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.

What Type of Exercise Does Your Body Need As You Age?

We all have different needs when it comes to exercise, and those needs continue to change as we age. When was the last time you really thought about your exercise routine, and more importantly, are you experiencing gains with your current program? Maybe what worked once at an earlier age for whatever reasons does not seem to work now.

First, celebrate your success. You have continued to exercise all these years and that’s a good thing even if – at times – it may not be as evident when you step onto your bathroom scale. Keep in mind, more than 30 percent of Americans do not exercise at all and only about 5 percent of the population exercise at what is considered a vigorous level. Approximately 69 percent of Americans are currently overweight or obese.

All that work has done wonders for your mind, body and spirit. It has helped maintain your strength and lean muscle levels. A loss of muscle tissue occurs, for those who do not exercise, at a rate of about half a pound a year or 5 pounds per decade. As this happens, a few of the many by-products are loss of strength, power and balance. The average person who does not exercise experiences an 8 percent drop in their strength level per decade. By the time someone reaches age 65 they have about 25 percent less strength compared to when they were 30 years old.  On the aerobic side of things you lose about 10 percent of your aerobic capacity each decade after age 40. There is potential to lose as much as 25 percent of bone in both sexes, as a result of inactivity, sitting to much and menopausal transition in women. With all this decline comes balance issues and additional problems with functionality, that could ultimately lead to a loss of independence.

Where are you today?

Write down what you and your body really need to get out of all this time you invest in yourself with exercise. You don’t own it until you write it down.

Needs Analysis

Prior to beginning any type of exercise program, it is essential that you undergo a needs analysis. The goal of this analysis is to create clearly defined goals that will help you make the most progress from your training. Ask yourself, what does your body really need at this point in time? Maybe you need more mobility work and less pounding (running) or loading (lifting weights). You may have been doing a lot of strength or cardio work but how is your balance? When was the last time you treated yourself to a good massage or took a yoga class? Find out what you need (by testing yourself) and set some goals.

2012-09-07-screenshot20120907at2-09-03pmMobility work: Thoracic spine rotation. Photo credit: http://huffingtonpost.com

Assessment

Work with a coach and complete an assessment to determine where you stand regarding the following areas:

  • Body Composition
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Aerobic/Anaerobic ability
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

Ask yourself:  How do you judge improvement if you don’t measure it?

Exercise Program

This is where most of us get lost and end up wasting a great deal of time. The first goal is to find out what’s tight and lengthen it and then what’s weak and strengthen it. The second goal should be to get an individual to move better, also known as movement competency. Once an individual can execute a movement efficiently and with full range of motion, like a Squat or Deadlift, then and only then should the volume be increased. When someone cannot execute a particular movement pattern correctly, do not increase repetitions, the number of sets or especially the load.

Focus on primary movement patterns using the Big 6 when it comes to your routine and don’t sweat the small stuff:

  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Carry
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull

An optimum training program should increase strength, power, improve cardiovascular fitness and more. A strength and conditioning program should change body composition by way of adding lean muscle tissue and decreasing body fat. Balance should improve and flexibility and mobility should increase. But you won’t know if you don’t periodically measure it. Is this the case for you?

Focus on adding in a bout of sprint work to your weekly cardio routine. This can come in the form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) involving, as an example, sprinting or rowing. Focus more on quality rather than quantity when it comes to HIIT and remember the key is manipulating the intensity.

Finally, focus on adding in more mobility work each time you exercise and make it part of your recovery process on off days.

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Foam Roller. Photo credit: http://t-nation.com

Prescription

  • Strength training (Big 6) 2-3x/week.
  • Fitness: Elevate your heart rate 2-3x/week for 15-30:00 (wear a heart rate monitor). Add HIIT at least once a week.
  • Power: work on vertical or horizontal jumping 1x/week (jump rope, box jumps, DOT drill, etc.)
  • Add more mobility work (foam roller etc.).
  • Do Yoga
  • Baseline/Follow-up Assessment

 

– 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.

Back-to-School = Time for Fitness

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It’s back-to-school season, and busy parents everywhere are running around, preparing to manage new routines, juggling schedules and shuffling the kiddos from one activity to the next. Whether it’s gymnastics, soccer practice, baseball, karate, dance, football — as a parent, you make it a priority to ensure your kids stay active and live healthy, happy, well-balanced and lives.

You do your best to put your kids on a path to a healthy and fit life. But, what about you?

Are you seated in the waiting room, or on the sidelines, while your kids are physically active? What are you doing to improve your health and the quality (and quantity) of your life?

There never seems to be enough time for Mom and Dad to take care of themselves. It’s easy to say, “I’m too busy,” and do another errand rather than hit the gym. But when you make fitness a priority for the entire family, you are setting a healthy example and establishing a lifestyle that kids will have for life.

You don’t need an hour a day to lose weight or get into great shape. While kids are at practice, you can get in a workout for yourself and start making changes to your body and your life.

Taking just 15-30 minutes for a workout is important for managing stress, looking good, and feeling good – for you, as well as your partner. And research suggests that shorter workouts might just be more effective than longer ones.

A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that as little as 15 minutes of strength training was just as effective at boosting participants’ metabolism as longer workouts. Strength training builds muscle, and muscle not only looks great, it also burns calories.

The quality over quantity trend is growing. Trainers and coaches have begun advocating for shorter, less-frequent workout regimens – claiming that they are much more efficient for weight loss and muscle-building. This high-intensity interval training concept (HIIT) can yield better results in just 15 minutes a few times a week than the standard formula of a 30- to 60-minute workout done more frequently.

HIIT is a method of interval training that involves alternating between periods of short, intense physical activity and fixed periods of recovery, or rest, with a goal of optimal efficiency – getting the best results in the a shorter amount of time.

With workouts this short, you can be done with your workout and back to pick up the kids from their karate lessons. Just 2-3 times a week is all you need to build the habit and start to see great results.

You CAN be that fit, strong person you’ve always wanted to be – for yourself and your family. Don’t just do it for you – do it for the kids!


 

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.