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#HealthyBody #StrongCore

#StrengthenYourCore

Do you have back or hip pain? Do you have problems with your neck or shoulders? Often these common ailments can be greatly improved if not eliminated by strengthening the core.

What muscles make up the core? Many more than you might think. The core includes not only the muscles in the abdomen, but also the thorax and every other muscle from your shoulders to your knees. It includes quadriceps and hamstring's since they attach to the pelvis.

Strengthening all the core muscles makes your whole body stronger. Every movement begins in the core.

As a professional, I always knew how important these muscles were, but I didn't realize experientially until I had major surgery last year. The core is involved in every movement ever so slight. Merely reaching forward from the sofa to lift a glass of water utilized abdominals in such a way that I had never experienced.

Here is a good starting exercise to strengthen the core. Planks.

Strengthening your core can be successful at improving overall body strength and stability. Of course it takes hard work, patience and consistency over time.

Care enough about yourself to do it!

#StrengthenYourCore

By: Sharon Powell
Female Fitness Trainer

Fitness Trainer Tip of the Day – Slow Reps for Greater Gains

One of the biggest mistakes I see in the gym is performing reps very fast on the lowering phase. For example, on the dumbbell biceps curl, from the top of the curl you allow the weights to fall to the beginning position; thereby allowing gravity to take over. Worse yet, swinging the dumbbells back down to use momentum and adding movement in your torso to assist with the lift. If you’re using momentum and body weight to do the lifting, how effective will this lift be at improving strength and muscle? When you’re walking downhill, your leg muscles have to contract to decelerate to prevent your body from gaining too much speed to prevent tumbling over. Similarly, when lowering a weight – go slow and controlled. Make those muscles work against gravity. This way the muscles are contracting in both directions. You will see greater gains in both muscle and strength.

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

Comfort Food and Stress Eating

When you are stressed, angry or depressed, what is your go-to coping activity? Is it food? Stress eating is a maladaptive behavior and is only a temporary fix. How can you stop? It is much more difficult than “just say no”. When you eat comfort food, usually comprised of processed carbs high in sugar and fat, your body has a biochemical response. Processed carbs, especially sugar, react on your brain’s reward pathway similar to alcohol and other drugs. To ultimately stop comfort eating, one must sever these reward pathways. This involves a complicated cascade of chemical reactions including but not limited to insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. To keep it simple, avoid processed carbs, especially sugar, until these pathways (synapses) in the brain are disconnected. This can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks. It is possible, however; to change your brain, so when triggered, you will no longer crave sugary, salty junk food. I speak from experience. At night to de-stress from the day, I used to snack on salty foods, usually chips. I replaced chips with fresh cut vegetables for about 30 to 60 days. After this period, I ate chips one night to see if they would still give me the same comfort. They no longer tasted good. In fact, they tasted like chemicals. I hate wasting money, but threw the bag of chips in the trash. Taste can change. So what do you do in the mean time while waiting for the synapses to disconnect?

Instead of trying to stop and merely abstain from eating when your upset, you need to replace it with another activity that is soothing and rewarding. At night, I stretch before bed or while watching Netflix. Stretching releases hormones that are calming. As a personal trainer, I love a good workout. For me, there’s nothing better than a hard workout when I’m angry. Exercises releases endorphins and other “feel good” hormones. Sometimes I’ll go hiking to center myself. Explore and find what works for you. There are many healthy coping strategies such as; painting, writing, working on cars or model airplanes. Any kind of hobby can work. Experiment and have fun.

Be consistent and you can change!

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

What Your Poop Says About Your Health

Your daily stool tells a lot about the internal health of your body. If you are chronically constipated or experience chronic diarrhea, this indicates poor digestive health. Poor digestive health can cascade into a multitude of health disorders and diseases. What is the perfect poop? Ideally, one should have one to three bowel movements per day. They should resemble type 3 or 4 on the chart below. If your stools are not of this type, you may need to examine your daily food intake. It could be the food and beverages you eat that are making you sick. To heal your gut and attain better health, I recommend the book, “Digestive Health with Real Food” by Aglaee Jacob. This book is a practical guide to understanding digestion and how to naturally improve your health just by the foods you eat. The author includes meal plans and recipes.

The Perfect Poop

What your poop says about your digestive health.

Great App to Help Awareness in the Present Moment

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Check out this app called, “Conscious”. Everyday a simple task is given such as, notice colors today, or look up at the trees and notice their movement, or feel the bottom of your feet today. Click on the link below:

Conscious

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

Fitness Trainer Tip of the Day – How To Correct Posture and Rounded Shoulders

If you are like most Americans, you probably have rounded shoulders and poor posture. This is the result of years at a desk job, working at a computer or any other task where you are leaning or reaching forward. Through overuse, the anterior muscles shorten and become tight; while the posterior muscles weaken. In time, our shoulders round forward, our head protrudes forward, and some people even develop a hump in the upper back. Many individuals also develop chronic neck, back and shoulder problems.

How can we correct this? Through training to achieve structural balance. Avoid exercises where your arms are out front, such as a bench press and chest press. Rather, focus on pulling and rowing exercises that work the posterior muscles. Some examples are: the seated row, lat pull, cable rows, and upright row. Also, strengthening the smaller rotator cuff muscles is very important; especially the infraspinatus and teres minor. These are the muscles that externally rotate the shoulder and are often neglected. Seek out a professional trainer to learn how to properly train these muscles. If done incorrectly, you can do more harm than good.

What else can help? Become aware how you sit at your computer and how you walk and carry yourself throughout the day. Make adjustments to your desk so that your spine remains in alignment while working. As you feel yourself begin to slouch, stand up straight, pull your shoulders back, chest out, and pull your head back so that your ears are in line with your shoulders.

Between proper strength training and awareness, you can correct poor posture. Be consistent.

Sharon Powell

Personal Trainer of Tucson

Personal Trainer Tip of the Day – Intensity Through Tempo

You don’t always need to use heavy weights to increase the difficulty of an exercise. For example, do a body weight squat at a very slow speed during both the descending and ascending phases. Go down in a five second count and come up in a five second count. Your quads will be burning by rep 8! When this gets easy, add a little weight but continue at the same tempo.

Sharon Powell

Personal Trainer of Tucson

Is Weight Loss Your Revolving Door?

Is weight loss your New Year’s Resolution? And for how many years have you said, “This is the year I’m going to do it”? Your habits and lifestyle are connected to emotions. Emotions secrete chemicals inside your body. We are attached to these chemicals; and any new behavior feels so uncomfortable because they are producing unfamiliar chemicals.

How do we break the cycle? According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, through visualization and meditation. Visualize the new habits and the new you. Imagine what it would be like. Imagine what you would look like and what activities you’d do. During this visualization, when you start to feel excited about the new you, your emotions are producing new chemicals. Creating these new connections in your brain and emotions first are the key to changing behavior.

For more information on how to break old habits and get results, go to:

DrJoeDispenza.com

Sharon Powell

Fitness Trainer of Tucson

1/19/2014

Obesity, Weight Loss and the Truth About Sugar

This YouTube video will blow your mind! It’s a lecture given by Dr. Robert Lustig at the University of California. Don’t let the word “lecture” turn you off. Believe me, his message is far from boring! Click on the link below to view:

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

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