What Does Being Outside Do For Your Body?

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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 toincrease 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

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


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

Reasons to Never Skip Leg Day

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Man, I hate leg day!

If I had a nickel for every time I saw this statement posted on Facebook or spoken aloud. I’d be filthy, filthy rich.

So why should you include legs? Here are a few reasons for you because friends don’t let friends skip leg day!

TOTAL BODY DEVELOPMENT

Have you ever seen the gym ‘lunk’ who can bench press a mid-sized sedan, but his legs can be used to clean in-between teeth?

Reason number one to never skip legs is you’ll look like Johnny Bravo from Cartoon Network.

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While you may be focusing more on your “show muscles” like core, arms, and chest, keep in mind your legs are the source of all your power. Stability, balance, endurance, and range of motion are all dependent on legs.

Where do soccer players get the energy to sprint for the ball? Where do baseball players get their power behind their swing?

Simple tasks such as lifting boxes, climbing stairs, or moving furniture are all accomplished through leg strength.

The only way to properly succeed in your fitness journey is to shoot for total body development. “Show muscles” look good, but working in the legs is a sure way to feel better and live healthier. According to bodybuilding.com

“…all of us need good leg development for a complete body, no matter who you are. Aside from looking good, well developed legs will help you in just about any sport since they are an integral source of power. I mean, if you don’t have decent leg development it makes you look like you are too lazy to put in the work for legs.” – Joe Corleone

If you can’t fit a solid leg day into your routine, then sprinkle leg exercises into your circuit training routines. Every day is leg day. That’s why Koko includes leg presses, leg lifts, and squats into your programs. We believe in well-rounded fitness and overall body development.

BIG MUSCLES NEED BIG ATTENTION

Your legs are comprised of 3 major muscles: hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteus maximus. They are some of the biggest muscles in your body. They need to be big to endure the constant muscle strain that comes with basic daily movements.

Think about all the times you call upon your legs during the day: walking from place to place, up and down stairs, driving, lifting groceries, getting out of bed, and more.

Now ask yourself, why wouldn’t you want to improve the muscles that make all of this possible?

Gym-goers – on average – do not realize the benefits of building leg muscles. Or they just don’t want to waste the time they could otherwise spend curling or bench pressing.

Because we use our legs so much they are outfitted with a higher proportion of endurance muscle fibers than the chest or biceps. Therefore, in laymen’s terms, your big muscles need the most attention when working out.

Ignoring these muscles causes decreased endurance, lower stability, slow reflexes, and actually reduces the amount of hormones released during your workouts!

You need to treat your legs as you treat your chest or arms: hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em often.

INCREASE CORE STRENGTH AND MUSCLE GROWTH 

Legs not only help you stabilize and lift even more weight, they help define the rest of your body (especially your core).

If you’re struggling to chisel out that 6 pack with countless sit-ups, planks, and Russian twists… Stop and squat.

When you tighten your core muscles to stabilize during a squat, you’re building definition and exhausting your leg muscles at the same time. If you remember from the stretching article, the best path to muscle growth is to exhaust it to where is stretches out your muscle fascia.

Exercises that focus on your quads, hammies, and butt typically involve full body control and deliberate movements. Achieving these movements is only possible by engaging the rest of your body, specifically your abdominals and obliques. So rack up the heavy weights and push your body. The more legs you do, the better your abs will look, which is another reason why they fit so well with circuit routines.

Long story short, if you want to improve your body tone, overall endurance and strength, then you need to include legs in your routine.

Whether you set aside one day a week or if you follow our recommendation and fit them into your circuits or HIIT…Never skip leg day.

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.

Every Body Is Different

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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.

Why Individualized Coaching Matters for Fitness Success

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When it comes to fitness, most people don’t know what to do. As a result, they give up before they can see results from their exercise program.

A fitness plan should be as personal and individualized as a financial plan, and should be managed by a trained expert. Most of us would never trust ourselves to manage our own financial portfolio. We hire accountants, lawyers and financial planners to help us manage these important pieces of our lives. And yet, when it comes to fitness — our bodies and our health — so many people choose to go it alone, and are surprised when they fail.

The doctor shouldn’t be the only professional advice you seek when it comes to having a healthy body and lifestyle. Having the help of a fitness coach to plan and guide you through your workout program can be the difference between fitness failure and fitness success.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), “the effectiveness of fitness coaching is typically determined by improved lifestyle changes and reductions in illness and disease. Fitness coaching has been researched within adult populations and appears to be beneficial for promoting fitness and exercise adherence.”

Having a fitness coach is no longer an unattainable luxury. Consider seeking the help of a fitness coach to navigate the fitness landscape and show you how to workout for your body, your goals and your ability. A fitness coach can help:

  • Establish realistic goals
  • Identify the right fitness program to follow
  • Learn the proper use of gym equipment
  • Determine how and when to increase the intensity of your exercise
  • Properly measure the effectiveness of your program
  • Demonstrate proper exercise form and technique

Most of the time, beginners to exercise programs don’t know where to start. They follow routines found online, in magazines, or recommended by friends. When these programs — which are not tailored to the individual — fail to provide results, most people give up on exercise all together.

And those who have been exercising for years may not realize that changing up their routine could yield better results. People tend to do what they enjoy, or what feels comfortable to them. Many overwork the same muscles over and over because they prefer certain exercises for their favorite muscle groups, without understanding how or why to work the entire body and all its muscles. Failing to progress in fitness can lead to failure or boredom.

So, why should you hire a fitness coach? We asked nationally recognized fitness expert, Drew Massey, Director of Training for GameTime Sports & Training and Master Coach for FreeMotion Fitness, for his thoughts:

  • Accountability. A coach will hold you accountable. It’s hard to cancel on a workout or dog it when you’re coach is there waiting for you, ready to work side by side with a you. A coach’s job is to help you be successful. A great coach has an innate desire to help people, and won’t rest until you’ve worked to the best of your ability.
  • Individualized Experience. A coach will give you a training experience that is tailored to your needs. Your coach should get to know you and, through his or her professional experience, will tailor the workout to your needs. Needs can change from day to day, and a good coach will understand where you are coming from, where you are today, and where you want to go – and will work with you a bit differently each day to make sure you are doing the right thing at the right time.
  • Motivation & Adherence. A coach is going to make sure you stick to your program and advance towards your goals. When you need a shot of positivity, energy and enthusiasm, a coach is going to make sure you get what you need to get the workout done well.

So if you are looking for one-to-one attention, a program built and managed just for you, and the expertise to measure the effectiveness of your workouts, then a fitness coach could be right for you. Ask your gym about their coaching staff, certifications and qualifications and find the right coaching team to help you succeed.

– Lauren Dell’Olio, Master FitCoach and Editor, The Stronger Blog


 

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


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

 

About Lauren Dell’Olio

Lauren Dell’Olio is a Fitness Life Correspondent and Managing Editor of The Stronger Blog. Lauren brings her perspective as a working mother of three, lifelong fitness enthusiast, marathon runner and “foodie” to the Stronger Blog. Lauren joined the Koko FitClub corporate team in 2008 as one of the company’s early employees and currently serves as Director of Marketing, with a focus on member experience, content development, social media and digital strategy. Since Lauren joined Koko, the company has grown from 1 to 125+ locations nationwide, serving over 20,000 members. Lauren and her family live in Norwell, MA.

Do You Need to Change Your Exercise and Diet Mindset?

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How many times you have tried an exercise or diet routine but, for whatever reason, it just never “worked out” for you? Perhaps you had some success initially and then, as time progressed, you lost interest or your results weren’t significant enough to keep you going.

Could this be the year for an altogether different approach to your exercise routine and diet habits? Many of us complicate the process of getting — and then staying — in shape. We need to return to the basics and remember to always keep it simple. Think about your diet and workout history for a moment. What worked for you initially, and what inevitably did not? Fundamentally, it’s all about mindset: being in the right frame of mind to do what needs to be done. To position you for fitness success this year, we must first work on changing your mindset as the new year approaches.

“Your mindset is your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits.  And your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do.  Your mind-set impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of you.” (credit: http://sourcesofinsight.com)

Now that you’re starting with a clean slate, be honest about exercise. If you are like most people, you may not even like to work out! If that is true for you, it’s not a problem. You must, however, be mindful of it and be more creative with your thinking in terms of how to add more movement into your day. You need to make a list of the top five to ten activities you like doing or would like to try — instead of the traditional types of exercise you tried in the past — and then incorporate these items from your new list. Maybe it’s yoga, hiking, trail running, dancing, an obstacle course race or a boot camp type class with friends.

 

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As Michelle Segar, PhD, states in her informative book, No Sweat (Amacom, 2015), don’t think of it as a chore but more of a gift to yourself. Everything you do during the day can start to count as “exercise” if you think of it differently. Dr. Segar believes, as a result of more than twenty years of research, that there are six ideas that create the context for successfully negotiating more physical activity within a persons busy life and “cultivating lifelong sustainability.” Dr. Segar goes on to state in her book:

“Having a learning mindset and goals will lead you to intrinsic motivation, persistence, and resilience so you can better sustain your behavioral and well-being aims.”

In addition, you may need to change your mindset in respect to nutrition and how you’re fueling your body on a daily basis. The goal here is to start with one small nutritional change, be successful, and then move to a second small change. It could be as easy as drinking more water first thing when you wake and again before each meal. It may include eliminating the “extra” calories you’re taking in daily through alcohol, sports drinks, soda, juices, etc. Maybe it’s adding more protein into the mix, to keep you satiated longer; your body always works harder to digest protein compared to fats or carbohydrates. That is a good thing because you will expend additional calories for this particular metabolic process to occur. This could be the year that you finally work on getting more fiber into your daily diet. A good goal could be 14 grams for every 1000 calories you consume.

Finally, one small change that could unleash significant changes in body composition is to eat less added sugar each day. Remember that we are not talking about fruits, vegetables, or milk but everything else out of a can, package, box or carton. Eat no more than 38 grams a day (150 calories) or 25 grams a day (100 calories) for men and women respectively. These are just a few examples of small changes that could pay back big dividends over the course of the next few months if implemented now. Your goal is to find activities that you like to do and the by-product will be “exercise” then make one small nutritional change each week over the course of the next month. Maybe it’s more simple than some of us have been lead to believe.

– 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.