For my next few articles I am using guest bloggers. Some will be from the health field and others from different types of fields. I hope to allow a few others
to write about their particular expertise. If anyone has interest in writing for Jerseystrong please contact me with suggestions.
My first guest blogger is Melanie Bowen. Melanie Joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. You will often find her highlighting the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. Melanie also assists in social media outreach in her efforts to spread awareness. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.
You Can Still Be Physically Active With Cancer!
Did you know that there is evidence that exercise can have a positive impact on recovery and survival? It does! People with mesothelioma, breast cancer and other types of cancer have reported more energy, a better quality of life, and a better sense of self-worth. People who exercise are more likely to survive longer and heal faster from surgery. If you want to know more about how exercise can help you, here are some tips!
1. Cancer Patients Who Exercise Have Better Outcomes
Sedentary peers simply do not have the same outcomes that people who exercise regularly do. Cancer patients who exercise at least once per week have a better chance to recover than those who don’t exercise at all. When women are using chemotherapy, they can prevent weight gain that is typically associated with the treatment. Obesity contributes to diabetes and heart disease, which can both lead to complications and make it more difficult to recover from cancer.
People who engage in weight-bearing exercise will increase bone density and lose six percent less than people who don’t. This will reduce the likelihood that you will break a bone if you fall from fainting, for example. Cancer patients should ensure that all aspects of their health are at their best to accelerate healing rates.
2. Aerobic Exercise Alleviates Symptoms
Patients undergoing radiation therapy may typically experience anemia, depression, and fatigue. Anemia is a condition that is difficult to balance, too much exercise can cause a patient to pass out and too little exercise can reduce the number of red blood cells produced. Studies by the American Cancer Society concluded that a single exercise session could help patients maintain red blood cell levels.
Participate in exercises like walking, water aerobics, step aerobics, jogging, and swimming to help the body to heal. Keep in mind that weights and stretching are also useful in recovery from cancer. Weight-bearing exercises can rebuild any muscle strength that is lost after surgery. Stretching can help to improve flexibility and range of motion, both important factors in cancer recovery as well.
Incorporate Physical Fitness Into Your Recovery
Don’t forget to incorporate physical fitness into your recovery program. This will help you recover faster from cancer and treatments. Most people find it difficult to exercise initially, but they do have more success as their exercise program progresses. Talk to your doctor today to develop the right plan and get moving!
Normally I don’t talk politics on this blog but yesterday’s tragedy happened at a sporting event and a sporting event which I have grown to love. I doubt that the terrorists choose this event because of the fact that it is a marathon and more likely just a large crowd and a target rich environment. I do think that there something very American about a marathon. The symbolism is there for everyone to see. All you need is your own body and you own hard work and you too can run one. The are no elites performing by themselves while everyone else watches. People like me get to run on the same course and have the same feeling as the best runners in the world. I played baseball in college and never once did I get to pitch to a guy Ike Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera. In the Marathon field you can compete with the best in the world on an even playing field. In America this is the dream right? If you work hard and put in your best effort you too can compete with anyone no matter their background or upbringing.
Maybe the terrorists didn’t care that it was a marathon but I do. In my experience Runners are usually the nicest and most caring people in almost any recreational sport. It is a sport that is individualistic in nature but also community based. Runners tend to run together and share experiences through social media and blogs like this one. I have never met a runner who wasn’t willing to share a tip or a new training method or a new pair of sneakers that they love with another runner. The Charity money that comes out of these races alone should give you and idea of hat kind of people runners usually are.
From this will come good as it always does. The next few major races will be a little scary but I am sure as runners always do they will band together to show that they are not afraid and they will raise more money than ever for the victims of this tragedy. We as runners from the elite to the recreational will do what we always do when we need some time to think. Go for a nice long run and finish feeling better than ever and ready to take on the world one step at a time.
In honor of all of the victims at the Boston Marathon.
I am now 6 weeks into CrossFit. I decided to take measurements before I started which would help me determine just how effective CrossFit was for body composition and overall fitness. While I knew that CrossFit felt different than what I was previously doing I didn’t quite know how much change would occur in just 6 weeks.
CrossFit preaches a Paleo diet which is the eat like a Caveman approach. All organic meats and fresh veggies and fruits only. No processed foods, no carbs, no sugars, no beans, and no dairy. I didn’t quite adopt the Paleo diet completely but I am slowly trying to get there as much as possible. What I have done is increase my protein intake dramatically. I was always focused on just the number of calories that I eat and trying to keep that number to help me maintain my weight. I wasn’t necessarily focused on what foods I was putting into my body. This diet helped me lose 90 pounds and it also helped me maintain that weight loss for 7 years. However, in the last 6 weeks I have been attempting to get a good 40,30,30 split. 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fat. My goal now is to get 200 grams of protein a day and also particularly after a CrossFit workout to have a a protein shake with 40 grams immediately after. I stopped eating cheese, yogurt, and bread which were staples of my diet for a while. I still use Saturday and Sunday Dinners as cheat meals. I allowed myself to to eat whatever I wanted on these days. I used to eat a lot of fast food which was light on calories. I often ate dunkin donuts flat bread egg whites and things like that. Now, I am basically eating salads, chicken, eggs, vegetables, and a lot of Think Thin protein bars which I love. I also eat edamame and dried peas and lots of fruit.
My workouts these days are CrossFit twice a week, one other day a week at regular weight room which is mostly abs and core and 2 runs a week consisting of 3-6 mile runs. In about another month my runs will becomes more frequent and also more intense as the weather gets better. I am running the NYC Marathon this year so I decided to only do CrossFit twice a week so that I have enough time to train for that.
So just 6 weeks into CrossFit at only twice a week:
My weight went from 188-192. I gained 4 pounds. If I was just using a scale as my measuring tool I would not be happy. But let’s look at my other measurements.
My neck went from 15 to 15.25
My waist went from 37 to 35.5
My Hips went from 40 to 39.5
My Body Fat percentage went from 22-20%
My Chest went from 44 to 42.75
My Chest and Shoulders went from 52 to 52.5
And the most amazing number is my thighs went from 18 to 22.5.
I gained 4.5 inches in my legs in 6 weeks. Wow! I knew Crossfit was very leg heavy and I could feel my legs becoming stronger but to gain 4.5 inches was crazy. If you look at all of my numbers everything went down but my shoulders and my legs went up. This is reason number one that you can’t just use a scale as your measurement tool. I can’t wait to see how these numbers continue to change as I get more and more into my CrossFit workouts and also as I start to run more in preparation of the Marathon. The latest research shows that CrossFit increases Vo2 max which will help my oxygen uptake and I think if I take care of my body and recover properly I expect great things from my marathon times. So far CrossFit is a success and I am very happy with it.
1. I am going to be really sore for a while
2. Overall they do a nice job teaching the movements.
I joined CrossFit to see what all the hubbub was about. I have always wanted to give it a shot because I did admire the shear intensity of the workouts that I saw posted on their website. www.CrossFit.com. I have also seen the CrossFit games on TV. Everyone I see who does CrossFit seems to be in incredible shape and something has to be said for that. In the end I was curious and just needed a change of pace. I like to be challenged physically and this seemed like the place to do that.
When you sign up for CrossFit they require a two week and 4 classes intro class. I attended the past two Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Each class follows a simple format. Explanation of the workout of the day. They use a white board to explain what the day’s plan is and how it is going to be done. They might mention a few keys to look for or a tip of the day regarding nutrition. Then a warmup which might be a dynamic warmup or a mobility drill but most likely a little of both. Then the W.O.D. which is the Workout of the day. The actual workout is usually short but quick and high intensity. Their mantra is Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. They openly tell you that if you do CrossFit you will be good at everything but great at nothing. It is a well rounded fitness program. You will develop some speed, some strength, some endurance, and some power. There is nothing that you will not be able to do. Climb a mountain? o.k! Run a 5k? no problem! Hop a fence? easy! Kill Zombies? Any day!
The four workouts that I did lasted no more than 10 minutes each. They said that 85% of the workouts are between 5-15 minutes but some go as long as 40 minutes. When the workout is done there is a cool down and a recap. You always write your score or time on the white board when you are finished. It feels like a community but there is also competition which I like. It is so different from my old gym where I would put my headphones and and do my own thing. Here it is like everyone is suffering / achieving together.
My workout of the days were as follows:
Day 1: Kattleball swings and box jumps timed. You had to complete 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 of one alternating with 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 of the other. I completed the workout in 5:16 seconds and I was more winded and more sore than I had been at my own gym in months.
Day 2: Thrusters and jumping pull-ups. A thruster is a front squat into and overhead press while a jumping pull-up is off of a box and jumping up to the bar and fully extended the arms each time you come down. The workout was to do 5 rounds of 10 Thrusters and 10 pull-ups.
Day 3: Deadlifts for 5 reps. 10 Burpees and 250m Rowing. As Many Rounds as Possible in 10 minutes.
Day 4: OverHead squats for 10. Pushups for 5 and full range sit-ups for 15. AMRAP in 12 minutes.
The coaches are there the whole time coaching technique and stopping you to correct and teach if needed. The technique and the range of motion took priority over the workout. All workouts could also be modified or scaled as they called it to fit your needs. If you couldn’t do a full pushup you would drop to your knees or add a pad under your chest to decrease range of motion while still working on technique.
The 4 days were very logical and sequential. They went with a top down approach which I would always recommend. They started with Overhead squats which led to Front squats, High Pulls, Jerk snatches, Hang Cleans, and eventually Deadlifts. Every movement was taught with an excellent sense of functional anatomy and how the body was designed to move.
If you were teaching these movements to High School kids or really anyone you could no doubt spend more than 4 days drilling them. Some people spend years trying to perfect their technique. But you have to remember that everyone comes in at different skill levels plus the fact that people joined a gym because they want to work out so you can’t keep them out of the regular classes forever. I commend them for making everyone attend the 4 intro classes before entering the regular gym atmosphere. From all the negative things that I heard about CrossFit I have to say that my experience at Guerilla CrossFit in Morristown, NJ has been overall positive so far.
There are a few negative but not from a standpoint of coaching or knowledge or anything like that. Just the programming risks. I still feel that plyometrics and olympic lifts are not meant to be endurance lifts. They are meant to develop power which is a combination of strength and speed. When you make these lifts endurance based people can easily lose their technique due to fatigue or just the pounding on the body can result in injuries even if technique is sound. If the coaches are willing to stop and correct during the actual workouts like they were for the intro workouts than I think this problem can be negotiated to an extent. The one thing I am not sure of is how many coaches are on the floor during a typical session. In the intro classes we had a 5 to 1 ratio. If it is a 20 to 1 ratio then that might be risky.
Bottom line is if you are an athlete who needs a programmed sport specific workout for your sport then I would NOT recommend CrossFit. There are just too many programming flaws and too much variety to really develop sport specific power. There are risks involved in all activities and if you think of CrossFit like a sport then you realize that no matter what you do there are risks involved. If a football player gets fatigued in the 4th quarter and lowers his head then he runs the risk of having another player hitting him in the back of the head and possible breaking his neck. CrossFit is the sport of fitness so If you want to get into great shape and really challenge yourself in all aspects of fitness then I WOULD recommend CrossFit for you. I know I am going to have a blast with CrossFit and I can’t wait to experience the community of CrossFit and really suffer / achieve together.
CrossFit has received a lot of attention from the public as a whole. Their marketing campaign is the sport of fitness has arrived. For a few years now I have been intrigued by CrossFit. I have seen the nationals on TV and the Reebok commercials. I have also spent time googling Crossfit people and looking at their bodies and trying to determine if it is the workout itself, the diet, the A Type personalities, or a combination of all of the above. I mean who would not want to look like this?
Then I wondered if these types of people were just athletes who no longer had a sport. Maybe former gymnasts or other college or even pro athletes who just loved fitness. After that I realized that was me. I am a former athlete who has run Marathons and tried different things mostly because I no longer had an outlet for my competitive side. On top of that fitness and working out is my only real hobby. It’s what I love to do on the weekends. Go for a run or hit the gym for a pick up game of basketball. I have done yoga, swam laps in the pool, played flag football, taken different cardio classes such as spinning but eventually most of them bored me. I even did Muay Thai for two years. I don’t run marathons because I think I will lose body fat. I have written extensively on this blog about how slow long distance running does not mean less body fat,. I run marathons because I like the competition. I compete with myself for my personal best and I love the journey of training for a race. I love following a plan over the course of 16 weeks and seeing it come to fruition at the end. So why can’t I do the same things with CrossFit? I lift weights. I lift weights a lot. I have missed an entire week at the gym once in the last 12 years and that was because I hurt my knee. But as you get older “how much do you bench?” becomes less and less important. Combine that with the fact that I can’t bench nearly what I used to when I was 290 pounds I was benching around 325. Now I weight 190 and I bench around 245 for a max. Pound for pound it is very similar but when I lost 100 pounds 8 years ago I decided that being strong has never really done anything for me. I want to be able to move, to be powerful, to be coordinated, and to be able to react to any situation. I tell people if Zombie apocalypse happens would you rather be able to run or bench press twice your body weight. I think CrossFit might be the type of well rounded workout that provides all of those qualities.
I tried doing the Workout of the days on my own but at a commercial gym it just isn’t possible. Number one when no one is looking it is just too hard to push yourself. In a class setting here you have others suffering with you and pushing you through it creates a bond similar to being on a football team or in the military. I wanted that feeling of we are in this together. The other things is at a commercial gym if you were to work out with the intensity of a Crossfitter you would look like a complete nut. I am starting to get bored with my usual routine of Chest / Tri’s Back Bi’s, Shoulders and Legs, and Abs and cardio on the weekend. Lifting slowly with too much rest in between might make you look bigger but is that what I really want. Cartoon muscles that can’t perform with power and precision in a coordinated manner? Do I want to be fat, slow and strong or do I want to be lean. quick, and powerful like a cheetah.
As a strength coach and a CSCS I also know there is a lot of haters on the Crossfit movement and I have also been one of them at times. Olympic lifts are meant to increase power and not endurance. No-one should clean for 1 minute straight because their form might slip and create problems. Plyometrics are about quality and not quantity. To amplify the stretch shortening cycle you should focus on a quick spring like effect and not on the number you can do in a given time. The stretch shortening But if you are an NFL Lineman your body has to adjust on the fly for a bullrush or a speed rush. Our bodies ate adaptable and that is our greatest gift that we can achieve and overcomes physical, mental, or social obstacles. Maybe we can have it all. I think my knowledge of the olympic lifts will only help me on the CrossFit journey because I can recognize problems in the kinetic chain and correct them quickly.
I don’t know if I am going to like CrossFit or not but I am attending a free class this weekend at Guerilla Gym in Morristown, NJ. I am interested to see how much instruction there actually is on some of these lifts. Of Course I am not going to tell them I am a cscs because I want to see what I can pick up from them in my pursuit of knowledge. I can say that as a strength coach I would not recommend CrossFit for any athlete who wants to train for their sport. There are just too many risks and there is no single energy system that CrossFit trains you in. But as a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast my curiosity got the best of me and I am going into this with an open mind. When I started this blog I said let me be your guinea pig so here it goes. Maybe I will love it and it will be a new passion for me similar to running. Now I just have to work on those stupid kipping pull-ups that I can’t seem to get. Stay Tuned for more details on my CrossFit experience.
These are the articles that received the most views in 2012. I always love getting feedback and seeing the number of views for my articles so keep it coming in 2013. This year I had people from all over the country contact me about my articles. I am always humbled and honored that people take the time to search me out for advice about health and fitness. JerseyStrong was viewed in 60 countries worldwide. In the month of December my articles for Stack Media made me one of the top 10 most viewed on the platform. I sincerely hope everyone has a HEALTHY and happy new year!
Of course there are other articles that were not the most viewed out there in cyber land but I think you should still check them out.
I was also featured in Men’s Health Magazine this past year so this article was probably the most viewed overall because it reached millions of people worldwide via Men’s Health Magazine. I included the link in my blog post. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out.
Gain 4 Pounds of Muscle in 10 Days | STACK. Hey everybody. I am up for an award at Stack Media which is an online magazine for High School and College athletes for which I sometimes write articles for them. So far this month I am one of the top ten writers in terms of views. Here is my latest article on Building muscle. Please click on it and forward it to friends. You can also Tweet it. My Twitter name is JoeLopez55. Thanks so much! Here is the article I wrote a few weeks ago and for the rest of the month I will be writing a few more. Please click on the above link and share with your friends.
For those of you who read my previous blog entry. Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fitness enthusiast. (Tested and Approved) You know that I recommended this sweatshirt as one of my 12 best gifts for the Holiday season. This sweatshirt by Under Armour is the most comfortable sweatshirt I have ever worn. The charged cotton material makes you feel like you are wrapped in a blanket and the Storm technology keeps you dry. I can wear with a pair of jeans and sneakers on a cold day or while I am on a run. At first I thought I wouldn’t like having a zip up hoody because it feels more like a jacket than a sweat shirt but the elongated look made me look slimmer than the cut off look of a pullover. The bottom of the sweatshirt has a cuffed ribbing that you can wear flat instead of having to fold under like a normal pullover sweatshirt. This even allows you to wear a jacket over the hoody which many hoodies are too bulky to try. The hood liner is super comfortable and sports a waffled look that is comfortable to wear. It has front hand pockets that are lined. This sweatshirt is even great for wearing while going on a run in the winter months. It kept me dry while the snow was falling and I had no problems staying warm.The material is designed to deflect moisture. This is a do all sweatshirt with style. Under Armour has a whole line of hoodies just in time for the winter months. Bottom line, the Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Full Zip Hoody is a must have this winter.
The Nike plus sport watch is part of the Nike plus series of products including the sportband, the fuelband, and the new kinect training. It is clear that Nike wants to become your own personal trainer. I have had the Nike plus watch for some time and I can’t say enough good things about it. It tracks all of your runs and allows you to customize your workouts on your own Nike plus website with graphs and charts. For a further review of the watch check out my article at Stack.com. http://www.stack.com/2012/10/08/training-with-the-nike-running-watch/
Subscription of Men’s Health Magazine. One year. $19.90
In my house when I get a new idea for anything whether it’s a recipe I want to make, a gift I want someone to buy for me, or a new look the joke is “you saw this in Men’s Health didn’t you?” Every month when I receive that magazine I sit down and usually read it cover to cover. No where else can you get more information of health, fitness, style, and just how to be a man in the 21st century. You can even find quality articles such as this one. http://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/belly-joe-lopez With articles like that how can you afford not to get a year’s subscription?
Brooks Glycerine running shoes. $140.00
Brooks is my go to brand for running sneakers. I think running sneakers are so important to the amateur runner. Much more so than what hat or shirt they might be wearing. Without properly fitting sneakers a runner is likely to get injured which can derail running altogether. My theory is that larger companies like Nike have so many different brands and products that they do so well. They deal in basketball, baseball, football, and a million other things. Brooks just does running. So when it comes to sneakers I choose Brooks. The Glycerines are their top of the line sneaker with plenty of cushion for a heavier runner. They are for runners with a neutral arch and they just look good.
Under Armour Charged Cotton Storm Full Zip Hoody. $74.99
This is hands down the most comfortable sweatshirt I have ever owned. I can wear with a pair of jeans and sneakers on a cold day or while I am on a run. At first I thought I wouldn’t like having a zip up hoody because it feels more like a jacket than a sweat shirt but the elongated look made me look slimmer than a cut off look of a pullover. The bottom of the sweatshirt has a cuffed ribbing that you can wear flat instead of having to fold under like a normal pullover sweatshirt. The hood liner is super comfortable and sports a waffled look that is comfortable to wear. This sweatshirt is even great for wearing while going on a run in the winter months. It kept me dry even while the snow was falling and I had no problems staying warm. This is a do all sweatshirt with style.
Race entry into a favorite race. $90.00
Races are fun for the whole family. Plan a trip around a race. Visit a new city that you have never been to. There is no better way to see a city than to for for a run. After the race you can celebrate by going to a nice dinner and partaking in the post race party. My favorite is the Baltimore Running Festival sponsored by Under Armour. They have a wheelchair race, kids fun run, 5K, half marathon, and a full marathon. Best of all the gear is second to none. When Under Armor sponsors s a race you are getting top of the line race T-Shirts.
HB Tune IPhone carrier. $24.99
Sometimes I run listening to music and sometimes I don’t. When I was getting ready for the NYC Marathon I was starting to plan for all the logistics of how I was going to find my wife after the race in a sea of thousands of people. I wanted to have my IPhone on me while I was running but I have never really found an armband that worked quite right. They are great for wearing at the gym but if you plan on running 10 or more miles they always twist and slip. I didn’t want to have to worry about it on marathon day. Then I found the HB Tune IPhone carrier. How simple. A phone carrier that straps to the palm of your hand. You hardly even know it’s there. On top of it you can still use the touchscreen feature through the plastic. You should always have a phone on you during a run for emergencies and now you can.
Nike Men’s LW Wool Skully. $22.00
When running in the winter you need a hat to keep the heat from escaping. Most snow hats or skulls have that loose bottom where you just fold it over. The Nike LW Wool skull has the tight fitting bottom that goes over your ears. Combine that with the wool material and it’s a perfect hat to wear during a winter run or just when outside putting up Christmas lights.
Under Armour Coldblack T shirt. $34.99
Brooks PureFlow running sneakers. $89.95
The Pure series by Brooks is their attempt to create a more minimalist running sneaker without going completely minimalist like the vibrams or other similar products on the market. Many runners have tried vibrams and end up getting hurt. These are a good compromise. They have a light feel almost as if you are running barefoot. The sneaker has a very low profile and a stylish design. I have gotten more compliments on these sneakers than any other I have worn as far as their looks. If you are a heavier runner like myself then you might not want to overdo it with these but instead use them as an alternative for speed workouts and shorter runs.
Nike Fuelband. $149.99
The Nike Fuelband is basically a suped up pedometer with modern day technology. It tracks your movement throughout the day and allows you to log in and create goals and really see how much exercise you get. It is stylish enough where you can wear it every day and it doesn’t look out of place. With a cool light up feature it can act as a watch, a calorie counter, a pedometer, a step counter, and something they call Nike Fuel. Nike fuel is a measure of movement that is equal from person to person unlike calories burned. I aim for 5,500 Nike Fuel a day. Because of Nike large resources you can also see how you stack up to Nike sponsored athletes. In the past year I have Twitter trasj talked to Serena Williams and Manny Pacquiao because I earned more fuel than them. I am sure both of them could beat me up especially Serena but it’s fun anyway. You can also download your results on your smart phone and look at trends.
The Grid Foam Roller. $40.00
When you workout you get tight. Any soft tissue tightness can lead to dysfunction which can lead to injury. The Grid foam roller has these little grid like features which let you customize your massage / foam rolling experience. As a runner I often use this one on my calves and Hips. I love it because I can really feel where my tight spots are and work them out. Remember to go slow and breathe. If an area hurts you can adjust the pressure but don’t skip it. It hurts for a reason.
Personal training sessions. Packages range from $40-$80 per session.
Personal training sessions might just be the kickstart you need to a new life. Whether you hate going to the gym or you are just looking for some new ideas contact me and we can set something up. I have packages for all levels and price ranges. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist which means I can program workouts for all athletes. My specialities are Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Endurance races, and Weight Loss. I lost 100 pounds and have kept it off for 7 years. I was featured in Men’s Health Magazine.
To find out how I can help you or your loved ones:
Call. (973) 713 4481.
Follow me on Twitter. https://twitter.com/JoeLopez55
Like my Facebook page. www.Facebook.com/JerseystrongPersonalTraining