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.

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.

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.

Age is No Obstacle

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We love featuring member success stories here on The Stronger Blog, and today’s story is from Charles Brueck of Texas who, at 49, had a strong finish at the Spartan Race obstacle challenge, impressing some younger racers as he blew past them. Below, Charles shares his own “Why I Koko” story. We hope you are as inspired as we are. Stay Koko Strong, Charles!

– Michael Wood, CSCS

This is why I KOKO, by Charles Brueck

My Spartan Race Results:

  • Distance – 9.57 mi
  • Obstacles – 23
  • Time – 2:56:51
  • Overall – 314 out of 2252
  • Males – 264 out of 1490
  • Males Ages 45-50 – 16 out of 85

Waiting to go over the 8’ wall a guy said, “hey I hope you don’t mind me asking but how old are you?  I was just wondering because you just blew by me on the hill back there and you’re a beast.”

I said I’m 49.  He said, “OMG I want to be you when I’m 49.”  It made me feel really good.  Especially considering only 3 years ago I had an extra 100 lbs on me.  I’ve gone from a 44” waist to a 29” and was a borderline diabetic to my most recent physical where I was described as “in amazing shape.”  Was it easy?  No, it took a lot of hard work and discipline but it can be done.  I enjoy my life so much more now and KOKO was a pivotal part of my recovery.

I’ll run the Spartan Sprint at Texas Stadium in June and complete the Spartan Trifecta in October when I run the 15 mile Spartan Beast in Glen Rose.


 

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.

Let’s hear it for FIT MOMS!

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday and moms everywhere will be showered with gifts and whisked off to brunch  to say “thank you” for everything they do for us.

Moms tend to do for others before they take care of themselves.  So, Mother’s Day is typically a day — just one day, mind you — to let mom take a breather, put her feet up, have a mimosa, relax a bit.

At Koko, our moms are a little different. They aren’t used to “taking it easy”. They charge ahead into life. They want to take their strong, Koko bodies out in the world and do something challenging, something fun. When they “put their feet up”, they put them up to tie their trail shoes and climb a mountain, baby.

So, this weekend, let’s celebrate our moms who MOVE. Take mom and the kids for a hike. Bring mom on a bike ride and plan a picnic in the park. Give mom the time she wants to go for a run, get  in a perfect workout.  Celebrate her for the awesome, strong woman she is, and tell her you are proud.

And, if you could, please clean the house and pick up all those dirty socks. She’ll appreciate it. ;)

Happy Mother’s Day!


 

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.