At the La Jolla Sports club we are offer a San Diego Boot Camp class to both members and non members every Saturday at 8am. The one hour long group fitness class includes a combination of strength training exercises and aerobics. Come join us this Saturday and enjoy a workout over looking the beach with some of the top fitness instructors San Diego has to offer. For future details please call: 858-456-2595. We hope to see you soon!
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
With each birthday after our 39th (a nicer way of saying, “as we age”), our muscles tighten and our range of motion diminishes. Duh.
This puts a damper on our activities of daily living including everything from leaning over to tie our shoes and reaching for our carry-on bag in the overhead compartment to twisting when we reach to put on our seat belt and bending down to pick up the kids’ toys. Thankfully, the Sporting Club has highly skilled trainers and fitness professionals who are masterful at helping members stretch and gain flexibility, regardless of age or health status.
I recently had a “regeneration session” with The Sporting Club’s personal trainer, Eric Isselin, and it was eye opening—ok, joint opening was more like it! If you haven’t experienced this type of a stretch, you are missing something.
Like many at the gym, I do a fair amount of dynamic stretching after warming up before a workout, but this was way different. Butt kicks, high knees and hugs, carioca, glute walks, climbing “over the fence,” are some examples of dynamic stretching you see in the gym. Eric’s calls his stretching routine “regeneration” for a reason.
His post-workout “on the table” PNF, soft-tissue and active stretching session was an outstanding way to reduce my muscle tension and soreness, increase range of motion in my joints, and increase my general energy level (primarily due to increased circulation).
There’s been some confusion about the value of stretching before exercise, in part, due to a recent CDC study of 100 papers that looked at stretching studies. They found that people who stretched before exercise were not less likely to suffer injuries. But perhaps a better interpretation is that while warming up can prevent injury, stretching before exercise has little or no effect on injury. In either case, a good warm up followed by pain-free dynamic stretching before exercise (holding a stretch for 30 seconds or so without bouncing) has been shown to be generally superior to static stretching before an exercise session.
Why is stretching so valuable, even for people who don’t exercise? Here are the top 5 reasons to stretch it out:
1. Boosts flexibility and reduces likelihood of muscle strain
2. Improves blood circulation to, and nourishes, muscles, helping recovery from injury
3. Develops balance and coordination and decreases likelihood of falls
4. Reduces lower back pain by loosening muscles in the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, piriformis and hip flexors.
5. Enhances cardiovascular health, artery function and reduces hypertension.
Finally, while you are busy stretching your muscles, don’t forget your mind. For it was none other than Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who noted, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” That’s true mind-body benefit!
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
When it comes to creating a healthier you, there are many things you can do to improve your lifestyle–and as a result your health—and weight loss is at the top of the list. Even a modest reduction in weight for many of the approximately 75% of Americans who are overweight or obese will reduce risk factors for serious illnesses.
As a member of The La Jolla Sports Club, you already have taken important steps in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Reducing calories and exercising for a minimum of 150 minutes each week is the simplest approach to weight control.
Exercising for at least an hour a day, eating a low-fat/low-calorie diet, having breakfast every day, weighing yourself regularly and eating the same diet on weekends as you do during the week are essential steps for anyone who has lost significant weight and wants to keep it off.
Lifestyle change encompasses more than just diet and exercise though. The major categories you can control, according to the LEARN Program for Weight Control, include:
- Develop smart weight loss goals that you can accomplish
- Get rid of any “it’s all or nothing” type of thinking, otherwise a lapse will become a relapse
- Don’t equate your weight with your self-esteem
- Find support in others and be clear about the kind of help you’d like from those close to you
- Forget pop diets—they are short-lived
- Portion control, count calories, and eat with moderation in your approach to food
- Stay with an individualized, systematic plan (WeightWatchers is rated # 1 by US News and World Report)
- Set achievable, realistic exercise goals
- Deal with emotional barriers to exercise
- Be sure you continue adding increased activity levels to your daily lifestyle
Of course self-care for health involves proper diet and exercise. But what are you doing to increase your mastery of stress, to improve your overall relationships, to provide for yourself financially? These are also important to overall health.
Your work-life balance, the amount and type of play in which you engage, and key environmental factors you can control are also essential elements of overall self-care. Let’s not forget about having a clear purpose in life, healthy doses of self-esteem and a spiritual foundation as well.
Exercise has been demonstrated over and over again to serve as a foundation for overall life wellness. Think of wellness as the integration of each of the areas above—mental, social, emotional, spiritual and physical. These are the areas that will expand your life’s potential and impact how you feel about your life and your ability to function effectively and cope positively, optimistically and constructively, day to day.
Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
This is one of those columns that are best read with snicker-free maturity. Here’s why. That smile you see on the gym floor may be connected to far more than just completing a great core workout.
University-based research has confirmed that women experience “coregasms,” exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP), while working out. Kinsey first described this phenomenon in 1953 when he reported that approximately 5% of women have orgasms linked to physical exercise in his book, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.”
Research reported on just this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, from Indiana University Medical School and its Center for Sexual Health Promotion, provides far more updated qualitative and quantitative data.
It took only five weeks to recruit between 400-500 or more women for this online survey, all of who experienced EIO or EISP. The average age of the subjects was 30 years old, about 70% were heterosexual, and most were either in a relationship or married. Of course, the media leaped on this newest set of findings, though anecdotal reports about this phenomenon have circled for decades.
Here are the key findings from this new study:
40% of the women who experienced EIO and EISP have done so on more than 10 occasions, with some level of embarrassment.
Most of the women who experienced EIO or EISP were just exercising, not thinking of anything sexual or about anyone in the gym
51.4% said their first “orgasm” experience was related to multiple sets of crunches or other abdominal exercises (“coregasm” comes from the core and ab routines that they linked to EIO and EISP) 26.5% experienced an orgasm while weight lifting 20% while doing yoga (“yogasms”) 15.8% while biking or spinning 13.2% while running 9.6% while walking or hiking
The “Captain’s Chair,” in which a person supports her weight on her forearms on padded arm rests while her body hangs and she lifts her knees towards her chest, is the one exercise most woman mentioned as being linked to EIO and EISP.
Other core exercises that may give rise to a “coregasm” include hanging straight leg raise, hanging side crunches, single leg planks, arm pullover crunches, and medicine ball blasts on a slant board. The researchers, led by Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., MPH and J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, indicate that it’s more than core muscles that are involved in these physiological experiences.
What does all of this new data mean? For one, according to the researchers, exercise may potentially enhance women’s sexual lives. Further, the findings suggest that orgasm is not necessarily only a sexual event.
Whether these exercise induced orgasms or exercise induced sexual pleasures come from a tightening of the pelvic muscles, a build up of tension and nerve impulses, the common view among many women surveyed appears to be to care less why it happens, but to be happy it does.
The researchers have stated they don’t want their study to be “sensationalized.” Good luck with that one. They also hope that women who read about their findings don’t come to feel pressured to “perform” more than a good workout at the gym. Finally, they also stated concern that the thought of EIO or EISP might leave others at the gym “uncomfortable.” They left out, causing long lines at the “Captain’s Chair.”
Bottom line? Add this to the long and growing list of good reasons to work out.
Whether you are a newcomer to The La Jolla Sports Club, have been around awhile, workout a couple of days a week or are a six day a week enthusiast, everyone needs continued motivation. We all reach a plateau, slip in adhering to a training program and find reasons for why we “can’t” get to the gym this week. It’s normal and natural, but it’s not necessary.
When you consider what motivates people to join and stay active in a gym, according to the latest research by the International Racquet, Health & Sportsclub Association, (IHRSA), letting exercise go just doesn’t make sense.
The following were the top reasons members selected for joining a club:
- To feel better about myself (59%)
- To stay healthy (56%)
- To look better (49%)
- To lose weight (48%)
- To maintain strength (45%)
Members continue using their club for a number of reasons:
- Overall health/wellbeing (61%)
- To get in/stay in shape/stay healthy (61%)
- It’s in a convenient location (52%)
- The variety of equipment (48%)
- To make progress with my personal goals (41%)
Given these important reasons for joining and maintaining an active gym membership, particularly health benefits, finding motivation to continue deriving these advantages is critical. Here are five tips for finding your motivation to get in, and stay in, the best shape of your life:
1. Convenient If it’s not convenient, it’s likely to be a top-level reason to make exercise move to the bottom of the list. First thing to do is remove the obstacles such as, “it’s a pain to get to.” Pack your gym clothes the night before your workout, know your routine before you enter the gym, and keep to the “ideal 30 +/- minute rule.” What’s the “ideal 30 +/-minute rule”? Simple: Ideally, you should be able to get to the gym, dressed and start your first stretch within 30 +/-minutes. If it is much longer than that, it’s likely to add to your excuse list.
2. Results If you aren’t seeing the results that drove you to the gym in the first place, you’ll probably keep driving past the gym. Keep track of your progress—that’s on everyone’s list of top motivational tools. Before you see results in your body, you’ll feel that working out is easier to do and you’ll realize that you are exercising harder and longer. By seeing actual growth in your progress chart, before you see it in the mirror, your motivation to keep going will surely increase.
3. Enjoyable If it’s not fun, you’ll probably find your pleasure elsewhere. Getting bored on the treadmill? Is your free weight routine pressing you down? Have you tried the latest classes that might have more appeal? The explosion of group exercise classes means there’s so much more to choose from instead of solo exercise. Try a trainer for a month or two—he or she will surely shake it up for you.
4. Social If you feel like a stranger in the gym, you’ll find it strange to be there. You don’t want to be among the 95% of exercise dropouts do you? A key reason these folks fade away from their commitment to healthy exercise is they have no social support system. Workout with a group of friends or join a group ex class, attend the gym’s member socials, find an accountability partner – trainer, coach, friend, family member.
5. Schedule If it’s not a part of your weekly calendar, it’s not going to be a part of your week. Forty percent of people in a recent survey say they don’t have the time to exercise. Looking at busy schedules, family responsibilities, work pressures and other demands may seem like that’s entirely possible. It may be time to reevaluate your schedule. Can you get up earlier? Can you leave your child at the club’s child-care? What about breaking up your workout into smaller time sessions? Whatever you do, put it in your calendar.
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Ever wonder what world-class, elite level athletes do before they get on the field? They do the same thing that well-informed fitness enthusiasts, celebrity trainers and leading coaches do. They use relaxation and visualization techniques to boost their performance.
While there are many studies that document the value of visualization and imagery in enhancing muscular-related sports and fitness performance, one is worth noting. Russian scientists discovered that when a group of Olympic athletes spent 25% of their time in physical training and 75% of their time in mental training, their performance rose to their best level of performance. The famed Cleveland Clinic Foundation explored the effects of visualization on muscle strength and reported increases to muscle strength through visualization.
Visualization helps build concentration, confidence, control and commitment—the four main mental qualities related to elite levels of performance in most athletic related activities.
Do you? Here’s the low-down and just how to dream a bit before you pump it up!
With these five simple steps, you can develop stronger neural pathways in your brain (clusters of neurons in your brain that help form memory and learned behaviors) to fortify positive, energizing thoughts/images and turbo-charge your workout. It is as if when you mentally “see” yourself doing an exercise, that imagery transmits impulses from your brain to those muscles involved in what you visualize. This, in turn, leaves your body feeling as if it actually performed the exercise you imagined. It’s as if the workout becomes easier and more likely to be accomplished because “you’ve already done it.”
1. Find a quiet, calming and peaceful place where you can relax.
2. Visualize, mentally rehearse, as vividly and plainly as you feasibly can, engaging in a vigorous, healthy and invigorating workout.
3. Imagine in your mind doing your workout in the present tense (“I am…” not “I will…”), without rushing. This is not a “hurry up and get going” experience, but a “savor the imagery” preparation for a successful workout or training session. See and feel as many details of the perfect workout you are vividly imagining, and note how much more muscular, faster, stronger, and athletic you feel.
4. Mentally rehearse how good you feel completing the workout, achieving the goals you (and your trainer) set for yourself, imagining that you are leaving the gym feeling terrific about yourself.
5. Rid your mind of any negative, inaccurate, irrational thoughts that could undermine the value for yourself, of this training and fitness performance tool so many athletes worldwide find helpful. When you hear yourself filling up with “It won’t work for me,” or “Ah, it’s a waste of time,” or “I can’t do this right,” challenge, dispute and debate those thoughts. “How do I know it won’t work for me?” “Just because I think it is a waste of time, doesn’t mean it IS—maybe that’s just a negative thought.” “Am I expecting myself to do this perfectly the first time?”
It’ll take self-discipline to do this because of the tendency to want to get into your workout as quickly as possible. Think of it as part of your disciplined dynamic stretch warm-up routine. As Lou Holtz once said, “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”