Money Can't Make
As long as I can remember, I've
always looked for an excuse to buy toys! Whether it be
hardware tools, computer stuff, or fitness equipment, there's
always something that I can find a reason to buy!
Be that as it may, I've gotten more
particular in recent years regarding the perceived value that is
placed on some of this fitness equipment. First of all,
let me just start by saying this... if you are just planning to
start working out... your start date should not be based upon
the purchase of any new equipment, nor should it be based upon
your new club/gym membership! That's just an excuse for
you to postpone your training and does nothing for the proper
mindset that you want to have!
Now back to my point about
perceived value of fitness equipment. Some of the gadgets
that we see in these infomercials and advertisements are just
colorful renditions of stuff that has been around for years!
Others are simply gimmicks that appeal to people that are
looking for an "easier" way to get results that normally come
from hard work. Sorry, but I personally don't see how you
can think that something is very effective, if it doesn't "feel"
effective. I've said it before, they don't call it WORKing
out for nothing!
Don't get me wrong, some of the
things are definitely functional, but when they start jacking up
the price for no reason, it really annoys me! Let's look
at some of the items out there in today's market. It seems
like most of the stuff I'm going to gripe about fall in the
category of abdominal equipment. These companies aren't stupid, they
know that everyone wants to work on their midsection.
The first couple gadgets have
been reinvented so many times, I wonder what they'll come up
with next. I've seen the
Ab Dolly ($30), the
Ab Slide Roller $20, and a few
others that basically copy the same independent motion as the
old "Wheel of Pain" or
Ab Wheel <$10 that has been
around for as long as I can remember. Although it's tough
to beat under $10 for this gadget, try grabbing your kids
skateboard or another sturdy wheeled toy to accomplish the same
Ab "Lounger"? Are you
kidding me? Never mind that fact that they are trying to
make people think that they can kick back and relax while
working their abs, they have the nerve to put this high tech
contraption together for roughly $170 when you can work the same
muscles doing a
full crunch on the floor ($0).
($60) was another one that was popular for a while, and I
actually know a few people that have purchased it. Once
again, you can get the same results doing more floor work.
Try a standard crunch or even a
curl-up and save your hard
The next piece of equipment I
actually REALLY like and there are countless exercises that you
can do with it. Although suspension training has been
around for years, it has recently been getting renewed interest.
When interest increases, so does marketing! The
is a perfect example of that. They seem to be promoting
this everywhere you look. It really is a good set up...
but not for $150!
Blast Straps ($60) were a
little know secret before that (probably due to lack of
marketing). Let's face it, these are basically straps that
hang independently to challenge your stability. I bought a
pair of cargo lashing straps ($8) at Home Depot, made a few
handles out of PVC pipe and use my
$15 contraption (with eye hooks
and clips) on a regular basis!
I can go on and on with a lot of
these things, but you don't want to read any more ranting.
The bottom line is that you should take a good look at what you
are planning to purchase before emptying your wallet.
There are some good, quality, pieces of equipment out there, as
well as over-priced junk. Be smart, make your decisions
carefully, and remember... no matter how much money you dish
out, your training effect will only come from the hard work that
you put in!
Too Much Pressure
High blood pressure is a topic that
is near and dear to my heart. In fact, when I was about 35
pounds heavier and very much the couch potato, being diagnosed
with hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (high
cholesterol) after having a few chest pains is what I consider
my "wake-up call" to be.
can remember my blood pressure being so high at my check-up that
the doctor wouldn't let me leave the office. I was
prescribed 20mg of blood pressure medication in addition to
cholesterol medication, but I was told that it wasn't
necessarily a permanent thing. I started working out again
the next day. Over the next year I went from 20mg to 10mg
and eventually got myself off the medications all together.
Diet and exercise can accomplish great things and they are under
pressure usually reveals no symptoms and can impact people
of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone needs blood pressure to live,
but high blood pressure can put you at risk of stroke, heart attack, heart
failure, kidney failure, and blindness. Taking the necessary steps
to control your blood pressure can be a life-saving decision.
What is blood pressure?
A blood pressure reading measures the force of blood as it presses against
the walls of your arteries. It's made up of two numbers that measure
your heart pumping and resting. Systolic blood pressure, the
top number, measures the force while your heart pumps. Diastolic
blood pressure, the bottom number, measures the force between pumps.
||Normal blood pressure. Have blood pressure checked again in 2
|120 - 139
||80 - 89
||Pre-high blood pressure. Have blood pressure checked again
within a month.
|Greater than 140
||Greater than 90
||High Blood Pressure. Go to you physician for further treatment.
Have blood pressure checked at least three times in the next
Why is high blood pressure dangerous?
When blood pressure is too high, blood can not flow freely through your
arteries and your heart has to pump harder than it should. While your
diastolic number stays about the same all the time, your systolic number
changes frequently as your body responds to daily activities and stress.
Problems occur if your numbers remain elevated for an extended period of
time. These high numbers may lead to several serious health problems
such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, and blindness.
What can I do to reduce my risk?
- Exercise regularly to avoid a sedentary
- Watch your weight to avoid obesity.
- Limit sodium to less than 3000 mg per day.
- Limit total fat to less than 30% of
- Stop smoking.
- Keep stress under control.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Avoid extra caffeine.
- Take medication prescribed by your doctor.
I like hitting the weights as
much as the next guy, but I decided years ago when I had my
blood pressure scare that I would not ignore the need for
cardiovascular exercise no matter how much I wanted to focus on
muscle-work. Cardio exercise needs to have it's place in
your workout routine and finding the time to work it in needs to
be a priority. Plan for the future and take care of your
Resources on the Net:
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
I'm a big fan of the "burpee" or "squat
thrust". I think that it is a great overall
body exercise that also provides an excellent cardio workout
(as many of my wrestlers will attest to). This variation
of the classic burpee incorporates a
plyometric hop in between to
further challenge your agility and increase explosive leg
power. You can adjust the barrier size that you jump
over depending on your abilities. You can also add a
push-up or two to your burpee to make them more challenging.
This is an awesome exercise to add to your "park workout"
while using a low bench, log, or rock to jump over!
(incidently, I made the agility hurdle that I used in the
picture out of PVC pipe from Home Depot.)
legs, arms, shoulders, chest, abs (quadriceps, triceps,
deltoids, pectoralis major, rectus abdominus)
9 or so
Starting position standing to the side of your desired barrier
(start small and work your way up), squat down placing your
hands on the ground, jump your legs back to the push-up
position, (add push-up here if desired), jump your legs back
to the squatted position, explosively jump up and over your
barrier, repeat the burpee on the other side, explosively jump
back to the starting position.
The Pros and
Cons of Caffeine
In North America, 90% of adults
consume caffeine daily. Caffeine is present in such foods
as chocolate, some soft drinks, and of course, coffee and tea. Caffeine is a stimulant and before
drug testing of athletes became routine at major competitions,
stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine, and strychnine
were among the most commonly used doping agents.
The precise amount of caffeine
necessary to produce effects varies from person to person
depending on body size and degree of tolerance to caffeine.
It takes less than an hour for caffeine to begin affecting the
body and a mild dose wears off in three to four hours.
The effects of stimulants like
caffeine include; reduced fatigue, increased alertness,
increased confidence and even euphoria. With these
effects, caffeine is an ergogenic: increasing the capacity for
mental or physical labor.
Caffeine specifically benefits
prolonged endurance performance. The ergogenic potential
of caffeine has been the subject of many studies and extensive
reviews. A study conducted in 1979 showed a 7% increase in
distance cycled over a period of two hours in subjects who
consumed caffeine compared to control tests. Other studies
attained much more dramatic results; one particular study of
trained runners showed a 44% increase in "race-pace" endurance,
as well as a 51% increase in cycling endurance, after a dosage
of 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. Another
study found 5.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body mass
resulted in subjects cycling 29% longer during high intensity
circuits. Another primary benefit of caffeine is a
glycogen-sparing effect through increased availability of fatty
acids, although the glycogen sparing effect does not occur in
A typical cup of freshly brewed
coffee contains approximately 120 mg of caffeine. More
than three cups of coffee drunk shortly before competition would
be required to exceed the urinary caffeine limits permitted by
the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Doses below
this range can produce markedly improved endurance times for
highly trained athletes. Although drug testing has
substantially curbed the use of stimulants in sports (cheating),
caffeine remains in a "gray area" where the stimulants are
available in over-the-counter medications as well as in food
There are also risks to performance
and health. The principal drawback to caffeine
use is a potential diuretic effect, which would be expected to
occur most prominently in non-habitual users, theoretically
producing a range of effects from inconvenience to
performance-threatening dehydration. Nervousness and
irritability may also result from caffeine ingestion. In
addition, those with high blood pressure are recommended to
limit or reduce their caffeine intake.
Consumption of caffeine does not
eliminate the need for sleep: it only temporarily reduces the
sensation of being tired. By delaying fatigue and
producing euphoric effects, stimulants carry the risk that an
athlete will be pushed beyond safe physiological limits and
could suffer serious consequences. They are also more
likely to "keep going" and ignore injuries. An additional
risk of stimulants is the development of drug dependence.
Another downside of caffeine for
some people is when they stop taking it. Some people have
a different level of sensitivity to the effects of caffeine.
Although I've never been a coffee drinker, I used to drink a lot
of diet soda. I was good for at least a 20oz in the
morning at work everyday. I also was the victim of
headaches several times per week. After realizing that I
was suffering from caffeine withdrawal, I have tried to cut out
my caffeine consumption whenever possible and the headaches have
magically disappeared. Although the caffeine does make you
feel better... it is an addiction that I have chosen to live
Back to school! There
are mixed emotions associated with those 3 words. For
the students it means the summer is over and it's back to
the books. However, depending on the student, it could
also mean back to athletics and the thrill of competition.
Parents often breath a sigh of relief since back to school
often means back to some structure and routine. Either
way, if you are a student, or a parent of a student, this
typically means a time for change. The question is,
how will you handle the change?
With change you have a choice
to make. Will this change have a positive or negative
effect on my lifestyle? Will I use this change as an
excuse to postpone my workouts, or will I adapt and find
ways to prioritize and make it work? In some cases
this change could provide more opportunity for you.
The decision is yours and the opportunity is what you make
of it... but first you have to make the choice!
Reminder: The 2008
MS150 Bike to the Bay is 9/27 and 9/28.
If you are
interested in participating in the ride this year, you can
email me at
click here to join Team Bank of America.
are great too... you can make a
charitable donation for the
Multiple Sclerosis Society by
sponsoring me for the ride
and help us to reach our goal that much quicker! Thanks
for your support!
For prior issues of this
newsletter go to
"We Wanted It More" - NY Giants
youtube video of the month -->
Very cool and entertaining video by the Nissan Outdoor