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NCSF Blog

Results: 30 posts

The Problem with Leg Lifts

December 16, 2011 by NCSF 3 comments

Although many exercisers still use them, leg lifts are a contraindicated exercise. The idea that lifting ones legs off the ground for abdominal development is flawed at the biomechanical level. The rectus abdominis connects the sternum to the pelvis. The abdominals do not attach to the femur; therefore the contraction of the abdominal musculature will pull on the pelvis in the supine position – not the legs. The proper contraction of the abdominals in the supine position will cause a posterior pelvic tilt as the pelvis rotates toward the sternum. This is commonly seen during the abdominal curl-up, or crunch as it is better known. The limited range of motion employed, approximately 30° of spinal flexion, is driven via isolated contraction of the rectus abdominis. To the contrary, when leg lifts are employed the abdominals take on only an assistive role as the hip flexors take over as the prime mover. The iliopsoas, or hip flexor, is actually a muscle group comprised of the iliacus and psoas major (the psoas minor attaches to the pelvis). Additionally, the rectus femoris also crosses the hip and serves the dual role of hip flexion and knee extension.

Holiday Weight Gain

December 06, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

The Holiday season is a time for giving and enjoying the company of others. The problem that exists is there are usually more examples of receiving in the form of calories than giving. Following the “30-days of eating” often comes the guilt-driven five weeks of training. Five weeks represents the average duration of time participants engage in routine activity before the first wave of notable attrition occurs. The second wave typically occurs around 11 weeks and the third at approximately 5-6 months. Certainly, any effort is better than no effort, but there are a couple of issues with the holiday weight gain and this year, more than others, there may be some concerns with the industry trends towards high intensity training modalities.

Ignite your Personal Training Business

November 25, 2011 by NCSF 2 comments

There are many products and services that are far superior to well-known brands, but never get the attention or recognition warranted by deserving accolades. Often referred to as “the best thing that no one knows about”, many business spend an excessive amount of time cultivating the best product or service but fail to market and advertise it with the same willful vigor. A very common problem in small business activity is the tendency for the emphasis to be on the daily functions and operations rather than on the sales and promotion of the goods. This is commonplace within the personal training industry. Many trainers get caught up in developing the perfect program or implementing training sessions, but place little time on growth strategies. In a traditional approach, new leads are often generated by membership sales in the big clubs or referrals in the small clubs and studios.

Rich Fiber Diets

November 16, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

More evidence suggests a diet rich in fiber sources reduces risk of colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer worldwide with 1.2 million new cases diagnosed each year. It has been well established that a higher intake of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease but the relationship with cancer was not clearly supported. It has been presumed for nearly four decades that dietary fiber played a role in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer but studies attempting to demonstrate the relationship have not been consistent.

The Prone Plank

October 27, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

The prone plank exercise has become a common component for various types of core stability programs. Static holds in general have been used within exercise routines for fitness, group exercise and even athletic conditioning. Although very popular, the effectiveness of plank exercises is in question as little transfer into dynamic activities has been clearly demonstrated. Based on a review of literature, there is minimal evidence which supports the claim that static core stability training transfers into improved performance. In a recent study published in the Journal of Bodyworks and Movement Therapy (2011), investigators compared the effects of a 6-week unstable static versus unstable dynamic core training program on field-based fitness tests.

How to Tell Parents That Their Kid Is Overweight or Obese?

October 10, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

Communication skills may dictate the fate of a relationship. This is true at several levels in our social environment, and with an increased reliance on technology-based communication, these skills are becoming even more important. Most people can quickly recall a verbal disagreement that led to a social “situation” or an email that was misinterpreted due to a lack of verbal tone. Word selection and verbal tact become even more relevant in association with certain topics. And sometimes not just the verbal communication, but also the timing and word selection, may generate quick conflict between the communicators. Taboo topics exist in all relationships and at all levels. “Do these jeans make me look fat?” has been on the satire end of many a sitcom and most married people know it is not hard to push the buttons of a significant other. When it comes to weight related issues, all verbal communication gets exponentially risky, to the point that it may jeopardize a relationship.

Making Personal Training Affordable

September 21, 2011 by NCSF 2 comments

Personal Trainers are constantly looking for the “hook” to get consumers to sign up for their health and fitness services. Many struggle with the same dilemma – convincing people they need to invest in themselves and justifying the cost. Self investment is a simple concept, but Americans have skewed thoughts as to what is important. This is painfully obvious by the all too typical “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality; people buy houses they cannot afford, lease cars that are way out of their price range, and run up credit card bills on clothing or to be seen at chic clubs and eateries. For what? Quality of life is more closely linked to physical and mental well-being than what other people think. Consider this: if someone asked you when you were nine years old, would you rather be obese and drive a Mercedes or healthy and drive a Toyota? Would you rather have a disease like diabetes or hypertension and live in a big house or be healthy in a medium size house? Would you rather be out of shape and carry a designer handbag or in good shape and carry a non-brand leather bag? The answers are obvious at age nine because they are logical.

Unfamiliar Loading

September 13, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

The variety of movements in resistance exercise is limited to the normal safe biomechanics of the different joints. Essentially, a forward lunge is a forward lunge and a step-up is a step-up. Sure, angles may be adjusted but the movement is consistent. Diversity to the movement comes from loading, movement speed, stability, ROM and related stress adjustments to make the body do more while the movements remain safe and consistent. One way to get more from the training is to use unfamiliar loading. Traditional approaches commonly use axial loaded bar positions and lateral dumbbell holds. Thanks to the proliferation of training equipment, unfamiliar loading can add diversity, appropriate levels of difficulty and be more interesting to clients than the traditional redundancy.

Acai: Weight Loss Wonder Fruit?

August 18, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

Surely by now you have seen the ads; Acai Berries are being marketed as one of the newest, latest and greatest cure-alls. The high antioxidant content and plausible benefits seen in relatively new study data has led to a host of claims for acai, including a role as an anti-aging agent, anti-diabetic, anti-toxin and even as a cure for weight loss. Researchers recognize that the acai berry, similar to blueberries, blackberries, and many other berries, contains antioxidants that help protect cells from reactive oxygen species, or "free radicals” formed in the body in association with oxygen and other environmental agents. Some studies suggest that the acai berry may hold additional benefits that aid in the prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as some cancers. The most marketable of all the claims, weight loss, does not demonstrate the same level of research evidence and any claim related to its efficacy is lacking scholarly support.

Kids and Obesity-Promoting Breakfast Cereal

August 02, 2011 by NCSF 0 comments

Many adults can probably easily recall catchy cereal ads from when they were kids (having subliminally memorized the imbedded messages like “Trix are for kids”). Those once seemingly appropriate cereals are now strongly considered obesity-promoting products and a menace to public health. Childhood favorites such as Fruit Loops and Cocoa Pebbles have recently fallen under public fire in response to research led by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. The investigation focused on the marketing tactics that make kids desire a sugary start to each day. Rudd researchers crunched Nielsen and comScore data (2009) that tracks television and Internet marketing to decipher how much cereal advertising young kids commonly view. The data clearly demonstrated that the least healthy cereals were the ones marketed most aggressively during prime-time TV programming aimed at children.