One Size Does NOT Fit All

onesizedoesnotfitall

For most people, your chronological age can be an indicator of many things. Your eyesight, your experience level, whether you can drink a beer or not, or if you qualify for a 401k.

But, did you know that your chronological age is not the only category of aging your body can be subjected to?

In fact, a 15 year old can have the same physiological age as a 55 year old. And two 25 year olds can have entirely different developmental ages (their level of cognitive and emotional maturity).

Recognizing the different types of aging is important for understanding your skill level.Koko, for example, takes into account your previous strength aptitude (training age), how old you are (chronological age), and even cognitive skills (developmental age) when developing your specific workout programs. By pinpointing where you stand on these spectrums, we can help you figure out how to start your fitness journey the proper way.

Picture this:

There are two clients, both 50 year old males. They’re both 30 pounds overweight and want to burn some fat because they’re heading somewhere warm with their families over April vacation. On paper they both look the same and want the same thing, but their activities of daily living are very different.

One has an office job where he sits at a desk. The other works in construction and is tackling physically exerting projects each day.

The issue is, we can’t solve their problem the same exact way because they’re two completely different training ages, or, the number of years a person has spent in training or various sports.

Let me explain…

The guy that works in the office is in a state of rest for the majority of his day. He is not contracting and extending the majority of his muscles, he is forgetting to stand up throughout the work day, and his body is in a sitting and hunched position for extended periods of time.

He is equally as de-conditioned as he is dysfunctional.

Guy number 2 is constantly in an active state. He works a job where he is always on his feet, is constantly alert for hazards, and his day involves lots of physical activity like heavy lifting, hammering nails, and climbing ladders.

He is well conditioned and used to physical exertion. However, he may be somewhat dysfunctional (in terms of form, mobility and stability).

So, what’s my point?

Well, while Guy #1 and Guy #2 are of the same age, weight, and share equal goals, theydiffer greatly in their strength, body fat content, range of motion, endurance, and much more. That means their training and physiological ages are different. Each need to start at different weight levels, different motions, and different types of exercises. It is most likely their daily routines will be no where near similar!

Workout programs are NOT one-size-fits-all. Just because that spin class works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects on you. Box gyms try to solve this discrepancy with group training.Group classes and training can be energizing and motivating way to stay engaged in fitness. But what is missing is the individualized attention.

What most people find so appealing about these options is the community aspect — the feeling that you are in it together. Unfortunately, since we all have different body types, needs and training ages, a group style “one size fits all” approach can be less effective for people who need a more personalized solution for their issues or goals….”

People flock to group classes because they are affordable and they’re not ‘going it alone.’ But, you are going it alone. The trainer isn’t stopping to teach you, as long as the majority of the group keeps up, they’re doing their job. Why pay for the class at all if you’re not going to do what your specific body type needs to do?

The fitness industry has a tendency to focus only on your ‘show muscles’. This is because the client (you) will see visible results in a short period of time and therefore will believe the class is working. That way, you’ll buy more group classes to work muscles you don’t actually need to work. Show muscles look nice, but they do nothing to make you live longer or move better.

The bottom line is – everybody has a different training age and body type. Therefore, everybody needs their own personalized workout plan to truly feel better every day and look better! What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. It’s all about personalization, and following the plan that is best for you.

The best way to find this plan, is to find a coach or a gym that works one to one and focuses on what you need.

Stay Koko Fit

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

3 Reasons You Should Dynamically Stretch

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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

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

 

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

‘Abs Are Made In the Kitchen’

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You’re sitting at work and your hunger is eating away at you. Your mind wanders to the thought of a fat sandwich from the deli down on the corner.  It’s fine, you tell yourself, because you’re going to the gym later and you’ll burn off those calories.

You know this isn’t the best rationale, but Summer is still weeks and weeks away, what can one sandwich hurt?

A lot.

Chances are, that sandwich is just one piece of an unhealthy diet. And, unfortunately, you can’t out-exercise a terrible diet. An individual with an average weight of 150 lbs will need to run at least 5 miles to burn off a typical fast food burger.  And let’s be honest, while we may be hitting the gym, most of us are not up for running 5 miles on the treadmill before busting out a 40-minute strength workout.

If you seem to be increasing definition everywhere on your body but your abs just don’t seem to want to come out and play, then that means you’re putting in work at the gym, but your eating habits are not up to par.

 

DON’T GO ON A “DIET” – EAT CLEAN

When we need to lose weight, the initial thought is “I should go on a diet.” However, many rapid weight loss “fad diets”  involve  strict food restrictions with an aggressive calorie cut. Yes, you may lose weight with these “diets”, but that weight will be a combination of fat AND muscle. This unhealthy drop in weight is unsustainable — most people put the weight right back on — and they can lead to all kinds of health issues in the process.

Clean eating is a way of eating that focuses more on a sustainable lifestyle than a “get results quick” approach. At Koko, we believe that eating clean reduces fat content with a healthy and filling nutritional plan that fills your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Eating healthy, whole foods, is the healthier option for lasting effects.

And it’s easy to do.

Simply eat a variety of whole, natural foods that are free from artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Avoid all prepared foods, fast foods, and convenience foods, or, simply, anything in a package. When you eat natural foods that are free from chemicals and additives, you can eat more of them, which fills you up and reduces cravings for junk food and snacks. Simple foods can be eaten in excess without negative weight-related consequences.

Here is a solid macro-nutrient chart to get you started. This includes cholesterol-lowering, unsaturated Fats, lean cuts of Protein for building and repairing muscle,  Complex Carbohydrates designed to digest slowly to prevent blood sugar spikes, and finally, the nutrient-rich Vegetables for the right mix of macro- and micro-nutrients.

You can mix and match these foods throughout your day to get the energy and fuel you need for better results from your workout.

HYDRATION IS KEY

If healthy food is the ab builder, water is the ab maintainer. They go hand in hand. Waterincreases your overall metabolism by 30% and flushes out toxins, but only if you drink 2-3 liters a day!

Another metabolic assistant is green tea, which contains epigallocatechin gallate (try saying that 5 times fast), or EGCG – a natural chemical that increases fat burning. Green tea will detox the heck out of your body and make you feel good as new.
So, remember, abs are made in the kitchen, not only in the gym. You can build up your ab muscles as much as you want, but if your diet does not compliment your regiment you’ll never have that chiseled definition you seek.

The saying is true:  you are, in fact, what you eat.

Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

 

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

 

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

Every Body Is Different

body-type-funny-cartoon

Every body is different… Which means every body should train differently. What works for one, does not necessarily work for another. Contrary to popular fitness belief, one size does not fit all. Even exercise science supports the fact that different body types call for different approaches!

Do you feel like you aren’t building muscle? Or losing weight?

Fear not, because while nutritious eating habits and regular exercise is always the key to being fit, some dilemmas could very well be the result of your genetics (i.e. your body type).

There are three body types. If you don’t know which one you are, BodyBuilding.comprovides a simple test to find out! Knowing the differences between the body types and knowing which category you fall into is a sure-fire way to help you train smarter, not harder.

Ectomorph

Do you have that friend that no matter what they eat they stay skinny as a rail? Well, they’re an ectomorph.

A what…?

According to CoachMag, It means you’re of a lean build, but short on muscle. The main error this category makes is overdoing it on cardio. Their routines should max out at three weight-lifting sessions and two low-energy cardio days per week. Maxing out at the gym  for 5 days straight only speeds up your metabolism and makes it harder to gain muscle!

Tackle these roadblocks with compound moves as opposed to isolation moves. Koko, for example, brings you through full body movements such as the Squat to Standing Row, the One Legged Squat to Row, Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press and Squat to Biceps Curl. This ensures that the proper muscle group is targeted, but it requires the client to use additional muscle groups to complete the exercise.

Endomorph

Do you find yourself storing most your body fat in the middle of your body? If so, you are most likely an endomorph. Quite literally, you are big-boned.

Does that mean my fitness journey is harder?

Absolutely not! It simply means you need to attack your fitness from a different angle. First things first, if you’re spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical… Stop. Intervals and circuits are your best friend. At Koko, we specialize steady circuit training. Circuits keep your body guessing and promote overall body fat loss. Hyper targeting fat with hundreds of crunches is a waste of time.

Endomorphs should also watch their overall carb intake, especially any processed carbs, as excess fuel is most likely to be stored in the gut region. As discussed in last weeks post,carbs are an essential part of your nutrition, but cutting out the unnecessary is the key! Oh, and build those shoulders to offset that pear shape.

Mesomorph

Do you also have that friend that just happens to have the perfect musculature? As in, they could be sent to a desert island with nothing to eat for a month and still come back with that glorious six pack?

Yes…

Well, that’s a mesomorph. And after we get over our jealousy we can observe the fact that even they have to exercise in a specific way to improve upon themselves. The biggest road block with these guys is mindset. Getting yourself to exercise when you don’t think you need to is one of the hardest tasks out there.

To keep themselves from getting too bulky-looking, mesomorphs focus on training athletically. That is, low-reps and power moves. At Koko, their already apparent strength and propensity towards good form is complimented by the Koko X program, which focuses on natural, athletic movements and heavy weights to build muscle. A mesomorph’s dream.

Know your body type! It will drive you in the proper direction on your fitness journey. TheKoko system tracks your lean muscle mass and body fat (eBMI) and combines it with your Koko strength test results. This combination of metrics leaves you with a training routine that will work for you because it is built based upon your body type and fitness goals.

Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

 

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

 

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

Is a Glass of Red Wine Really Equivalent to an Hour at the Gym?

koko-fitclub-feb-wine-and-cheese
There have been numerous studies on the health benefits of an occasional glass of vino, suggesting that a glass of red wine a day can be good for your heart and reduce the risk of developing dementia or certain cancers.
Now, after research conducted by the University of Alberta in Canada found that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, can have similar health benefits to an hour of moderate exercise and may enhance exercise training and performance, a new study by Oregon State University suggests that drinking red wine in moderation could improve the health of overweight people by helping them “burn fat better.”
Red wine helping burn fat better? Go on…
According to the study, consuming dark-colored grapes, whether eating them or drinking juice or wine, might help people better manage obesity and related metabolic disorders such as fatty liver.

In the study, human liver and fat cells were exposed to extracts of natural chemicals found in Muscadine grapes. One of the chemicals, ellagic acid, dramatically “slowed the growth of existing fat cells and formation of new ones” while boosting metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells.

According to Neil Shay, a biochemist and molecular biologist at OSU who was part of the study, these plant chemicals are not a weight-loss miracle. However, by boosting the burning of fat, especially in the liver, they may improve liver function in overweight people. ”If we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing the harmful accumulation of fat in the liver, using common foods like grapes,” Shay said, “that would be good news.”
So, maybe having a glass of wine a day isn’t exactly like getting in a great strength training or cardio workout, but you can enjoy both in moderation at Koko FitClub. Check out a wine and cheese night at a club near you! Contact your local Koko FitClub for details.
Cheers!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub

 

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

 

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.