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3 Types of Fitness Systems to Avoid if You Are A Beginner

fadsblogSo, let’s say you have never exercised in your life. Sure, you played sports in high school and maybe a couple club leagues in college, who didnt?

Now you’re in your mid 40′s, you have two kids, a 9-5 job, and the only thing fitness related you’ve done is stretching your stomach with quick-ready, preservative-infused minute meals so that you can get to work (or sleep) at a decent time.

One day, you wake up and decide ‘this is no way to live, I need to make a change in my life.’

Congrats! You just took the first step towards reinventing yourself. Now, the next step is where to do it.

There are so many fitness centers out there that it can be an overwhelming nightmare to know where to start. Here is a short list of gym types to avoid when you first starting out.

BIG BOX GYMS

What’s a box gym?

A box gym is the stereotypical gym that you think about whenever someone mentions the word ‘gym.’ These essentially are a wide space floor plan that consists of rows and rows of cardio machines, cable and tension machines, free-weight dumbbells going all the way up to 150lbs, and barbell benches and racks.

So? What’s wrong with that?

Box gyms run on the linear business model of ‘the more people who sign up, the more money they make.’

The average membership of a box gym is only 3-5 months. They take full advantage of the fact that you have no idea what you are doing and will soon leave. They are in the acquisition business, not the retention business.

Take the example of a mother just trying to get fit again from GPP Fitness:

She’s not terribly comfortable in her own skin right now and would like nothing more than to come to the gym, get a workout and go home.  She would like to do this as anonymously as possible.  Invisibly even.  However, unfortunately she has been thrust into the same room to achieve these objectives as those 20 something [people] who view the gym as more of a night club.

This is a fend-for-yourself environment, which is not conducive to someone who needs direction and motivation.

96% of big box gym-ers receive no individual attention or even a head nod in their direction.

That’s why new fitness trends and systems are so sought-after: people need guidance, assistance, or to be shown that their struggles matter.

STUDIOS

Ah the studio. Where a bunch of people collectively follow an instructor who is deaf to the individual’s goals.

Studios center around one type of exercise or physical activity and turn it into an hour long big room class. The issue with these is that they do no provide you with any lasting skills in terms of form, technique, or noticeable strength gains.

The motto is, burn as many calories as possible and try and keep up. Classes like hot yoga, tae bo, tabata, and zumba don’t do much to pander to a new beginner. Moms, dads, newly weds, people who work difficult jobs, or people who are otherwise indisposed by the responsibilities of every day life don’t have th ability to set aside a full hour of doing something somewhat correctly.

Especially when there are far better systems out there that can optimize your results in half that time!

When you’re first starting out, you need a guide. A studio class does not guide you on a personalized path to success, they pull you along a static path with 40 other individuals.

FITNESS FADS

Hair bands, parachute pants, mullets…

parachute-pants-for-men

STOP! Hammer time!

We are all familiar with fads. But what are fitness fads?

Essentially, they are the same as fashion fads. They’re popular for a bit and then die out. Normally, because they simply don’t work.

Tae Bo, aerobics, the ab roller, and boot camps. There have been many, many more throughout the years.

They promise fast results with ease and people purchase memberships by the thousands! But when it comes to creating a foundation and setting yourself up for success, you fall slightly short every time because you are following someone else’s plan. 

You’re also spending more money for less benefit.

The bottom line is, each one of these systems has its merits. Some fads are still popular and for good reason!

However, none of them involve personal 1:1 coaching, which is truly what an individual needs when first starting out.

Instead of walking around a box gym for an hour, not knowing what to do, you could spend 30 minutes with a coach, doing exactly what you need to do. Everyone is different, which means everyone has different needs and goals. Lumping yourself in with 40 other individuals in a group class does nothing for personal development. It just makes you one of the pack.

To make sure you get the best return and results from a new fitness program, play it safe and seek out a coach who can work with you to figure out a well-tailored plan that helps you reach your goals. This is our approach at Koko FitClub (in fact, our name is a Japanese word that means one to one), and the basis for our Smartraining methodology, and it helps our clients build both strength and confidence progressively, for longer lasting results and better adherence to their fitness program.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
—————-
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

How To Train For A Mud Run

mudrun blogAhh the glorious mud run. 

A community event where fitness lovers and adventurers come together to run miles through a series of exhausting, fun, and sometimes scary obstacles. They even throw in tons of free mud to frolic in along the way!

Mud Runs have become increasingly popular among all age groups. The intrinsic value received from completing such a physically demanding task is unmatched. It’s simply the ultimate way to test yourself, challenge yourself, and try to better yourself.

75% of a mud run is preparation. Here is our take on basic conditioning for yours.

CARDIO

The thing about a mud run is that… well… it’s a race. The number one thing to start conditioning for is the large amount of running you will be enduring. Typically the races are around 3-5 miles, but some go as far as 10 miles.

Cardio training to improve endurance is big. Now, you don’t have to be a marathon runner, but you should be able to hoof it on the treadmill for at least 3 miles without hyperventilating.

The good part about mud runs is that you can go at your own pace. So find your pace and base your training around that.

Make sure to switch up the settings to vary your movement patterns. You need to be able to adapt to hills, rough terrain, mud, concrete and gravel while running. Koko‘s cardio programs vary your workouts through intervals, varying speeds, and adjusting incline. You want well-rounded conditioning so you can tackle various terrains.

DIVERSE MOVEMENTS AND DYNAMIC EXERCISES

Mud runs are not a strength contest. The point is to test your abilities on all types of physical obstacles. Climbing, running, crawling, jumping, swinging, and swimming are all  movements that require total body development. And these are the types of movements you’ll be doing, not pushing 200lbs on a bench.

Circuit training is your best friend. It’s perfect for full development and to really get your heart rate up.

It also helps your body adapt to various weight distributions as well as conditions it to switching quickly between different movements. That’s why Koko makes up almost all of its custom workouts through circuits and controlled reps. Koko X specifically focuses on free, natural movements. Precisely like the ones needed to complete a mud run.

DON’T GO IT ALONE

Mud runs are meant to be done with a team. They are your support and backbone through the whole thing. When you think you’re about to quit and can’t push on anymore, your team will be there to tell you – “you got this!”

Train with your team and your community. Whether it is to be fitter, healthier, to raise endurance, or to build strength, reaching for a goal together will be the motivation and support you need. 

Train together, finish together. 

Don’t worry – mud runs come in all shapes and sizes, as well as varying levels of difficulties. It is up to you to judge which ones are a proper fit.

Find the one you like, assess the time you have until the race, and develop a workout plan to reach the goals necessary to complete the race with flying colors.

Work on the things you know you need to work on.

The biggest obstacle is your own brain. Don’t let the idea of a mud run freak you out. Get excited, get pumped, and train as best you can. Remember, these runs are not pitting people against each other. They are here for fun, to test your limits, and to do it alongside others so at the end you can all say “We did this!”

Last but not least – don’t underestimate yourself. You and your body are capable of amazing things. Go out there, crush your mud run, and exceed your own expectations.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
—————-
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

What Does Being Outside Do For Your Body?

fresh air, get up and get out, go outside, spend time outside I love to go and spend time outside. Nothing beats the outdoors, the fresh air, a solid breeze, and warm sunlight. When I come in, I feel better, healthier, more energized, and in less of a stupor. It’s amazing what a small amount of time out in the world can do for you.

Your body is meant to be outside. Getting your time outdoors has actually been shown to increase concentration.

The American Public Health Association published a study that compared levels of concentration in children diagnosed with ADHD. One group played inside, one group played outside for a measure period of time. When tested, the children who received their learning in an outdoor setting were more attentive, seemingly happier, and there was decreased hyperactivity in their behavior.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology did a study on the simple effects of taking a stroll. It had an amazing influence on creativity and productivity. Experiencing nature stimulates your brain into learning new things. That’s why Koko tries to infuse this experience into its cardio programs. The world inspires and drives us.

Some say a 20min walk is as good as a cup of coffee!

And speaking of going out for a walk, that sunshine you’re spending time in is doing wonders for you as well. Direct sunlight not only feels good on your skin, but it kickstarts your Vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D is one of the hardest nutrients to get through food and drink alone. In fact, 80-90% of our Vitamin D intake is through sun exposure. This tricky little nutrient is vital in bone growth, cell growth, inflammation reduction, and immunity.

It’s good to get out and about. The gym is a great place to get exercise, but spending 2 hours in a gym does nothing for your overall health, it only grows your muscles. We believe an efficient 30 to 40 minute workout should be enough, we want you to get out and experience life, not stuck inside! We want you to be fit, but we also want you to be happy.

Getting out and experiencing nature has been proven to drastically reduce stress. This in turn helps reduce anxiety.

That vitamin D you should be getting each day? It also helps in serotonin production and being outside for over 30 minutes provokes dopamine spikes in your brain. These two chemicals play big parts in mood, happiness, and overall disposition. Being outside makes your happier!

Put down that Xbox controller, take your lunch break outside, bring the kids to the park each day, go for a hike with family and friends.

Whatever you do, just make sure you get your daily dose of those golden rays and fresh air.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
—————-
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

3 Reasons You Should Dynamically Stretch

whyyoushouldstretch

Can you touch your toes?

Most American’s have limited flexibility. In fact, according to a study published in Daily Mail, 53% of the population can’t touch their toes.

So why does this matter?

Stretching not only unlocks a myriad of health benefits, but loosens up your body and can keep you feeling fresh. There are different ways of stretching however!

Koko recognizes the benefits of warming up with dynamic stretching over static stretching (pushing your muscle to it’s limit in a stable position). Dynamic means you’re moving as you stretch. The benefits of this style over static stretching include warming up the actual muscles you’ll be using in your workout, better body awareness, and increased muscle performance. Here are 3 reasons you should stretch dynamically.

FLEXIBILITY AND MUSCLE CONTROL

Flexibility keeps you loose and gives you a wider range of motion. There are too many times when a client will attempt a new workout and cannot complete the motion due to their limited flexibility.

If you’re struggling to bend down and tie your shoes, but you can curl 60 pound dumbbells, you need to spend more time warming up!

Having good flexibility and a solid range of motion allows you to incorporate more workouts and variations into your routines. Your muscles will be ready for circuit training when you switch quickly between different exercises.

You will also have far more control over your muscles and stability of your reps, which allows you to extend and contract the appropriate muscles more efficiently.

AVOID INJURY 

Have you ever been hurt playing sports and the coach’s first response is “You should have stretched”?

It is common for athletes to stretch dynamically before and after exercise in order to reduce risk of injury and increase performance. Stretching improves your muscle’s elastic abilities.

We all know that pumped feeling doesn’t last, the blood and lactic acids leave your muscles eventually. However, because you don’t stretch the muscle out, it stays in a semi-contracted state for far too long. Over time, this actually decreases the range of motion your muscle can perform. Maybe not at first, but multiply that semi-contracted state by a year of workouts, and your looking at tight connective tissue that could cause issues.

Stretch it out.

MUSCLE GROWTH

Fitness junkies and weight lifters will berate the need for stretching until the cows come home. They hate stretching because they claim it decreases the ‘pump.’

What if I said stretching actually increased muscle growth?

Your fascia is connective tissue that encloses your muscles and run along your skeletal system. Building muscle over time pushes them to where they “become compressed along the fascia” according to BodyBuilding.com. When this happens, further muscle growth is hindered by the limited expansion of your fascia.

The only way to target and expand your fascia is… you guessed it: Stretching, this includes foam rolling. Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles, increasing the ‘pumped’ feeling and helping your muscles recover more quickly from your workouts. It loosens up the fascia and creates more ‘room’ for your muscle to expand.

The bottom line is, optimal muscle growth is only achievable through routine stretching and taking care of your muscles.

As a sidetone, stretching has just as many mental and spiritual benefits as well as physical. It’s the reason pilates has become such a popular craze, and why yoga is associated with meditation, bodily wellness, and physical fitness. It’s not only good for your body, its good for your mind, and it’s good for stress.

Next time you head to the gym, make sure you stretch.

Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
—————-
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

National Nutrition Month – The ‘All Carbs Are Bad’ Myth

ARE ALL CARBS BAD?

I always hear health-conscious people talking about the dangers of carbohydrates, well I am here to bust the “all carbs are bad” myth. Rather than cut essentials from your diet, proper nutrition means you have to eat from all major food groups.

Fitness goals should not include eliminating specific macronutrients from your diet. Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins all play a specific role in keeping your body healthy. That being said, your hard work at Koko FitClub shouldn’t be spoiled by eating poorly. Each week you can calculate your macronutrients if you’re worried you’re not hitting your necessary goals.

Is that 1/2 lbs. of pasta I inhaled last night considered a carb…?

Well, according to   there is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Certain carbs are processed or refined – meaning anything white or out of a box, carton or package are more than likely to be full of those pesky bad carbs that will pack on the pounds. In terms of pasta, you’re better off in moderation, or switching to whole wheat.

Cut out all the bad. Eliminating cookies, candies, chips, and ice cream would be my first suggestion. Have a goal of keeping your added sugar to 10% of your total calories each day. Sugar is a lot of calories and high levels daily are sure to make you gain weight. This does not include fruits and vegetables which are naturally occurring and contain fiber to eliminate blood sugar spikes. Women, for example, should aim for 100 calories a day or 25 grams of added sugar and within a few weeks will see body fat start to “melt away.”

“To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.”

- Elaine Magee, MPH, RD (WebMD.com)

Make buying fruits and vegetables a habit over buying processed foods and preservative-laden snacks. Eat your sweets in moderation… but if you’re like me, don’t even have them in the house. So, the reality is, most of your caloric intake will consist of carbohydrates, and it is up to you to choose the good over the bad.

Stay Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC
—————-
Koko Fuel provides you with essential diet plans to help you reach your goals.
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.

GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30