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How Do You Know If You Are Making Progress At The Gym?

How Do You Know If You Are Making Progress At The Gym?

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This is a question that I do receive a lot. 

Making progress in the gym is what we all want.

Some like to build muscle; some like to lose fat; some want to lift more weight….

Some want it all!

But how do we know if we are moving forward in our routine and not backward? 

The most significant sign that you are making progress in the gym:

You will start seeing incremental changes, not in your physique initially, but in the amount of “volume” that you can move. Volume= sets x reps x weight… we can also add in rest time as to this as well.

Over the weeks of consistent training, you will likely not realize that things will start to become more comfortable. Still, you absolutely will be lifting more of one of the above “volume” metrics. Being able to see your incremental changes is why it is so essential to log your routine, including rest meticulously. By doing this, you will be able to see gradual improvements.

In addition to volume increases, here is an example of what I like to call “weather vs. climate.”

Climate is the overall trend of patterns on average from year to year.

Weather happens daily (will it rain or will it be cold today).

The weather is not very accurate, but climate is very accurate.

Where I am going with this: You need to log your day-to-day over some time to know if you are improving on average. Your day-to-day may go up or down from Monday to Wednesday in the same week, but your 3-month volume trend WILL increase from day 1 to day 120 with regular exercise.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

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Poor Posture and Its Effects On Your Life

Poor Posture and Its Effects On Your Life

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Posture is so much more important than sitting wrong or right. Posture has real effects on your entire body.  

 

Poor posture can potentially affect your:

 

Age- If your shoulders are forward

Range of motion- With a forward head and rounded shoulders, your ability to raise your arm above your head becomes significantly altered

Jaw pain- A forward head will protrude your lower jaw, which can cause clicking, popping, and pain.

Low back pain- We will go into this more in-depth, but a static positioning is very strenuous on your entire body, including your low back.

Nerve pain- A forward head can impinge on nerves of your neck and arm, which can manifest in carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues. 

Lung function- If your resting position is hunched forward, your lungs cannot expand. 

Nobody wants these issues, but let’s not forget. There is no such thing as good or bad posture because posture is more than right or wrong, but posture is you, posture is me, posture is unique to each and every person.

 

Good posture is not only pleasing to the eye, but good posture can also affect your mood, weight, and daily life. Poor posture has been found to lead to HEADACHES, CARPAL TUNNEL, STIFFNESS, FATIGUE, and more! 

A good position ensures that you are protected from injury so that you can live pain-free.

What does good posture look like?

 

If your ears are over your shoulders and your shoulders are in line with your hips, knees, and ankles, then you are in proper postural alignment. 

 proper posture alignment

Proper posture enables your muscles to function in a way that can protect your back. For instance, if you are too far forward, your muscles of your abdominals are already in a shortened position. Click here to check out our blog on workplace habits for more information about posture and back pain!

Quick tips to improve your posture!

1. Keep your shoulder down and back 

– This better aligns your body, but more importantly, it activates your muscles! 

2. Stop slouching!

– We all know this! it is not good your you. Why? because it is a position where there are no muscles active, our muscles are made to be used!

3. Learn what positions are pain free for YOU!

– Some people might need to be more forward or backwards in their positioning. If it feels good, continue to do it!

4. Try to be a little bit better every single day!

– The journey of life is a marathon, not a sprint.

As you can see, posture is a very complicated process, so please schedule a free call with us to talk about how we can help you!

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Top Reliable Ways That Can Help Decrease Your Back Pain Right Now!

Top Reliable Ways That Can Help Decrease Your Back Pain Right Now!

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Your lower back is one of the most injured body parts in humans. It is also the second most common cause of disability in the United States. It was estimated that roughly 1/10 people suffer from chronic low back pain lasting for greater than 3 months, and about 80% of Americans will have back pain at some point in their lifetime.

 

 

YOU DO NOT TO BE A LIFTER OR MANUAL LABORER TO HAVE BACK PAIN!

 

As the graphic (above) indicates, there is considerable load placed into the low back with slouching standing positions, HOWEVER, the greatest load placed into the lower back comes from poor posture in SITTING.

The Quadratus Lumborum

A pain in the back

The above image is a picture looking at your back without the superficial muscles. Notice how big this muscle is?

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is a huge part of why your back can hurt. Let me explain.

In the presence of back pain, the QL can tighten which can give you the sensation of either specific or diffuse pain in your back. 

Sound familiar?

What to do about your back pain?

It has been shown numerous times that conservative management consisting of properly controlled exercise and other Physical Therapy interventions are equally as effective, or even more effective than surgery for treating back pain. Some of my favorite tips and trick for back pain are:

 

1. Try to get up and move every now and then before your back starts hurting.

2. Try to use this exercise on the side of your bed!

3. Ensure that you do not stop moving in the presence of back pain.

4. Really think about what caused your pain… Was it too much sitting? Too much Standing? Too much movement? Now try and do a little bit of the opposite of what caused your pain.

5. If you haven’t yet, please join our new Facebook Group for Free resources:

Auto-Ness Therapies Performance Group

Benefits of Physical Therapy 

  • Potentially avoiding a painful surgery that requires one to miss work or hobbies.
  • No complications from surgery.
  • YOU become educated precisely WHY your back is hurting.
  • Most Importantly, you get your life back.

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Workplace Health- Habits and Hygiene

Workplace Health- Habits and Hygiene

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 Healthy habits for your home or work office.

 

Your workstation is so important to your productivity, wellbeing, and peace of mind!

 

With a proper home or work office setup, you might feel that you are ready to take on the world!

With an improper setup, you are likely doomed from the start. 

But what is a proper workstation setup? How much does it cost to have an efficient workstation?

 

You could get an Eames Executive Chair By Herman Miller for about $4,000 that likely has all you would need for a great chair!

Next you can get a Solid Wood Elegante XT Electric Sit Stand Desk w/ Voice Control for the price of about $1,800.

 

So now that you have the chair and desk figured out, it is time for the computer monitor….

 

As hopefully you can see by now, it is possible to spend a cool $10,000 on office equipment without even thinking about it!

 

Ergonomics, or “the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment”, is a booming industry in todays culture.

Ergonomics is all around us in daily life. However, we as Physical Therapists have an in-depth understanding of how the human body moves, and common areas of fault within these movements. These areas of fault usually stem from a simple lack of knowledge of how to move. Our job is to assist the patient in moving better than they were moving before. Once this has been corrected, in my experience the patient rarely has the severity of issues they previously had. So instead of buying fancy equipment to hide our problems, lets address the problem head on!

Healthy habits for your home or work office, common Movement faults:

  1. Slumped sitting in your office
  2. Static positions are not healthy
  3. You can sit just as bad as you can stand at home or at work

 

 

 

Slumped sitting in your home or work office 

Have you ever thought about how much load your lower back experiences while sitting?

postitions of the body and back pain

As you can see, sitting is back, but sitting in a slumped position is even worse!

Static positions are not healthy

So after looking at the image above, does it now make sense that if you maintain a slumped sitting posture for hours a day, for years and years, why your back or neck hurt?

Believe it or not, but your body was not designed to stay in one position for 8 hours a day for 40 hours a week for years on end.

Remaining still is worse than moving incorrectly sometimes!

 

 You can sit just as bad as you can stand at home or at work

Believe it or not, and hear me out on this…

It is possible to sit just as bad as you stand.

Think about the next time that you go to the store…as you are waiting for your turn to check out. You will see what I am talking about….

 

 

grocery store standing

 

As you can see, these people’s standing postures are… undesirable. Over time they can lead to back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain!

 For more information about shoulder pain, please check out my blog Why Does My Shoulder Hurt?

 

What to do about all of this?

Hands down, my favorite solution is aptly named the “towel trick”…

What is that you ask?

You roll up a towel like so:

Then you put the towel just where your butt bones are

folded towel on butt bones

Next you sit down…..

See how my posture improves simply by sitting on the towel!

My posture has now improved and my muscles are working to keep me upright. No fancy or expensive chairs!

 

Give this a try for yourself!

 

I will be doing several live videos to let you know what can be done for our home office in the Auto-Ness Therapies Performance group.

 

Stay safe

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100 burpees a day for 50 days

100 burpees a day for 50 days

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Top 5 things that I learned from doing 100 burpees a day for 50 straight days.

 

 

  1. Burpees suck…… especially 5000 of them

They are likely the worst and least fun part of most people’s regime…

  • But just like with your math classes in grade school, you should probably be working hard in the area that you dislike the best.

 

  1. Making time is hard
  • As with most people, I have a lot of things going on (including planning a wedding). I, like everyone reading this HAVE NO TIME! I had to plan my day to the minute to get the burpees in on some days…
  • But guess what? I was able to through good planning!

 

  1. Consistency is everything
  • I had a tough time with this….
  • As with most things in our culture, we are great at going overboard on something for 3-4 days, and then no more until next year… not this time.
  • I made it a point to accomplish this

 

  1. This has made me a much better planner.
  • Have you ever planned to do something on a Saturday, and Sunday comes and you said to yourself “dang! I forgot that I was supposed to do that yesterday…”
  • This happens to me all of the time
  • I had to plan plan, plan, plan for this to be consistent

 

  1. This has rid me of almost every ache in my body.

Throughout my (almost) 30 years, I have been diagnosed with:

  • 2 herniated Lumbar Disc’s
  • 1 separated shoulder

But I have had:

  • 0 pain within 7 days of starting these burpees.

 

The challenge of started with 2 goals in mind:

  1. To teach myself discipline by completing 5,000 burpees.
  • I have done a lot of things involving exercise before but have never been this consistent with exercise.

This has been amazing and I feel great!

 

  1. To show everyone reading this article that exercise is not complicated, bad, or bad for you.
  • My joints didn’t erode
  • My body is not “torn apart”
  • This took me about 8 minutes max to perform.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This journey has taught me so much about myself and the thing that I love so much, the human body. I can now implement some of these things to make my life more efficient.

More importantly….

Hopefully this article will empower you to move more freely, take control of your health and have a good time doing new things with your body.

 

Thank you for being with me on this journey!

 

 

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For more queries and information, feel free to contact me.

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Sleep In and Win

Sleep In and Win

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Sleep In and Win

 

You need to sleep to recover.

 

An interesting study “The effects of sleep extension on athletic performance of collegiate basketball players”:

 

It was found1 that sleeping a minimum of 10 hours a night over 5 weeks, players had:

 

  1. Improved shooting performance
  2. Improved sprint times
  3. Decreased fatigue
  4. Enhanced overall physical and mental wellbeing

 

You need to understand that you must sleep to:

Recover after injury

    

In a small study in mice, it was found that sleep deprivation (72 hours without sleep) reduced the mice’s ability to recover damaged muscle.  It was also found that Sleep deprivation could, in fact, increase the adverse effects of high-intensity exercise.2

This means that your injuries could take longer to heal if you do not sleep.

 

Improve your immune system

 

 

 

It was found from 23 participants with partial sleep deprivation (waking up at 3 AM), there was a significant decrease in cells that play a significant role in your immune system in nearly 80% of the participants (these cells are Natural Killer Cells, for More information on these cells click here).

 

Decrease Your Waistline

 

In a study with nine subjects, one group with 3.5 hours of sleep for three nights in a row, and another with seven hours of sleep three nights in a row; it was found that3:

  • Fullness decreased, and hunger increased in the deprived sleep group.
  • The chemicals involved in the “fight or flight” response increased in the deprived sleep group.
  • It seems that our anxiety and hunger went up, and our fullness went down… We all know what that means!!!

 

 

Bottom line

Sleep is so essential for our wellbeing. This is only a small illustration of what effects sleep can have on our body and mind!

 

How much sleep do you need?

 

According to the sleepfoundation.org4 here is the current guideline for sleep:

 

Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)

Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)

Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)

Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)

School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)

Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)

Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)

Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours

Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

 

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know!

Further Reading:

Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials

If you are looking to get started in your fitness journey, then check out my blog “How do I start Exercising”. Click here 

 

 References

  1. Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. Sleep. 2011;34(7):943-950. doi:10.5665/SLEEP.1132
  2. Yang D-F, Shen Y-L, Wu C, et al. Sleep deprivation reduces the recovery of muscle injury induced by high-intensity exercise in a mouse model. Life Sciences. 2019;235:116835. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2019.116835
  3. Hibi M, Kubota C, Mizuno T, et al. Effect of shortened sleep on energy expenditure, core body temperature, and appetite: a human randomised crossover trial. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):1-11. doi:10.1038/srep39640
  4. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, et al. National Sleep Foundation’s updated sleep duration recommendations: final report. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2015;1(4):233-243. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2015.10.004

 

For more queries and information, feel free to contact me.

Disclaimer

The information presented in this document is for educational purposes only. Please do not take this information as medical advice. Please consult your Physical Therapist or Primary Care Professional prior to performing ANYTHING IN THIS DOCUMENT.

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