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The Importance Of Warm-Up And Cool-Down Exercises

The Importance Of Warm-Up And Cool-Down Exercises

People who workout on their own often fail to include warm-up and cool-down exercises. It’s always part of the program at Team-ISC in Sacramento, CA. These are short sessions performed before exercise and immediately following. They serve different purposes and use different styles. Warm-up exercises can be as simple as jumping rope or a brisk walk. Cool-down ones can be stretches or yoga poses.

Warm-up exercises prepare your body for increased effort.

Getting your body into full workout mode without a short warm-up can be a shock to the heart. The warm-up workouts increase circulation slowly. That gradual increase in effort slowly boosts your heart rate and boosts your breathing gradually. It also warms the other muscles of the body to help prevent injury. It starts the process of exercise in the brain to fire the neurons that make your session more productive. It helps prevent a sudden rise in blood pressure, gradually easing you into the intensity of a workout.

A cooling-down session can be used to increase flexibility.

Cool-down exercises gradually slow circulation and allow your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature to slowly return to normal. Using stretches to cool down can help your fitness program in other ways. Your muscles are warm and more flexible, so it’s the perfect time to do exercises to increase your range of motion. That helps prevent injury in future sessions. Stretching the muscles can also reduce lactic acid and make recovery quicker.

The type of stretching used for each is different.

For warm-up exercises, you use dynamic stretching that involves similar movement to the action you’ll do during your workout. If you’re about to run, a brisk walk is a good example. Cool-down exercises use static stretches. Those are stretch-and-hold style exercises. Seated forward bending to touch the toes, the child pose, and the downward-facing dog are excellent cool-down exercises.

  • Both cool-down and warm-up exercises help reduce lactic acid build-up. Warm-up exercises increase oxygen, which means less lactic acid. Cool-down exercises keep circulation higher to remove lactic acid from the muscles.
  • Warm-up exercises boost your endurance and coordination. You’ll improve your agility, muscle control, and reaction time when you do warm-up exercises.
  • After an intense workout, the muscles are loose and feel almost jelly-like. If you don’t do cool-down exercises, you risk injury from falling. Since the blood pools in the extremities, you also risk fainting.
  • Warming up helps you get your thoughts together and focus more on your workout. It’s a time to switch from other activities to exercise before you increase intensity.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


The Importance Of Mindset For Fitness Success

The Importance Of Mindset For Fitness Success

Not everything about fitness success has to do with the body. Your mindset plays a vital role in it. It’s not just that way in fitness but in every aspect of life. Almost everyone has heard the story of The Little Engine That Could. It’s all about focusing on accomplishing a task and accepting nothing less than success. Everyone knows someone who says they want to get fit, but the moment they face a challenge, they quit. Don’t let that person be you.

Practice exercising in your head.

All physical activities start in the brain. Your brain gives a signal to the muscle to move in a specific way. There are stories of POWs practicing physical challenges, like exercise, in their head while imprisoned. When they were finally released, they were fit and performed better, even though their conditions were horrible. Olympic athletes also use mental imagery and visualization to improve their performance.

Changing your mindset can improve your chances of a better outcome.

When you improve your mindset, you improve your potential for success. It’s not magic or mental mumbo-jumbo. If you believe you can succeed, you’ll keep trying. If you believe you’ll fail, you’ll quit at the first setback or difficult task. After all, why even put in the effort if it won’t make a difference in the outcome? If you dread each visit to the gym because you feel self-conscious or inept, it makes it easier to skip a few sessions and ultimately quit going.

Sometimes your scales lie.

If you’re working out to help you lose weight, track your progress but also use other measurement techniques to keep your mindset positive. There may be a week or two that you don’t lose weight but your measurements show you lost inches. Focus on the inches lost. That means you’re burning fat and building muscle. One cubic inch of fat weighs less than a cubic inch of muscle tissue. If you didn’t lose weight but lost inches instead, you’re still making progress. You have more muscle tissue and less fat. That’s just as important, especially since muscle tissue burns more calories.

  • Give yourself praise every time you do a workout right, make progress, or go to the gym when you don’t want to go. You have to start a workout for that workout to be effective.
  • Leave your negativity outside the gym. Face each workout with a positive attitude. If you do something wrong, don’t beat yourself up, just correct the problem and move on from there.
  • Don’t just focus on the gym to boost your fitness. Do something fun. Go dancing, play team sports, or take the family on a hike. Those things also help you get into shape and make life more fun.
  • Listen to your self-talk. Be kind to yourself. When you achieve a small goal, celebrate it. Reward yourself when you achieve a large goal. Have a workout buddy and celebrate successes together.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Pros And Cons Of Working Out With A Partner

Pros And Cons Of Working Out With A Partner

It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to go to the gym, which is one reason working out with a partner is a benefit. Other benefits make having a workout buddy seem like the answer, but it’s not always the case. There’s a negative side to it. Having a workout partner has its pros and cons just as everything does. Looking at both sides can help you discover whether it’s right for you.

Partners hold you accountable for showing up and working your hardest.

If you workout alone, skipping a session can be pretty enticing sometimes. A workout partner holds you accountable for going to the gym. They also hold you accountable for working your hardest and sticking with the program in the gym. That sounds pretty good, but what happens if the person holding you accountable is less accountable than you? You have to do the heavy lifting to keep the partnership working out and it can be pretty cumbersome. Choose a workout partner wisely. If you’re both equally motivated, the chances of both of you wanting to goof off at the same time are far less.

A workout partner can create friendly competition.

If you’re competitive, look for a partner with an equal edge. It can make each session a challenge, which can be fun. The more fun you have, the more likely you’ll be to exercise. If your partner wants to give up at the first challenge and you’re competitive, it can make each workout miserable. You must listen to them as they whine and moan at each challenge. It’s enough to make you want to quit, which you’ll probably do.

Having a workout buddy makes the workout safer.

A workout partner can be your spotter when you lift weights. You need a spotter for safety’s sake. They can observe your form and help make corrections. Doing an exercise wrong can cause injury or minimize the benefits. A workout buddy as a running partner can be vital. If there’s an emergency or you have a fall, your partner is there to help. If you run after dark, you’re far safer when there are two of you rather than if you’re alone.

  • Just having someone check your progress by phone or Skype can be a benefit. One study found that when someone called a person once a week to check progress, it increased the chance of continuing by 78%.
  • If your workout partner is part of your social life, you can switch your fun from unhealthy options to healthier ones. Going to the gym instead of stopping at a bar for drinks that are packed on the pounds is a healthier option that can be as much fun.
  • Everyone needs confirmation that they’re doing well. A workout partner can provide accolades when you’ve conquered a tough goal or managed one more set.
  • Workout partners can provide incentives to try new exercises and workout techniques. The best workout partner can be a personal trainer. He is always there and ready to work. He shows you new exercises and the right way to do them.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Signs You're Working Out Too Much

Signs You’re Working Out Too Much

Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding area have some of the most “can-do” determined people in the world. They put their heart into everything they do. I’ve met quite a few at Team ISC. Many people come here to start a program of fitness. Occasionally, we get someone who is seasoned, but not making the progress they want. They’re pushing it to the limit, but instead of getting fitter, they seem to lose muscle and endurance. I immediately recognized that as one of the signs they are working out too much.

It doesn’t happen very often, but you can push too hard.

Every vocation and advocation has people who are overachievers. That’s a great quality, but when they’re trying to get fitter, it can work against you and slow progress to your goals. Your muscles need time to rest and repair after an intense workout. Strength training causes microtears in muscles. They heal to create mini scars that build muscle and strength. For strength training, that repair takes 48-72 hours. The more intense the workout, the longer the repair time. Give it time to heal instead of constantly re-tearing the muscle.

Your body will constantly fight to repair itself and that causes stress.

Not only will your progress slow or even reverse, but over-exercising can leave your body in a constant state of stress. Stress can affect your immune system. It leaves you more prone to colds, flu, and other illnesses. Exercise normally burns off stress hormones, but if it’s too strenuous, too frequent, or too long, it can cause more stress. During muscle repair, your immune system isn’t as efficient. It may take as long as 72 hours to get it back to normal after an intense workout. If you do intense workouts daily, you won’t have time to recover and are more prone to illness.

Several other signs may appear if you over-exercise.

Mood swings can be an obvious sign of someone over-exercising. It can cause anxiety, irritability, confusion, anger, and depression. Over-exercising can also cause chronic fatigue and delayed recovery time. If you aren’t recovering as quickly as usual or feel exhausted following a workout when you used to feel great, you might be pushing yourself too hard.

  • Instead of hitting the gym every day, workout two to three days a week and do recovery exercises like moderate walking on the other days. If it’s continued for a while, cut back on all activities and rest.
  • Get more rest. Your body heals when you sleep. Too much exertion can affect your sleep pattern negatively. Insomnia is another sign of too much exercise. Muscle loss, belly fat accumulation, and decreased thyroid output are also signs.
  • Track your resting heart rate. A high resting heart rate indicates you’re over-exercising. If you’re fit, it should be between 40-60 bpm. If it jumps to 75 bpm or higher, it’s time to take a break.
  • If you do strength training daily, alternate between upper, lower, and core muscles. We can help you with a program that works you to your maximum potential but never too hard.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


The Best Outdoor Exercise For Fall

The Best Outdoor Exercise For Fall

Getting outdoor exercise in Sacramento, CA, in the fall can be extremely pleasant. The weather is cooler and it isn’t the rainy season yet, although the winter fog season has started. It’s the perfect time to get out in nature and enjoy the changing of colors and beauty. Capitol Park is an excellent place to start. Take a walk and enjoy the history of this 40-acre area. Each section has a story to tell. You’ll be getting fresh air and some sunshine before the clouds of winter bring rain.

Ride your bike or hike the trails of a park.

Lake Natoma is a good place to pedal your way to health and absorb the inspiration that such beauty holds. It offers both hiking and biking paths. You’ll see a vivid display of color from the changing leaves as you pedal through the park. The background of the peaceful lake adds to the scenery. Pack a healthy lunch and enjoy the day with your family or friends. The relaxation and exercise from the hike or ride provide the perfect combination for good health.

Pick your snacks and get more exercise.

Visit the apple orchards at Apple Hill. Apple Hill is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains foothills and offers pumpkin patches, vineyards, and apple orchards. You can pick your apples straight off the trees in the orchard. The walking, picking, and carrying the bag provides exercise. If you’re just starting your fitness regimen or plan on picking several bags of apples, find an orchard that provides wagons for those who need them. If you have young children, it’s a good idea to have a wagon to transport them when they’re tired.

Halloween may be over, but a walk in a spooky area is always in season.

Going to Old Sacramento is always fun, but when you make your main destination the Haunted Fort in Old Sacramento, you’ll get a chance to learn history, while enjoying a few spooky stories. The fort is in the State Historic Park. It’s been around since the early 1900s and was a military base during the gold rush days. There are many legends surrounding the fort. You’ll learn those and other interesting, yet spooky, facts taking a walking tour. There are even tunnels under the fort that will give you goosebumps. Put on your running shoes—just in case!

  • If you want to test your endurance, sign up for the Apple Hill Harvest Run. It’s a 3.6-mile run across the beautiful countryside with tasty rewards for those who finish.
  • Take your exercise outside. Instead of working out inside, find a place outside where you can do your exercises and breathe in the fresh air as you do. You’ll also do some grounding if the area has grass and you exercise barefoot.
  • Exercising outside can help reverse mental burnout and bring stress relief. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a bike, walking, or doing calisthenics. Jumping rope is an activity for inside or outside that will increase your heart rate and get you into shape quickly.
  • If Rover is getting pudgy, take him for a run with you. Walking and running your dog helps you both burn calories and get into shape. If Rover hasn’t been on long walks for a while, start him off easy, and the same goes for you.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Treats You Can Have In Moderation

Treats You Can Have In Moderation

Holidays and delicious treats go together. It’s part of Americana. Learning the treats you can have in moderation that won’t break the calorie budget can be a real benefit during holiday time. It lets you make the smartest decisions when you choose your food, especially if you’re going to splurge a little. Choose treats with portion sizes that keep the calorie count to 100-200 calories. Even if you ate one daily, it may slow weight loss efforts, but won’t stop progress completely.

Who says treats can’t be healthy?

When you think of treats, you usually think of sugary snacks made from processed white flour. That isn’t always the case. Some treats can be healthy options, but ones that add a few additional calories. Cooked-then chilled—baby asparagus with lemon butter dipping sauce is one of those examples. If you go heavy on the lemon and light on the butter, lemon-butter asparagus easily fits into your healthy eating plan. Another healthy option is fresh veggies and dip. Make a lower-calorie dip and you can make this treat a daily option.

Nuts may be higher in calories, but they’re filling and healthy options.

It’s easy to misjudge the amount of nuts you eat and why packing them in individual serving sizes is best. A bag of nuts may contain 16 ounces. If you only eat a one ounce serving, you’ll consume approximately 200 calories. What if you ate the whole bag or even half the bag? It’s easy to do. You’d consume between 1600 and 3200 calories, enough for two days’ worth of meals. Divide the bag into serving sizes and put those in individual plastic bags.

Fruit, nuts, and veggies are okay, but what if you miss cake?

Knowledge is king when it comes to eating healthy. Angel cake is truly an angel to dieters. Slice a 12-ounce angel cake into twelve servings. Each one is just 72 calories. You can make it even more special by slicing strawberries on top and putting two tablespoons of aerosol whipped topping on it. Eight large, sliced strawberries are 66 calories, and 2-T of aerosol topping is 20 calories.

  • Make trail mix and bag it in 100-200 calorie serving sizes. You can include dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, popcorn, and even bits of semi-sweet chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is high in cacao and low in sugar.
  • Microwave popcorn is another safe treat you can eat in moderation. Make it yourself by putting 1 ½ T of popcorn in a microwavable bowl with a loose lid. Three cups are just 72 calories. Spice it up with popcorn toppings.
  • Make a healthy parfait. Put a layer of plain Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, and a half banana. Top with another layer of yogurt and a handful of nuts. Put the lid on it and store it in the refrigerator for snacks. It’s approximately 120 calories.
  • Melt dark chocolate bits or a chocolate square high in cacao in the microwave and dip fresh strawberries. You can even freeze a half banana on a stick for dipping.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


How To Stay Healthy As A Busy Mom

How To Stay Healthy As A Busy Mom

Busy moms fail to take care of themselves. They focus all their energy on keeping their family healthy and happy and fail to take care of themselves. If you aren’t healthy, who is going to take care of your family? It’s one reason many women get help at Innovative Strength and Conditioning in Sacramento, CA. They provide a program that includes both diet and exercise, plus coaching that helps keep you on track. People of all fitness levels benefit, whether they’re a beginner focusing on the basics or seasoned athlete who wants a better performance.

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself.

Moms often feel that doing something for themselves is selfish. The opposite is true. If you don’t take care of your health, someone has to take care of you. Eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly can boost your energy level, so you’ll get work done quicker and have time to enjoy yourself with your family. Besides taking time to exercise and focusing on healthy meals, moms also need to get adequate sleep. It’s not noble to burn the candle at both ends. It makes you less effective and crankier. When you do the things to keep you healthy, you’ll get more done in less time and be less prone to making errors.

Learn how to be healthier and teach your children.

Staying healthy sets a good example for your children. Kids learn what they live. If you stay active and eat healthy meals, it becomes part of your child’s life. You can even involve kids in active play and get them away from the computer. Nothing makes memories quicker than fun playing ball, hiking, or doing other active things with the family. Serving healthy meals increases their chances of eating healthy.

Find a time to work out regularly.

You might think there’s no time to exercise, but when you look for a time in your schedule, you’ll probably find it. Maybe you have to get up early before your family gets up. If your kids are school age, wake them up and have them join you or exercise together in the evening, before supper. Put exercise on your calendar and treat it like you would any appointment. Call it your health appointment to make it more important in your mind. Staying healthy is mandatory, not an option.

  • Get more from your workout in less time. Circuit training, kettlebell training, and HIIT—high intensity interval training—get maximum results in less time. The higher the intensity, the less time needed.
  • You’ll have more energy to deal with problems and be less likely to respond with “less than adult” behavior in tense situations and more likely to show grace under pressure.
  • Always keep healthy snacks available. Have fruit, vegetables, and nuts ready to eat to avoid the temptation of junk food. Have water in the refrigerator instead of soft drinks, juices, or sugary drinks.
  • If you can’t carve out time for a full workout, carve out several 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day. Walk your kids to school to get in extra steps or exercise while watching TV with the family.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

How Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

If you’ve noticed you’ve put on a few extra pounds, but you’re eating healthy and working out regularly, maybe there’s another reason besides diet and activity level causing it. Are you having a few drinks containing alcohol to wind down when your day is done? That regular consumption of alcohol may be the cause of your weight gain. It’s more than just about the calories it contains. It’s about how the body digests the alcohol.

Yes, some alcoholic drinks offer benefits, but don’t let that fool you.

A glass of red wine may provide some health benefits from the resveratrol it contains, but you can get those same benefits from drinking grape juice, or better yet, eating grapes. One study focused on moderate drinking compared to those who abstained. One drink or less a day for women and two drinks a day or less for men is moderate alcohol consumption. They found drinking in moderation reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. While it may provide health benefits, so do other foods and drinks that don’t cause weight gain.

Consuming alcohol slows the fat-burning process.

When you drink, your body burns off the alcohol first, before it starts on the energy from other food. That causes a problem with how the body uses glucagon. Glucagon works the opposite way insulin does. It helps prevent blood sugar from being too low and increases blood sugar levels. It also burns off fat. Your body processes glucagon first to eliminate it from the body, just like any toxin. When it’s doing that, it ceases other functions, such as burning fat. Digesting alcohol spikes blood sugar levels, which also means they drop dramatically. That leaves you ravenous, even though the drink may have contained several hundred calories.

Like sugary products, most alcoholic drinks contain empty calories.

If you consume empty calories, you only get energy without other nutrients. The body focuses on burning the alcohol first, so the calories from other food are stored as fat. If you’re a female with low estrogen levels, those calories are stored as fat around the midsection—belly fat—due to an enzyme called Aldhlal—Aldehyde Dehydrogenase lAl.

  • Drinking alcohol can stimulate the appetite. One study compared people who had an alcoholic drink before dinner to those who had a soft drink. Those who drank alcohol ate more than those that didn’t.
  • Even if you drink moderately, if you do it regularly, the alcohol still spikes your blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Insulin resistance makes weight loss more difficult.
  • Consuming alcohol can reduce metabolism by making it more difficult to build muscles. It reduces the body’s testosterone levels. The lower the testosterone levels, the more difficult it is to build muscle tissue.
  • Each gram of alcohol has two times the calories of protein and more than most carbohydrates. It’s slightly less than fat, but still very close to it with fat containing 9 calories per gram and alcohol containing 7 calories per gram.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC


Hormones, Health And Behavior

Hormones, Health And Behavior

When people hear the word hormones, they think of sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, but hormones do more than just control sexual development and function. Some play a vital role in good health and some hormones affect behavior, mood, and cognitive functioning. Hormones may make you overeat. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes you hungry, while leptin makes you feel full. Lack of sleep can increase the hormone ghrelin and reduce the production of leptin, making weight gain more probable.

Insulin is one of the best-known hormones, next to sex hormones.

When the body doesn’t produce any insulin, you have type 1 diabetes. Too much insulin is also bad. The body can develop insulin resistance that can turn into type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body can’t produce enough to open the cells to uptake glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy in both situations, lack of glucose causes cell damage and death. It can cause damage to all parts of the body.

An overproduction of stress hormones can create physical and emotional issues.

Cortisol is one of the better-known stress hormones. The adrenal glands create it. It gets the body prepared to run or fight. When you do either one, it burns off the effects of cortisol. You need stress hormones to survive, especially if you face a life-threatening experience, but not all stressful situations are life-threatening. Traffic jams, angry bosses, and crying babies certainly aren’t, yet they cause stress. If you don’t burn cortisol or other stress hormones, it can create anxiety and even depression.

Hormones play a role in almost all functions that affect your physical and mental well-being.

Adequate sleep is necessary to avoid irritability, mood swings, weight gain, and poor memory. Serotonin helps you get that sleep. Some hormones affect where you store fat. Sex hormones and cortisol are two of those. HGH—human growth hormone—is called the “fountain of youth” hormone. It helps build muscles and affects fat metabolism, and body composition. There’s no evidence it turns back time for your body, but people still buy HGH tablets, even though stomach acid destroys it. The best way to boost the body’s HGH is through exercise, particularly HIIT—high intensity interval training.

  • What other hormones can affect your mood and behavior? Dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and of course serotonin all do. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and dopamine is known as the happy hormone because it makes you feel good.
  • High levels of testosterone can make you aggressive and angry. High levels of estrogen can make you irritable. When your sex hormones are out of balance it affects your mental and physical health.
  • Exercise and a healthy diet can help keep hormones regulated. Exercise helps you sleep better, to keep ghrelin and leptin in check. It also burns off the hormones of stress. A healthy diet can help prevent problems with insulin.
  • Your thyroid gland creates hormones that help you stabilize weight gain or weight loss. If it’s not producing enough, it can cause weight gain, dry skin, fatigue, and hair loss. Too much can cause hyperthyroidism with heart palpitations, weight loss, and other symptoms.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC