All the time, I hear fitness professionals tell their clients not to exercise above a certain heart rate, as if it were bad for people to run or bike fast. Target heart rate has become a buzz phrase. Even many cardio machines display a “fat-burning zone” on their panels, encouraging people to exercise in a specific heart rate range. Have you ever wondered if your clients really have to exercise in a specific heart rate zone to lose fat? And what happens if they venture out of that zone?
Whether you enjoy watching The Biggest Loser or you find it offensive, you have to admit that this primetime TV program has been effective in showcasing health and fitness to millions of people around the world. Last month, IDEA published “Weighing in on The Biggest Loser,” an in-depth feature story on the topic.
As personal trainers, you are continually seeking new and better programs to help clients attain their aerobic activity goals and maximize caloric expenditure in their endurance workouts. To help you better understand fat burning, caloric expenditure and exercise, here are answers to four controversial questions on this subject.
Plyometrics—a type of movement involving the legs, core or upper extremities—uses a quick, eccentric-concentric phase to harness elastic muscle properties while using neural drive to increase the number of active motor units, thus netting explosive power and acceleration (Twist 2008).
They say there is no such thing as bad free advertising, but in the case of The Biggest Loser TV show, I disagree vehemently. These so-called trainers are giving reputable and ethical personal trainers a bad image. As a former college instructor of exercise science, I used the show’s trainers, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, as examples to my students of what not to be and how not to train. They are what I call “Hollywood” trainers, hired to get actors and models ready for their professional roles in a very short time span.
Sport mimics life in that both are dynamic and ever-changing. Athletes are always preparing to meet the demands of their sport while also working to elevate their performance thresholds to new levels. In sports, as in most things in life, athletes need the ability to read and react in an
environment of organized chaos.
Do slight changes in body position affect muscle activation during strength exercises? The only way to truly know which muscles are used during an exercise is to measure their electrical activity with an electromyogram (EMG), the skeletal muscle equivalent of an electrocardiogram for your heart. Well, guess what? Scientists have done just that. Let’s take a look at how different body positions affect muscle activity during some common weight training exercises.