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Setting Standards, Developing Professionals, and Serving the Public through Education and Certification
NCSF Personal Trainer Blog

Personal Trainer Blog


The NCSF Personal Trainer Blog is a professional media outlet that addresses current topics and issues facing the Personal Training Profession. Blog topics cover a variety of content domains that fall under the scope of professional practices of the Certified Personal Trainer. The blog entries are created by subject matter experts and are designed to engage both practicing and aspiring personal trainers. Subscription is optional and entries are added on a regular basis. The organization encourages you to participate and hopes you find the NCSF Personal Trainer Blog assistive in meeting your professional needs.

Total Posts: 173 | Last Post: Dec 11 2017

What Happened to Living In the Moment? 5 Tips to Remaster “Mindfulness”

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 11 2017
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Your activity tracker beeps drawing your attention. Then you receive a notification from Instagram that someone just commented on your picture of lunch. Then your sister texts you. Distractions in our daily life, specifically digital ones, are increasing and making it tougher to focus on the moment.


Should you Sleep in Compression Gear?

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 4 2017
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New research by investigators from the Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences in Osaka, Japan as well as other collaborative universities examined the effects of wearing a compression garment during overnight sleep on recovery from high-intensity eccentric lower-body exercise.


How to Sneak in a Total Body at Home Workout over the Holidays

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 20 2017
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How are you going to maintain your workout routine over Thanksgiving? The gluttony of Thanksgiving does not need to be paired with laziness. Whether you are traveling home for Thanksgiving or having friends over for a “Friendsgiving” you can still find the time to sneak in a Holiday workout. Chances are you do not have a complete gym at home, so a bodyweight circuit is a great substitute.


Boosting that Back Function – 4 Stance Variations for the Good Morning

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 1 2017
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The good morning exercise is excellent for developing core strength, hip extensor flexibility, and function synchronicity between the hips and trunk. It is favorable for enhancing the posterior kinetic chain as the movement requires cooperative force couples action across multiple joint segments. It is preferred for erector spinae development over back extension machines as the posterior chain work is closed-chain. The mechanics of the exercise require significant work from the erector spinae, gluteus maximus and hamstrings when full range of motion (ROM) is performed. The long resistance arm at the end-point of the eccentric phase tells the trainer that significant loading will not be needed or even useful/safe for most clients. Considering the flexibility and coordination requirements, trainers must make sure the client has the ROM, trunk stability, and lumbo-pelvic rhythm to maintain proper form. The traditional good morning exercise usually involves axial loading with a barbell, but many modifications can be employed (e.g., reaching a stability ball overhead or a medicine ball against the chest).


Breast Cancer and Exercise – The Inflammatory Fat Cell Connection

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 17 2017
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A new systematic review and meta-analysis published by the American Association for Cancer Research examined the impact of exercise on insulin-like growth factor-axis, adiponectin (glucose regulator and fatty acid metabolizer), and other inflammatory cytokines associated with breast cancer.


8 Frequently Asked Questions About Breast Cancer

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 9 2017
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to examine common questions concerning the devastating form of cancer. About 12% (1 in 8) women are expected to develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S alone. Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, extreme swelling, skin changes and/or changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast. Oftentimes breast cancer will not present with any symptoms – making regular screening very important. Consequent treatment depends on the stage of cancer; which may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.

Considering breast cancer’s high prevalence and distressful effects, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions concerning breast cancer risk and related issues.


The Connection Between Obesity, Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 3 2017
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Research published in Nature Cell Biology investigated a specific potential pathway by which obesity may increase the risk for breast cancer progression and metastasis (development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from the primary site of cancer).


Contralateral vs. Ipsilateral Exercises

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 10 2017
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There are various ways to load a given exercise or execute a given movement – successful trainers know how to choose the loading or movement pattern for each activity that best reflects the client’s training goal(s). Common loading patterns include, but are certainly not limited to: bilateral, unilateral, contralateral, ipsilateral, asymmetrical and unfamiliar.


Back Exercises to Compliment your Bench

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 24 2017
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Due to today’s deskbound culture and desire for anterior aesthetic development, exercise enthusiasts are more likely to perform forward sagittal and overhead pressing actions rather than pulls. Without complimentary pulling actions, this greatly increases the risk for shoulder injuries and long term postural deviations. Shoulder horizontal abduction and hyperextension often go by the way side.

This is not to say that some people do not enjoy pulling more than pressing, but most people can attest to the fact that it is easier to find an open pull-up bar at the gym as opposed to a bench press (especially on Mondays).


Can Physical and Mental Training Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s Disease?

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 16 2017
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In recognition of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month we are investigating the different lifestyle factors that can have a positive impact on your brain health and relative risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life. Previously discussed are various dietary factors that may have an impact on one’s risk, summarized below.


Can Your Diet Impact Your Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease?

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 14 2017
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In recognition of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month we will examine the impact of controllable lifestyle habits such as diet, exercise and cognitive/social stimulation on your risk for Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease where brain cells degenerate and die, which destroys memory and other important mental functions. As more and more brain cells die, it leads to significant brain shrinkage.


Prolonging Independent Living Among Older Adults Via Functional Assessments

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 5 2017
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A major goal among older adults is to maintain their independence and ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). Once daily tasks cannot be performed on one’s own, quality of life often begins to drastically fall. No one wants to rely on others to be dressed, bathed, get out of one’s favorite chair and get around town – so maintaining key elements of physical fitness such as muscular strength, power and endurance as well as balance, flexibility and coordination is crucial.


Combat Obesity – How to Increase Metabolism

By: NCSF  on:  May 2 2017
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Obesity is still highly prevalent in the US – with 2016 state-by-state rates ranging from 20-36% – fitness professionals need to use every tool in their toolbox to provide beneficial exercise prescription and education for clients who need to lose significant weight. Obesity is directly associated with several debilitating diseases and early mortality; making it much more than an aesthetic issue. An individual looking to lose weight and keep off the pounds needs to engage in a comprehensive weight-loss strategy focused on increasing their metabolism.


Dousing the Flames of Chronic Inflammation

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 8 2017
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Not all forms of inflammation are created alike - acute inflammation plays a central role in wound healing and immunological protection from infectious agents that can enter the body. Chronic, systemic inflammation can lead to various diseases and maladies including arthritis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and even Alzheimer's.


Do Your Knees Really Love Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements?

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 28 2017
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According to one estimate, about 20% of adults in the US take glucosamine and about 10% take chondroitin. The cost of these and other non-vitamin supplements and herbal remedies is close to 15 billion dollars every year. These are popular supplements.


7 Ways to Love Your Heart

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 8 2017
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With Valentine’s Day upon us and love in the air - let’s take a quick moment to recall how to love our own hearts. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women. What might come as a surprise is that many factors related to risk are actually modifiable. It is true that unavoidable elements such as your age, sex (males have a greater risk) and family history have a part to play, but every person still has control over various life habits which increase one’s risk for early progression of the disease. Show your heart some love by providing the care it deserves.


Satiety and Weight Loss - Legumes vs Meat

By: NCSf  on:  Jan 17 2017
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Most understand the potential benefits of a protein-rich diet for weight loss and the prevention of age-related reductions in muscle mass. Some dietary plans state that lean animal protein is the best way to go for optimal benefits as they contain all of the essential amino acids and purportedly provide a greater sensation of fullness (satiety). However, new research from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports suggests that meals based on legumes such as beans and peas can actually provide greater satiation following a meal than meats such as pork or veal.


Training Guidelines and Recommendations for Diabetic Clients

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 16 2016
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It is estimated that more than 29 million adults have Type I or Type II diabetes in the United States, with Type II diabetes accounting for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that of the nearly 30 million with the disease about 25% are unaware of their condition. Of added concern, another 86 million US adults are estimated to be pre-diabetic with the CDC reporting about 90% of these individuals being unaware of their risk. Clearly, greater knowledge and education is needed to combat further increases in the prevalence of Type II diabetes - as experts project nearly 1 in 3 adults could be diabetic by the year 2050. This is a growing concern both from a health and economic perspective as diabetics experience 6x the health costs as normal weight non-diabetics. The CDC estimates that taking part in structured lifestyle changes surrounding exercise, weight loss, and nutrition can reduce one’s risk for developing type II diabetes by more than half. Specific to exercise, for every 500 kcals expended per week via physical activity, the risk for type II diabetes is reduced by about 6%.


Do These Supplements Increase Muscle Growth?

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 10 2016
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Anabolics, or compounds purported to increase lean mass, are one of the most popular categories of dietary supplements amongst bodybuilders, athletes and exercise enthusiasts alike. Legal compounds purported to increase muscle mass have experienced a “mixed bag” of results in the literature. Some authors and critics argue the type of resistance training employed has been inconsistent across studies further creating difficulties identifying efficacy among compounds. Research methodology, small sample sizes, differing populations, and lack of scrutiny to contributing factors add to the problem. While caloric sufficiency, appropriate energy balance and timing, and specific training methodology are all consistently important for lean mass development and maintenance some substances may be additionally beneficial. Of interest it seems the properties that exist in the body seem to be the most relevant factor in predicting changes to muscle size.


Ab Training: Stability Ball Finisher

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 18 2016
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Stability balls can be used to increase balance, coordination and proprioceptive demands during numerous exercises. Standard exercises such as crunches or push-ups can gain completely new training stimuli when done on the ball due to the changes in neuromuscular requirements.


How Much Caffeine is in Your Cup?

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 26 2016
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Human caffeine consumption is by no means novel, dating back almost 5,000 years - but todays’ on-the-go society certainly thrives on the stimulant. From waking up to making it through the 2 pm work drag to pre-exercise readiness and late-night study alertness, caffeine does indeed provide a number of health and performance benefits. Caffeine can deliver consumers a cognitive and physical edge during the rigors of a long and demanding day. It originates naturally in over 60 species of plants including coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans and kola nuts. When consumed with carbohydrates it can improve concentration, response speed and the performance of complex cognitive tasks - making it a desirable compound for most busy individuals from business leaders to world-class athletes alike.


What is A2 Milk?

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 6 2016
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A2 milk is currently marketed as a heathier choice over “regular milk”. It is purported to provide explicit benefits including easier digestion for those who are lactose intolerant and reduced risk for several disorders. But what is the difference between these products and are the claims actually true? It all comes down to the breed of the cow from which the milk came from, and consequently the type of casein protein(s) found in the product. Casein is the predominant form of protein in milk (constitutes about 80%), and there are several types. One type is beta-casein which exists in at least 13 different forms; the most common include:


Understanding the Relationship between Immune Health, Exercise and Nutrition

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 29 2016
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The immune system plays a major role in training adaptations, but is poorly understood by most exercise professionals. Part of the reason is medical science has yet to unravel all of the functions, reactions and interactions of this system. For example, various autoimmune disorders and diseases remain untreatable such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and type I diabetes. The immune system is remarkably complex and regulates homeostasis in a synergistic fashion with other intricate components such as the endocrine system; leaving many unknowns even among the scientific elite. As it relates to health professionals, the immune system is involved in tissue recovery and repair following strenuous exercise as well as protecting against potentially-damaging pathogens such as bacteria or viruses (e.g., the flu). The system is designed to quickly recognize and systematically attack foreign materials in the body; in the case of autoimmune disorders, it mistakenly recognizes healthy bodily organs or tissues as internal invaders. Immunological processes are facilitated via two subsystems with specific functions:


The Latest Fitness and Recovery Trend: Cupping

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 17 2016
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The Olympics often draw attention to some unique story lines; in the case of Brazil there is green water, look-at-me hair styles, and giant spots have made headlines. While the quest for gold by the most recognized faces inclusive of Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt dominate front-page real estate, high profile athletes also draw additional attention around their actions. This year, the bruise marks all over Michael Phelps became a key search on google. The marks were caused by cupping, an ancient Chinese technique that uses suction to promote blood flow to the targeted area, but questions persist about the efficacy of the latest recovery trend.


Single-Leg Stability Ball leg Curl

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 30 2016
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Purpose: The single-leg stability ball leg curl is an excellent exercise for improving gluteal activation and endurance, hamstring strength balance, lumbo-pelvic coordination as well as trunk stability.


Traffic-Light and Calorie-Count Labels Reduce Caloric Intake

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 22 2016
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Surprisingly, some consumers still have difficulties properly deciphering the information on food labels when making optimal choices related to their nutritional needs. In some cases, such as in restaurants, limited or no information is provided which makes choosing healthy meal options a true guessing game. A new study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing showed once again that if consumers have clear and accurate data, they tend to make healthier choices when compared to being left in the dark. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania added color-coded “traffic-light” and/or numeric calorie-count labels to online food ordering systems and found consumers ordered meals with about 10% less total calories when compared to a menu featuring no labeling.


Single-leg RDL to Hip Flexion with Rotation

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 14 2016
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Function: The single-leg RDL to hip flexion with rotation exercise can be used to improve high hamstring/gluteal activation and flexibility, pelvic stability, multi-planar mobility, kinetic chain connectivity, and lower body proprioception.


DB Bench Swings to Stand

By: NCSF  on:  May 18 2016
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Purpose: The DB Bench Swing to Stand is a functional abdominal exercise that also serves to improve force transfer through the full kinetic chain.

Performance Pointers:

  • Start with the arms fully extended at the side of the body with the back against the bench and the feet flat on the floor
  • Initiate the movement by simultaneously swinging the dumbbells forward while performing trunk and hip flexion to sit up from the bench
  • As you attain a seated position and the dumbbells are progressing into shoulder flexion, use the upward swing to achieve an overhead dumbbell position while simultaneously completing the transition to a standing posture
  • In the end position you should be standing tall with the dumbbells directly overhead (biceps to ears), and then gradually descend back to the start position for the next repetition

Anabolic Steroid Abuse and Dangerous Blood Pressure

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 12 2016
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According to new research presented at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston, anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse is associated with severe increases in blood pressure. “The results provide scientific evidence that anabolic steroids cause systolic blood pressure increase and hypertension that may be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” states the lead study author Jon Bjarke Rasmussen, MD, doctoral fellow in the Department of Internal Medicine of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. The researchers found day and night blood pressure values to be considerably higher among the ongoing AAS abusers when compared with both former abusers and non-users. “Anabolic steroids are increasingly used in the broader population, and some studies suggest that approximately 20% of men who do recreational strength training have experience with anabolic steroids,” Rasmussen added.


FDA Warning Concerning Ethnic or Imported Supplements and Nonprescription Drugs

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 29 2016
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The FDA recently released a public warning concerning imported dietary supplements and nonprescription drug products. According to Cariny Nunez, M.P.H., a public health advisor in the Office of Minority Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dietary supplements scammers often target advertising to people who prefer to shop at “nontraditional places” such as ethnic or international stores. The aforementioned consumers often are purchase motivated by magazines, infomercials, flea markets or online marketing; especially those who have limited English proficiency and access to health care information. “These scammers know that ethnic groups who may not speak or read English well, or who hold certain cultural beliefs, can be easy targets,” Nunez says. For example, some Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and Africans may have a long tradition of relying on herbal or so-called “natural” remedies for ailments. Many advertisers put the word “natural” somewhere on the package, knowing it inspires trust in certain groups.


Modifying Exercises to Create New Training Challenges

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 23 2016
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Knowledgeable personal trainers are able to modify almost any exercise to provide challenges for clients with differing aptitudes and training needs. There are many ways an exercise can be modified such as changing the position of the load, movement plane(s) involved, stability or coordination requirements, and total muscle groups/body segment involved. Often exercise modifications are applied within the exercise prescription just for the sake of novelty to reduce boredom - but in most instances a trainer will want to provide alterations to mastered movements that match the client’s intended goal(s). In the following we will examine two potential exercise modifications, and how these movement modifications create new challenges and potential improved adaptations.


5 Factors to Consider Before Following A Gluten-Free Diet

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 14 2016
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There are many fad diets that become popularized through health and fitness magazines. The gluten-free diet has gained a lot of attention recently even by those who are not truly gluten intolerant or suffer from celiac disease. This trending nutrient focus has been amped by celebrity testimonials and hyped by news coverage. The gluten-free diet surrounds an effort to limit gluten protein intake found in grains such as wheat, rye, oats, and barely. Some physicians warn that going gluten-free is definitely not for everyone; it is not necessarily healthy nor does it inherently promote weight-loss. In fact, many physicians advise that only people with diagnosed gluten sensitivities adopt this special diet. What is interesting about many who end up following a gluten-free diet is not the gluten affect but rather that they end up cutting out a lot of processed grains, starches and poorer food choices - which may in itself help reduce gastrointestinal issues and inflammation over time.


Anticipated Changes to Corporate Fitness and Wellness Programs in 2016

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 1 2016
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The popularity and effectiveness of employee fitness and wellness programs has greatly increased in recent years. 70% of US employers now offer some form of employee wellness program, up from 58% in 2008 according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Despite this trend and the benefits wellness programs can provide to productivity and workplace moral, many companies will face new challenges in 2016 related to such programs. In the following we will summarily address some of the prominent trends related to fitness and wellness program development anticipated to take the lead in improving employee health in 2016.


Using Eccentric Exercise for Specific Goals

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 1 2015
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Concentric, eccentric and isometric muscular contractions are often taught and thought about as parts of a whole – in reference to an exercise from start to finish. However, exercises can be modified to include only concentric, eccentric or isometric muscle action based on the client’s goals and needs. Concentric-only actions are often used for improving power and acceleration; isometric actions are frequently used for improving stability or endurance; while eccentric actions can serve a number of specific needs related to performance, muscular health and tissue recovery. An eccentric contraction occurs as a muscle is forcibly elongated to decelerate a load under control. They often occur as a byproduct during standard training programs, as part of dynamic muscular actions, but exercise professionals should recognize the uses and benefits of eccentric-specific training. This way they can exploit it properly when it fits the needs of program design.


Push-Up to Pike

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 20 2015
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Keeping clients engaged, imparting quality improvements and saving time are all tenets of personal training. Using exercise combinations that intelligently apply force couples is an effective way to accomplish all three. Try this example – push-up to pike – to improve central peripheral stability by combining to staples of human movement. The exercise is at an intermediate to advanced level and should be performed in a single fluid, connected motion. Those with less flexibility or strength may use flexed knees and push up from a raised surface such as a bench.


Drag Training Essentials for Optimal Improvements in Speed

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 29 2015
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Increased sprinting speed is often at the top of the list of training goals among recreational and competitive athletes. There are a number of training methods available which can be used to increase maximum speed as well as acceleration, including but not limited to; technique drills for increasing stride rate and length, unloaded repeat sprinting, overspeed training, reactive strength drills, complex training and drag training.


4 Unique Ways Your Bodily Bacteria Might Impact Your Health

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 24 2015
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It may not be the most pleasant thought to consider but it is well-documented that the average, healthy person maintains about 2-3 pounds of bacteria in their intestinal tract. You read that correctly… the total population of microorganisms in just one section of your body can be weighed in pounds.

It has been estimated that this family of bacteria has nearly 100 trillion members, which is about 10x the quantity of total cells found in the human body. Based on their significant numbers it should come as no surprise that these bacteria, known as gut flora, can influence our health in many ways.

Some of these microorganisms are considered “good” bacteria which help digest nutrients and even produce different vitamins (e.g., Vitamin K); while others are considered “bad or infectious”, and can cause issues when their population begins to dominate the “good” bacteria working to our advantage.


Naming a Business

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 8 2015
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Starting a business is an exciting time and comes with a host of responsibilities. Start-up checklists are extensive and often require significant research to determine the best methods to address each situation. Who’s the competition, what’s the market saturation, where is the best (affordable) location? Entrepreneurs often fret over logos, images and presentation along with a host of other details as they get started, but in many cases they leave one of the most relevant decisions as an afterthought – the business name.


Economic Worth – What’s Yours?

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 4 2015
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One of the many challenges facing any professional is finding an enjoyable job while getting paid the money they want or perceive to deserve. Many people go to work every day, enjoy what they do, but would like to be paid more often feeling they deserve more money for the time they spend performing daily tasks and responsibilities. But if a person goes to the same job, performs the same or similar tasks, which end up generating the same money for the business or company there exists an economic conundrum; there is no additional increase in revenues to justify an increase in pay. Regardless of how well the tasks or responsibilities are completed, if a position does not increase the money coming in to the company, then an increase in money going out towards the position is not justified. This brings up the point that some positions function as an asset with negative implications or financial liability, whereas other roles can be viewed as positive assets due to their income generating potential.


Food Timing

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 28 2015
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The recreational fitness enthusiast would do well to regulate macronutrient intake to quantities that support their activity levels. They should consume lower quantities of processed carbohydrates and create meals in a mixture and manner that best serves recovery needs while supporting daily energy demands. Small mixed meals (carbohydrate-protein-fat) throughout the day generally provide nutritional adequacy for this group. For those who engage in high-intensity exercise or compete in athletic events, particularly where the training is continuous in nature, there exists a different challenge as it relates to macronutrient management.


Youth Training – Resistance Training for Optimal Neuromuscular Development

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 22 2015
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Many people are surprised to hear that resistance training can be safe and effective for youth participants due to pre-dated misconceptions. Children or pre-adolescents (approximately up to age 11 among girls and 13 among boys) and adolescents (approximately ages 12-18 among girls and 14-18 among boys) can all adapt positively from strength training. The term pre-adolescent refers to boys and girls who have not yet developed secondary sex characteristics. The myth that resistance activities cause epiphyseal plate damage among any population has been long removed from modern knowledge. Research has repeatedly shown that appropriate training will not have a negative impact on bone health or growth, nor increase the risk for connective tissue injuries any more than actions of common play such as jumping, sprinting, climbing trees and throwing/kicking balls. Ironically the concerns in some regards have been shifted to the elderly; which is also off base - as both the young and old can benefit from training with resistance exercises for functional strength and power.


Jumper’s Knee

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 13 2015
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Patellar tendinitis (tendinopathy), also known as jumper’s knee, is a common overuse injury of the patellar tendon. It is usually due to repetitive microtrauma of the connective tissue due to high-volume jumping, running and changing directions. It is most common among those who participate in jumping sports such as basketball, volleyball and gymnastics but has been seen among exercise enthusiasts due to poor lower limb biomechanics. Often, the site of disruption is at the inferior pole of the patella. Sufferers commonly experience a gradual onset of anterior knee pain during any jumping or acceleration-deceleration activities performed while training. This pain can be localized to the bottom portion of the patella or diffuse throughout the majority of the kneecap. In more severe cases, sufferers may complain of progressive discomfort during other activities that stretch the tendon such as sitting in a chair or stair climbing. This level of discomfort more often occurs when the tendon slightly thickens or is partially torn.


Understanding Memorial Day

By: NCSF  on:  May 22 2015
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Memorial Day is often designated as the unofficial first day of summer in the United States. Across America, youth baseball and soccer tournaments are occurring alongside family get-togethers and mini-vacations. While Memorial Day provides for a wonderful long weekend to enjoy outdoor activities, it is important to not forget the origins of the holiday.


5 Ways to Improve your Cardiovascular Training

By: NCSF  on:  May 4 2015
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Cardiovascular training is essential for reducing the risk of a variety of western diseases, losing weight and generally improving one’s quality of life. The direct benefits of cardiovascular training on the heart include improvements in stroke volume and a lowered resting heart rate. While significant improvements can be made in 3 months of training, a high volume of aerobic conditioning is required for optimized results. According to the literature, aerobic training should be performed most days of the week and total of 14-20 calories per kilogram of body weight burned. Due to the high frequency of training needed for cardiovascular improvements, it is easy for training to become stale, leading towards incomplete adherence or even cessation of the training program. Therefore, it is imperative that trainers find ways to not only make aerobic training efficient, but also enjoyable for the client.


Early morning workout: To eat or not to eat?

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 22 2015
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Walk into any fitness facility in the early morning hours and interview exercising individuals about their pre-workout eating habits and you will most likely receive a large variety of responses. It is a common belief that if one works out early in the morning, it is imperative to consume a small meal prior to commencing exercise. The belief stems from the notion that the working muscles will be devoid of energy if one has not eaten since the night before. While there is a benefit of a pre-workout meal as discussed in this article, the prior concept of “muscle energy” is completely false.


Anaerobic Endurance for Aerobic Conditioning

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 23 2015
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Anaerobic endurance training focuses on the physiological improvements in the muscles’ ability to endure force output through both neural and metabolic mechanisms. System efficiency is best demonstrated during prolonged stress upon the anaerobic system. Interestingly, repeatable actions lasting 30-60 seconds are highly dependent on the interaction of the anaerobic and aerobic systems. For individuals looking to maintain force output and lean mass, while attaining better endurance, the focus should be placed on the anaerobic system. A common error among many athletes and fitness enthusiasts is to do cardiovascular exercise in attempts to get in better shape. However, for both anaerobic and aerobic improvements without the consequences of aerobic training, higher intensity exercise should be used. To successfully implement the anaerobic endurance phase, an understanding of work:recovery ratios needs to be established.


Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Positive Impact on Performance?

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 16 2015
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If any number of athletes were asked about vitamin and mineral supplementation, they would most likely read off a laundry list of various pills and powders that they consume. In general, most athletes and health conscious exercisers are apprehensive about not reaching adequate vitamin and mineral intake. However, no current research supports consuming vitamins and minerals above RDA (recommended daily allowance) will lead to improved performance.


6 Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Resistance Training Circuits

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 19 2015
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Circuits are a useful training system for anaerobic exercises as they allow for higher volumes of training in a shorter period of time. An added benefit of this style of training is its ability to help maximize caloric expenditure while performing exercises that promote lean mass maintenance. The work-to-rest ratios commonly used can also improve muscular endurance as well as add to cardiovascular efficiency. Circuits are a popular choice among personal trainers because of the time-tension relationship which helps with the two-three day workout schedules common of the clientele. Additionally it allows for diversity in a manner that addresses multiple goals simultaneously. The system can be employed in numerous ways, but in most cases anywhere from 6-12 exercises are performed in a sequential fashion for a predefined period of time or specific repetition range; with only transitional or short (15 sec) rest periods between actions.


8 Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System during the Flu Season

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 27 2015
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During the flu season, those who exercise vigorously on a regular basis should take extra steps to ensure their immune system remains strong. Many do not realize that an intense training regimen can suppress immune function; especially when combined with inadequate recovery and nutritional support.


Seven Foods that can Help Improve your Workout and Recovery

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 13 2015
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The benefits of exercise can be greatly improved by consuming appropriate nutrients with optimal timing before and/or after the event. While macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates are commonly associated with optimized post-workout recovery, recommendations related to specific food choices vary across the board and are subject to opinion.


Exercises for Connecting the Kinetic Chain

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 9 2014
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Isolated exercises can be useful for maximizing specific muscle activation, but many clients will obtain greater benefits from the steady inclusion of compound, multi-joint exercises that connect cooperative force couples across the kinetic chain. Cross-joint, closed-kinetic chain lifts are advantageous for promoting maximal muscle activation and caloric expenditure, enhancing stabilizer muscle strength/endurance, and improving how well cooperative body segments work together during functional movements. Body segment connectivity can be improved with exercises that effectively connect the sling systems through the refinement of motor patterning and neural synchronicity. Lifts that connect segments of the kinetic chain can also serve to improve muscle balance and absolute force/power output potential over time. Muscles that work cooperatively produce more force than those that work in isolation.


The Psychological Impact of “Turkey Day”: What happened to Thanksgiving?

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 25 2014
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Thanksgiving is here, and so follows vast images of food. While historically a feast was the foundation for a celebration of giving thanks – it is unlikely the forefathers envisioned what has turned out to be the greatest national caloric imbalance. This emphasis on eating for the holiday is well reflected in its common nickname - Turkey Day. Thanksgiving is undoubtedly a time for gathering with family and friends for a meal dutifully prepared by the host to show their care for those whom the meal is shared. Appreciation for the effort given in preparing such an extravagant meal is clearly demonstrated, as many people eat to discomfort. Psychological sciences professor Don Saucier of Kansas State University says the over-indulgence is due to society’s shift in vision, from simply gathering together for social enrichment to eating a large meal, for social validation.


Optimal Exercise Pairs for Improved Shoulder Mobility and Muscle Activation

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 16 2014
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Many clients seeking personal training services demonstrate poor flexibility in the shoulder complex as well as dysfunction in muscle activation patterns due to functional decline. In some cases, level 1 and 2 postural distortions have changed the function of the shoulder due to weakness and tightness from an assortment of contributing factors. Sometimes these issues cause pain, instability and movement limitations often observed during postural and movement analysis. The most common contributing factors are often cumulative; including, myofascial restrictions, loss of functional movement range, and muscle strength imbalances. All of these factors promote dysfunction in the scapular plane with consequent shoulder complex inefficiencies. Personal trainers can employ a number of tools to restore function and movement performance in clients with these issues, but an easy start is to establish improved muscle relationships..


Top Reasons Why People Fail in their Exercise Programs

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 15 2014
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Successfully reaching most fitness goals takes time, effort and dedication; concepts that are becoming seemingly foreign in today’s “I want it now” culture. For example, losing fat or gaining muscle are both generally slow processes that require notable caloric expenditure, intelligent caloric intake and specific exercise stresses. Many people love to entertain the thought of pursuing such goals, but when it comes down to taking on the actual work that must be engaged, as well as setting realistic objectives - the allure of the challenge can quickly dissipate. Poor exercise adherence or completely giving up on a fitness goal is often based on physiological and psychological factors that limit success.


Common Misconceptions of Fat Loss

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 1 2014
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Fat loss is one of the most common goals among individuals seeking personal training services. Most trainers know that a multifactorial approach is best when attempting to help a client lose fat in a safe and expedient fashion. The training program itself must focus on maximal caloric expenditure. Concurrent nutritional modifications must promote a negative caloric balance while still preserving macro/micronutrient adequacy for health and lean mass conservation. Fat loss is obtainable for all clients, albeit at varying rates depending on their physical condition or any limitations/special needs; but proper protocol must be followed to facilitate ideal results. The first step in this process is to filter through the various misconceptions surrounding fat loss to ensure all efforts help drive the client toward their ultimate goal.


Cotton vs Polyester: What to Wear to Reduce Body Odor

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 9 2014
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It is well known that numerous forms of bacteria thrive inside the human body. For example, it has been estimated that about five pounds of bacteria reside within the intestinal tract of a healthy adult. Unfortunately, our coexistence with microorganisms does not end there, as bacteria also flourish on every inch of the skin. These bacteria propagate in varying quantities in different areas; about 100 bacteria live within each square centimeter on one’s forearm, versus 10 million per square centimeter in the armpits, navel, groin, and spaces between the toes. These colonies have a large role in the development of body odor when an individual sweats, even though perspiration in itself is known to be sterile and not produce foul odors. New research shows that it is primarily the environment we provide for these microbe havens (in the form of clothing) that has a major impact on the development/severity of embarrassing aromas.


Enzyme Supplements – Pros and Cons

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 3 2014
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Consumers are increasingly turning to over-the-counter (OTC) enzyme supplements based on the belief that they can aid digestion and improve overall health. However, as with most supplements, research has demonstrated minimal positive results when compared to anecdotal data. In clinical settings, enzyme supplements are prescribed for individuals suffering from issues that impact digestive function, such as pancreas dysfunction. Conversely, OTC enzymes such as bromelain or papain (derived from pineapples and papaya respectively) are readily consumed by healthy individuals.


New Gluten-free Labelling is going into Effect

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 18 2014
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New legislation is making “gluten-free” labelling more stringent. This marks the end of a year-long period of adjustment that companies were given to reduce the gluten content in food items labelled “gluten-free” to 20 parts per million. The rationale behind 20 parts per million is at this density, the majority of individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will not suffer an inflammatory reaction.


Low Iron? 13 Warning Signs You Might be Deficient

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 11 2014
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Despite iron being a key mineral in the formation of oxygen-binding molecules within the body, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. In fact, approximately 30-50% of the adult female population is believed to be iron deficient. Dietary iron comes in two natural forms; non-heme iron found in plant-based foods (2-10% absorption rate), and heme-iron found in animal products (10-30% absorption rate). Heme-iron is known to have the highest bioavailability, even when compared to iron supplements.


What is Your Heart’s “Real” Age?

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 4 2014
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The phrase “dog years” is often used by veterinarians and pet lovers. When used it is intended to refer to the correlation between a dog reaching maturity and aging – providing an easy comparison to human aging. But when it comes to your heart, is there such a thing as “heart years”? Cardiovascular research has pointed to the use of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) scores to indicate heart age. The IMT (measured in mm) is based on average plaque thickness, and has been directly correlated with age. For example, average scores start at 0.56 mm, at age 40, and subsequently increase to 0.65 mm, 0.74 mm and 0.80 mm as age increases to 50, 60 and 65 years respectively. However, lifestyle factors can greatly increase or decrease an individual’s IMT score at any age.


When to Implement Flexibility into a Workout

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 28 2014
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Flexibility is technically defined as the ability of a joint to move through a full range of motion (ROM) around its axis. However, a lack of flexibility at a given joint can negatively impact all the surrounding tissues. Mechanics are based on moving parts and stabilizing segments, and when dysfunction occurs it affects the kinetic chain. Flexibility plays a major role in posture, joint function, muscle recovery, reducing the risk for injury, and optimal performance during physical activity. Static, dynamic, ballistic, active-assisted and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretches as well as various myofascial release techniques can be used to enhance ROM. Fitness professionals unfamiliar with the science behind flexibility will not understand how each technique functions as a potential tool for improvement, and may find themselves making poor decisions based on a client’s needs.


NYC “Soda Ban” Rejected by State High Court

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 14 2014
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Numerous public health initiatives have been implemented throughout the US in recent years aimed at potentially reducing the prevalence of obesity. Most have focused on either promoting increased physical activity levels or educating the general population on how to make better nutritional choices. A well-known example implemented at the state level was the recent attempt to ban the selling of oversized sugary beverages by restaurants and businesses in New York City - aptly recognized as the “soda-ban”. According to new updates, New Yorkers can now sip their super-sized sodas without concern if they choose. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to limit the sale of large sugary drinks was recently rejected by the state's highest court, which ruled the local health board overstepped its authority in approving the regulation.


When Is Exercise an Addiction or a Healthy Lifestyle Behavior?

By: NCSf  on:  Jun 30 2014
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It may be argued that almost any positive behavior can be taken to an extreme that actually ends up impacting physical and psychological health in a negative manner. Exercise is one of those behaviors, as regular engagement is beneficial and can contribute to health, disease prevention, and mental well-being; but it can also become an addiction. “Exercise addiction is a process addiction in which a person engages in compulsive, mood-altering behaviors with the intention of avoiding painful feelings,” said Kim Dennis, MD, CEO and medical director of Timberland Knolls Residential Treatment Center. “Those addicted to exercise chase the ‘high,’ and this behavior ultimately becomes unmanageable and destructive.”


The Potential Hazards of Extreme Weight-Loss Strategies

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 17 2014
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In a culture that seeks instant gratification, personal trainers must often cater to clients who desire to lose weight and lose it now. Clients requesting assistance in rapid weight loss must be educated on how the body functions as well as its adaptation responses. Clients must also be made aware of the processes behind physiological changes and the increasing potential for negative physical and psychological side-effects once the safe threshold of 1-2 lbs lost per week is surpassed. Remember, losing just one pound in a week requires a negative caloric balance of at least 500 kcals per day. Let’s consider the request of losing 10 lbs in a month – what is the client really asking to accomplish? In theory, he or she can only attain this goal if a 35,000 kcal deficit is expedited over the course of that month. This equates to ~1,166 kcals per day; even if split evenly between exercise and nutritional modification, daily demands would stand at limiting food consumption by ~580 kcals while also burning ~580 kcals via structured exercise. One less meal per day could be consumed while performing additional voluntary work equal to about a 6-mile run.


Online Health Care Information: Proceed with Caution

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 3 2014
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Since Wikipedia’s launch in 2001, it has become the most popular general reference site on the Internet. It is a widely used resource for health care information among not only the general public but also physicians and medical students; 47-70% of whom admit to using it as a reference. Wikipedia’s fundamental design as a “collaborative database” allows users the ability to add, delete and edit information. This characteristic has raised concern in the medical community regarding the reliability and accuracy of the information on the website. A recent study published in the in Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has substantiated these concerns, finding numerous factual errors in 9 out of 10 Wikipedia articles when compared to recognized peer-review journals.


Are We as Good as We Think We Are???

By: NCSF  on:  May 13 2014
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Consider this: your best friend tells you that she is going to audition for American Idol and performs her try-out song for you… and it’ s terrible. She can’t carry a tune. What do you do? Do you risk hurting her feelings and tell her the truth; that she is a terrible singer and has no chance of winning? Or, do you play it safe and tell her she sounded great and wish her luck? Unfortunately, most people opt for the latter.


Reward or Penalty: Which is the Stronger Tool in the Fight Against Obesity?

By: NCSF  on:  May 2 2014
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Safe driving makes the road better for everyone; buying homes, having children and going to school are activities that encourage economic growth. These behaviors provide relatively clear benefits, from both monetary and ethical standpoints, to society as whole. In return, safe drivers receive discounts and cash bonuses from their auto insurance companies and Americans are able to deduct expenses related to the above activities from their annual taxes. Essentially, when people participate in activities or behaviors that save money, they are being financially rewarded. These rewards provide motivation and appear to strongly encourage the continuance of such behaviors. This begs the question then, why is this same principle not applied more heavily to preventative health measures?


U. S. Childhood Obesity Rates are (Actually) on the Rise

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 17 2014
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In February, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a 43% drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year old children over the past decade, suggesting that young Americans are making strides in the fight against obesity. According to this report, about 8% of this population was obese in 2011-2012, down from 14% in 2003-2004. Headlines in The New York Times touting this new information read, “Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade”. Cynthia Ogden, a researcher for the CDC and lead author for the report, cautioned that while this research was “exciting”, these young children make up a very small fraction of the American population and that the figures for the broader society had remained flat or had even increased; perhaps suggesting that this headline may be sending an inaccurate message about obesity in America. Nonetheless, many theories arose to explain this decline in childhood obesity.


Weight-loss Supplement Linked to Nearly 100 cases of Hepatitis

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 8 2014
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The supplement industry has always been a buyer-beware market due to a lack of manufacturer oversight and regulation before products reach the marketplace. The weight-loss supplement, OxyElite Pro, manufactured by USPLabs, illustrates a recent example of this risk. The product claims to be a thermogenic fat-burner to aid in weight loss, but it seems to have the potential to negatively impact organ cells outside of adipose tissue. It has been directly linked to 97 cases of hepatitis; nearly half of which required hospitalization, three created the need for liver transplantations and one resulted in death. These findings were presented in a paper authored by Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 2014). Hepatitis is a serious medical condition defined by inflammation of the liver caused by a range of viruses; or less commonly, bacteria, funguses or parasites. Non-pathogenic causes include tainted drug/supplement intake, excessive alcohol consumption, fatty liver disease as well as autoimmune or metabolic disorders.


Reducing the Risk for GI Problems during High-Intensity Endurance Training

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 18 2014
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Clients who regularly compete in events from 5Ks to marathons and beyond will agree that steps must be taken to reduce the risk for gastrointestinal (GI) tract problems during both races and training sessions. It is well-known that long-duration endurance training can directly damage the GI tract and cause debilitating symptoms, especially when combined with inappropriate nutritional intake. Research indicates the 30-50% of endurance athletes experience some sort of GI issues related to their training.


Current Obesity Statistics

By: NCSf  on:  Mar 3 2014
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Current statistics show that obesity rates amongst individuals in the US have remained relatively stable over the last 10 years. Meaning, little progress and little loss seems to have been attained in the battle against this epidemic which impacts society at every level. According to a new study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 8.1% of infants and toddlers, 16.9% of 2- to 19-year-olds and 34.9% of adults aged 20 years or older were obese. These values were attained from 9,120 participants who took part in the 2011-2012 nationally-representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Overall, there have been no significant changes from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 in high weight (for recumbent length) among infants and toddlers, obesity among 2- to 19-year-olds, or obesity among adults. However, there was a significant decrease in obesity among 2- to 5-year-old children (from 13.9% to 8.4%) and a significant increase in obesity among women aged 60 years and older (from 31.5% to 38.1%).


February is Heart Month

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 12 2014
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In 2014 heart disease has remained the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Interestingly, most people fear dying of cancer rather than suffering a fatal cardiac event; and according to a new report from the Cleveland Clinic about three-quarters (74%) of Americans do not fear dying from this most likely cause. The Cleveland Clinic conducted a survey of 1,005 adults (502 men and 503 women 18 years of age and older) living in the continental United States as part of their consumer awareness campaign coined “Love Your Heart”, in recognition of Heart Month. In addition to the seeming apathy Americans have for heart disease, the survey also identified that most people are generally misinformed concerning heart disease prevention and symptoms. Among Americans with high risk, such as those with a family history of the disease (39%), 26% do not take any preventative steps to protect their heart health. This may be no surprise as the majority (70%) of Americans are unfamiliar with the symptoms of heart disease; yet 64% of those surveyed have or know someone who has the disease.


Caffeine Use Disorder

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 4 2014
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Do you suffer from Caffeine Use Disorder? Caffeine is the most widely-used drug in the world, and with social acceptance a key driver, many people are demonstrating clear signs of addition. Caffeine is found in many beverages including coffee, tea, and soda; but is also common in over-the-counter pain relievers as well as a whole host of dietary supplements (including food and beverage-based products) branded with some form of the word "energy." Products like 5-hour energy and caffeine shots are very common items at most convenience stores and remain available to all consumers including children; demonstrating the casualty of the drug.


Kaiser Permanente- Physical Activity as a Vital Sign

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 27 2014
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Physical activity is a key component to maintaining a person’s physical and mental well-being – so why do doctors not use it as a vital sign? In the past, independent measures have been used including blood pressure and resting heart rates as indicators of health with the assumption that these measures are indicative of a healthy lifestyle. But without using participation or assessment of physical activity as a relevant component to health, how can a physician gauge all of the other attributes associated with active lifestyles; including positive effects on musculoskeletal function, systemic inflammation, stress, and psychological wellbeing.


Understanding Whole Body Vibration (WBV) Training

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 10 2014
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The fitness industry is constantly giving birth to new methods of training. Many of these methods are not supported by scientific research but are rather fueled by anecdotal claims and flashy marketing. While some stand the test of time others fall to the wayside once associated infomercials run their course. Occasionally, a new training method arises which seems to have true merit the fitness industry - one such method is Whole Body Vibration Training (WBV). The idea behind WBV is to overload both the muscular and nervous systems to expedite adaptation responses within the body. The body’s ability to produce force is calculated by multiplying the mass of an object by the acceleration of that same object (F = m x a). Traditional resistance training helps to improve force by increasing the mass component of the equation while WBV training functions be increasing the acceleration component of the equation.


The Theory of New Year’s Resolutions

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 30 2013
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New Year resolutions in theory are about a behavior change. It may be towards a change in social, emotional, or physical actions, but the latter seems to always get the most attention. Gaining a better understanding of what people are thinking in the pre-action phase leading to January 1st, may help provide insight as to (personal) motivational factors and key drivers to decisions by consumers. Participants from Lifetime Fitness programs were surveyed and over 1,400 individual respondents provided data on resolutions drivers and personal goals in support of the January 1, Commitment Day. Commitment Day is a broad social movement with a charge of establishing a commitment to healthy eating, exercise, family, respect, giving and a healthy planet. The Jan 1, 2014 event encompasses 5K fun walk/run events in 34 cities across the country, with tens of thousands of individuals participating. Interestingly, the data found that the majority of respondents (75%) placed their overall fitness as the priority in the New Year; twelve percent identified their work or career as the main emphasis of their behavior change, while ten percent placed family as the priority for 2014.


New Year Fitness Resolutions – Why Do Many Fitness Resolutions Fall Short?

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 12 2013
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In early-mid December fitness enthusiasts start to succumb to the holiday season and those fully committed to training year-round find they have a little extra room in most fitness facilities. Many less-adherent people find themselves busy with the Holidays and unable to stick to their normal exercise regimens with the thoughts of “I’ll really get serious after the holidays”. Then January comes along…. and gyms once again quickly fill up with masses of people having followed through with the first step of their New Year’s resolution. According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology top resolutions include weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management and debt reduction.


Helpful Solutions to Common Holiday Weight Gain Behavior Problems

By: NCSF  on:  Dec 3 2013
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Problem 1 Many people experience a feeling of sluggishness during the holiday season, and activity status is often replaced with stress, sedentary behaviors and high caloric intake. There is no doubt participation frequency and total training volume decrease over the Holidays. The fitness centers are still open but people’s routines are altered and regular workouts often take a backseat to holiday events, planning, and shopping.


FDA Working to Eliminate Trans Fat from the Consumer Marketplace

By: NCSF  on:  Nov 14 2013
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In today’s supplement market there are many products a consumer could buy that contains compounds which are harmful, undisclosed to the buyer, or just plain dangerous. This is evident by the relatively frequent recalls of supplement compounds in US and other markets following negative consequences among those who used it. Thankfully there is a degree of oversight over staple food products and licensed medicines, and the entities involved in this oversight take charge when products have clearly been shown to be unsafe to the average consumer. On that note, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently took steps toward eliminating trans fats from foods purchased at your local grocery store. The agency states that a major source of trans fats, being partially hydrogenated oils, is no longer "generally recognized as safe”. If this determination is finalized, partially hydrogenated oils will be categorized as food additives that cannot be included in a food product without approval.


Should Physical Activity be Tracked Just like Baseline Vital Signs?

By: NCSf  on:  Nov 1 2013
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According to new guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA), physical activity should be considered a vital health measurement and tracked on a regular basis just like other modifiable cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, and smoking. "The deleterious effects of physical inactivity are associated with many of the most common chronic diseases and conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, depression, and breast and colorectal cancers," Scott J. Strath, PhD, chair of the AHA's Physical Activity Committee and colleagues wrote in a scientific statement published in Circulation. "Risk identification, benchmarks, efficacy and evaluation of physical activity behavior change initiatives for clinicians and researchers all require a clear understanding of how to assess physical activity."


Three Keys to (Much) Better Decisions

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 22 2013
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How many decisions does a person make a day? Some say thousands if all things are considered. According to researchers at Cornell people make an average of 227 decisions per day about food alone. According to researchers every decision we make potentially affects the next; and that the accumulative process of making decisions progressively depletes the integrity of the process. This explains why when we are under stress we tend to react rather than consider options. It is suggested the body actually experiences “decision fatigue.” Under situations of “decision management” the brain is thought to function automatically causing us to make automatic decisions based on prior orientation. This may explain why we gravitate to the same foods and beverages, and find ourselves in the same places. This lends itself to the question – if you want to change for the better what is the process of making better decisions?


Opinions in the Fitness Industry

By: NCSF  on:  Oct 8 2013
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In the fitness industry there seems to exist an overabundance of opinion. Fitness enthusiasts, self-proclaimed gurus and even TV doctors chime in on what, according to them, is the best technique for an exercise, the best modality for training, the best dietary strategy, the best program for fitness and the list goes on…. An issue with the health and fitness industry is opinion should have a very limited place in any given decision-making process. Specifically, decisions regarding one’s health and fitness behaviors should be fact-based not opinion-based.


How Happiness (“Self-Gratification vs. “Noble Purpose”) Effects Human DNA

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 18 2013
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It is well known that stress can promote positive or negative hormonal and metabolic responses within the body, and new research clarifies that perceived happiness (in its various forms/categories) may follow a similar pattern. Happiness, specifically the neuroendocrine responses associated with the sensation, can promote explicit reactions and adaptations at the molecular level within cells including DNA. According to new research led by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the sense of well-being derived from "a noble purpose" may provide cellular health benefits whereas "simple self-gratification" may have negative effects - despite an overall perceived sense of happiness.


Foods that Accelerate the Appearance of Aging

By: NCSF  on:  Sep 5 2013
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“You are what you eat” is a phrase supporting the numerous effects food and drink play within our physiology. Food stuff can affect how we feel, how effectively we engage mental or physical work, and even how we look. Not all sources of edible products are created equal and they all can have different effects on the systems of our body and even impact our organs, bones, connective tissues, fat stores and muscle. While some nutrients provide age-protecting benefits and assist in improving many aspects of health, others function to the contrary. There exist a few nutrient sources that seem to accelerate the aging process through a number of means when over-consumed in the diet. These foods consequently provide the consumer with the risk of aging more rapidly than their chronological age would indicate. Regular consumption and high doses increase the effects, so consumers should be aware of the types and quantities of food they are consuming.


Weightlifting Should Still Include… Lifting Weight

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 26 2013
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Resistance training is an integral component to any comprehensive fitness program. The benefits are numerous: increased muscular strength, power and/or endurance, muscle hypertrophy, maintenance of lean mass, metabolic improvements, optimized body composition, enhanced bone mineral density, improved athletic performance, flexibility and/or functional movement economy, improved insulin sensitivity, and an overall better quality of life (to name a few). With any resistance training program, the lifts selected can create desirable physiological/psychological improvements – if the activities match the goal(s).


Coffee Calories – They Can Add up Quickly

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 15 2013
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Personal trainers know that the average client desiring to lose weight or optimize body composition can make just a few nutritional modifications to create a significant impact on total caloric intake. One of these simple changes includes negating excess beverage calories. For example, replacing three regular sodas each day with a calorie-free beverage or water can provide for an estimated caloric deficit of 2,500 kcals (assuming 120 calories/beverage) over the course of a single week. After a month, this equals a theoretical equivalent of 2.85 pounds. Considering the impact of this simple (intake) modification it would be prudent of personal trainers to educate their clients on beverages that they should strategically avoid if attempting to lose weight. The major issue with calorically-dense beverages is that they are usually rich in simple sugar and fat and do not provide the same level of satiation as calorically-equivalent foods. Many beverages serve as a surplus of empty calories with limited nutritional value, which likely explains New York’s efforts at reducing sugary beverage intakes.


Questioning Competency without Competency

By: NCSF  on:  Aug 8 2013
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If you have not had a chance to read the recent New York Time’s piece on Personal Training from Frank Bruni it is worth the three minutes. Not because it seems like a humorous attempt by the author to use every word from his thesaurus, nor because the author makes many valid points, or even paints an accurate picture of personal training as a whole; the real value of the read is in understanding people’s perceptions and, whether accurate or not, how those perceptions form opinion and how opinion is used in free press.


Overzealousness and Rhabdo

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 19 2013
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It seems like anywhere you look in the media today fitness enthusiasts are embracing the next “extreme” exercise challenge. Traditional safe and effective exercise techniques have lost some luster, in exchange for “guru”-driven workouts that burn a purported >1000 calories an hour. To put it in perspective, a 200-lb man would have to train at 100% VO2max for the full hour to attain that value – sadly identifying once again the false advertising associated with many of these programs.


Arms Bigger Than Your Legs?

By: NCSF  on:  Jul 8 2013
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It’s a common occurrence - you want to perform compound exercises in the squat rack and someone is performing curls. Whereas Monday seems to be a national chest day in most gyms – everyday is seemingly the ideal time to perform more curls. This likely explains the trend toward minimalist tank tops and cover-up sweat pants. While leg training is a popular activity for women, men tend to spend much more time on their upper physique leading to the so-called “chicken legs”. Certainly pants can quickly cover up the deficiency, but what many upper body enthusiasts fail to realize is the lower body is the key to total body improvements.


US Professionals May be Over-Confident

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 20 2013
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Perhaps it is a cultural phenomenon or just a common character flaw, but Americans seem to demonstrate an ongoing overconfidence in their knowledge and abilities. This has clearly been established by the ongoing skill gap surveys, but also in the average American’s perception of their education and capabilities relative to other countries. On average, 16 other industrialized countries scored above the United States in science, and 23 scored above the U.S. in math. Interestingly though, America’s self assessment places the country in the top 3, suggesting that while Americans are performing in a subpar manner compared the rest of the World, surveys indicate the U.S. population rates themselves as outstanding. This is not only a problem in manufacturing, technologies and work skill readiness across disciplines, but has also bled into the average citizen’s everyday interactions.


ATS publishes clinical practice guidelines on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction

By: NCSF  on:  Jun 6 2013
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The American Thoracic Society (ATS) released new official clinical practice guidelines on the diagnosis and management of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. EIB is the acute airway narrowing that occurs as a result of exercise-induced stress. According to Jonathan Parsons, MD, associate professor of internal medicine and associate director of The Ohio State University Asthma Center and chair of the committee that drafted the statement, "While a large proportion of asthma patients experience exercise-induced respiratory symptoms, EIB also occurs frequently in subjects without asthma." Among asthma suffers EIB is currently unknown, however it is estimated that 20% of those not diagnosed with asthma do suffer from EIB. That number jumps to a range between 30% and 70% for Olympic and elite-level athletes.


Posting Restaurant Caloric Content

By: NCSF  on:  May 16 2013
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Would it help consumers if they could actually make an educated decision on what to eat at restaurants? Would people actually select a breakfast muffin if they knew it had 600 kcal? Unlike cooking at home, diners are subject to menus without complete transparency. While the restaurant industry looks to implement new rules requiring chains with 20 or more locations to post caloric content information, wouldn’t it be reasonable for all restaurants to provide consumers with the nutritional content of their products? With the new federal rules approximately 50% of the nation's restaurant locations but will be exempt from review requirements. To underscore the real concern, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University analyzed meals from independent and small-chain restaurants. They found that on average, per portion size, caloric density was two to three times the estimated calorie needs of an individual adult at a single meal and 66% of typical daily calorie requirements.


Walking as Effective as Running for Disease Prevention

By: NCSF  on:  May 6 2013
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According to the American Heart Association if you cannot run or jog you can just as easily lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes by taking a brisk walk. Recent findings reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology suggest that when walking and running are matched for energy expenditure, the benefits for disease prevention become similar.


Egg White Protein May Help High Blood Pressure

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 17 2013
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Many health conscious consumers already remove the yolk from the high-protein whites of eggs (between 5-7g per serving depending on size) to reduce the fat and cholesterol content. Recent findings suggest that there may be additional benefit to consuming more egg whites; specifically the positive effects it may have on blood pressure. University professors presented their findings at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).


Small Group Coaching

By: NCSF  on:  Apr 3 2013
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The increased popularity of social interaction in guided exercise instruction has allowed personal training to take on an expanded role into small group coaching. This training style allows participants to enjoy instruction from a qualified professional, which in turn provides a greater reach to client markets who otherwise would be unable to participate due to lack of resources or an interest in the one-on-one model. The added benefit, documented from data on participation rates, suggest that the small group model may be superior in terms of retention, weekly participation and overall motivation. There seems to be a matrix between professional instruction, social interaction/inadvertent competition, and the collective motivation of the combined peer and instructor support. This bodes well for all stakeholders and defines an important evaluative component of one’s program. Ensuring it meets these criteria warrants an audit of weekly participation rates, participant perceived value (enjoyment and motivation), as well as the average tenure of participation.


Minimalist Shoes, is it Worth the Switch?

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 18 2013
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Inherently the fitness industry is subject to trends, as exercise enthusiasts tend to gravitate toward novel products and activities. Not surprisingly, when the minimalist trend in shoe wear hit the retail stores many runners and cross trainers quickly hopped on the bandwagon. The popularity of the new shoe features created a rapid market shift with minimalist shoes now making up 15% of the $6.5 billion running shoe market.


Deer Antler for Sport Performance?

By: NCSF  on:  Mar 4 2013
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Similar to the case of androstendione found in Mark McGwire’s locker, the media surrounding Ray Lewis’ miraculous recovery of a normally season-ending injury, due to a simple spray of deer antler extract, once again has stimulated huge attention to a performance supplement. In the case of McGwire, the prohormone was likely being used to mask the later admitted steroid use as research indicated no efficacy and actually an unintended side effect of increased estrodiol among males. Currently the jury is still out on whether the deer antler provides any benefit as a performance enhancing agent, purported to heal cartilage and tendon injuries more quickly while boosting strength and endurance.


Minimize Gym Time While Maximizing Results

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 14 2013
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During the first few months of any new year many struggle to maintain their exercise compliance. Initial motivations are not sustained to support the demands of lifestyle changes. Commonly, the main complaint is not the exercise but the minimal time available to keep up their “ideal” exercise regimen. This perception is often is due in part to the real and perceived occupational, family and social factors that affect our daily lives. For those citing a lack of time as a true determent to fitness, newly-published research may provide some comfort as well as solutions.


Physical Fitness among Children Appears to Improve Cognitive Function

By: NCSF  on:  Feb 4 2013
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As schools continue to cut physical education from the mandatory curriculum to reduce costs, research is progressively showing the importance of daily physical activity in the development of young children’s cognitive abilities.


Training with Someone Bigger, Faster or Stronger Can be The Ultimate Motivator

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 16 2013
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At one time or another, most people have trained with a friend or colleague who was in better physical condition and found themselves achieving impressive results. Common sense suggests that this is due to the motivation to “keep up” with the experienced individual by the weaker counterpart. The mental aspect of falling behind drives them to push harder than they would when left to their own accord. Scientists cite different drivers of motivation including negative/positive reinforcement, support, the availability of spotting assistance, or the sense of accountability and camaraderie that comes with working out in pairs. New research from Kansas State University reinforces this assumption by demonstrating that the key to motivation are the feelings of inadequacy experienced by the less-fit individual.


High Fructose Corn Syrup and Type 2 Diabetes

By: NCSF  on:  Jan 3 2013
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People suffering from Type 2 diabetes have chronically high blood glucose due to insulin resistance. The exact cause of Type 2 diabetes is not known, but research commonly attributes it to obesity and a lack of activity. Recent research estimates that 6.4% of the world population is diabetic. By 2030, the estimate is projected to reach 7.7%, with developing countries experiencing the most significant increases. Complications from Type 2 diabetes include blindness, dementia, gum disease, cardiovascular disease, and a greater risk of lower limb amputations. Furthermore, sufferers typically have a 10-year shorter life span than the general population. A new study conducted by University of Southern California (USC) and University of Oxford research teams indicates that consuming large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may be one of the major contributing factors associated with this rising global epidemic of Type 2 diabetes.

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