, your body will change for the better as a result of your improved health.

Respect yourself. The human body is an amazing machine and it tolerates a lot of abuse. Show some respect by taking care of it. Simple self-respect includes smart exercise choices and a clean, well-balanced diet. The more respect you give, the more progress you’ll see in return.

Enjoy your new lifestyle. What good are all these new changes if they’re only temporary? Learn to make exercise and nutrition a part of your life. You may have to wake early and get to the gym or skip on dessert, but make no mistake – as challenging as a healthy lifestyle may be, it is definitely worth the rewards.

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