Are you really ready to start working out and getting in shape?

It’s that time of year again, when everyone looks in the mirror and realizes that they enjoyed too many cocktails and ate way too many cookies over the holidays. Like clockwork, many of us start with new year’s resolutions and say we’re going to get back in shape. Gym memberships typically skyrocket during January and February of every year.

Working out again is a good thing, of course, but not enough people follow through and make it a part of their lifestyle for the long term. To do it properly, you have to approach this in a way that’s sustainable.

In his first column for Bullz-Eye.com way back in 2000 (10 years ago!), fitness editor Mike Furci provided some guidelines on how to start working out in a way that will be sustainable over the long run. Most of his recommendations involve your mental approach to working out. If you get your mind right, then over time you’ll make improvements in your health and fitness. Check it out and then check out Mike’s regular fitness columns on Bullz-Eye.

  

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Time to choose a gym

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Like most people, you’ve probably waited till after the holidays to think about getting back in shape. It’s an annual ritual for many of us, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Step one for many of us will be joining a gym, and now is a good time to be looking, as many gyms are offering all sorts of promotions and discounts during the holiday season through January. The New York Times has a good article on getting a deal on a gym membership.

It’s New Year’s resolution time again, and the health and fitness clubs here in New York and throughout the country are out in full force.

This time of year you can count on heavy promotions. Clubs depend on the December-January rush for the bulk of their memberships. But this year the frenzy has been ratcheted up a notch as clubs try to make up for the recession, which caused many corporate sponsorships to evaporate and many individual members to drop out or cut way back on costly extras like personal training and massage.

But lean times for the fitness clubs are good news for consumers.

“Join in December and you’ll get the best deals — across the board,” says Howard Brodsky, chief executive of New York Health & Racquet Club. “Health clubs are businesses just like any other retail business. They have numbers they need to hit.”

And here is more good news: Over the last decade or so the health club industry has cleaned up many of its questionable practices. Years ago, health and fitness clubs routinely made the Federal Trade Commission’s list of the top 10 sources of consumer complaints about deceptive sales practices, misleading contracts and lack of full disclosure.

We also recommend checking out one of Fitness Editor Mike Furci’s earliest articles for Bullz-Eye.com on how to choose a gym.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Strength and power have a positive influence on muscle endurance

Mike Furci explains this fitness tidbit in his latest “Did you know . . ” column.

Fernando J. Naclerio and fellow researchers performed a study using 14 firefighters to determine the importance of strength and power on a muscular endurance test. The physical test the firefighters were to perform for a job entry requirement was a maximum repetition test on the flat barbell bench press with 40 kg in 40 seconds.

The subjects performed a progressive test of eight sets of two to three repetitions during the first part of the study. The first and second sets were performed using a low load of 25 percent to 45 percent. The first set was always performed with a lower load than the second, which was performed using 40 kg. As subsequent sets were performed, the load was increased. The third and fourth sets were performed with a moderate load of 50 percent to 65 percent of their one-rep maximum (1 RM); the firth and sixth sets were performed with 70 percent to 80 percent of 1 RM; the seventh and eighth sets were performed with 85 percent to 100 percent of 1 RM.

To prevent fatigue from being a factor, the second part of the study (which was the max rep test) was performed 72 hours after the first part. Researchers found the 1 RM to have the greatest degree of influence in the firefighter’s performance on the 40 kg max rep bench press test. Interestingly, the degree of power produced in the progressive test using 40 kg had no correlation with the subject’s ability in the max rep test.(J Strength Cond Res.2009;23(5):1482-1488)

We’ll be writing more about this, but don’t wait until the holidays are over to start working out. Imagine how much better you’ll feel over the holidays if you’ve already started (or improved) your fitness and health program. Sure, you’ll be drinking and eating more than usual if you’re like most people, but at least you won’t regress too far.

  

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