New Weekly Health & Fitness Tips! “No pain, no gain” has always had limitations. You don’t have to be in constant pain to make progress. This week i talk briefly about soreness due to exercise. Some soreness is normal, unavoidable and typical ok. Some is not. Normal soreness should be infrequent and bi-lateral. In other words, if one arm or leg is sore, the other side should be equally sore. This kind of soreness is mostly due to microscopic tears in the muscles, which sounds bad but is actual very normal, due to them having to work against incoming resistance. But there are other kinds of soreness, which affects areas in a way that is not productive and may even be harmful. They may even seem similar to the good kind but are more intense and shouldn’t be frequent, or chronic. Don’t seek out soreness. Instead, gradually disrupt your homeostasis. Too much damage done too often is to be avoided. “Stimulate, don’t annihilate”. Progress can be made without killing yourself in the gym. So my questions is always this, When is it really ok to be really sore on a regular basis? The answer is, it’s not ok. Say what you want, do what you will but trust me, being sore on a regular basis, to the point of altering the way you were meant to move, is almost always gonna be wrong, especially if done intentially.

February 6, 2017
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January 23, 2015

Ideas for a better warmup:
THE “Old” WARMUP (5-15min): Most people just hop on a treadmill or stationary bike for anywhere from 5-20 minutes to “warmup”. This works but it’s most likely not as effective as other options. Guys who plan on lifting “heavy” weights often ONLY warmup by doing light warmup-sets of their chosen exercise(s) for the day. Again, this also works but considering the fact that most of us know we need more stretching in our lives, including at least a few simple stretches in the warmup might be more optimal. Often guys are also scared to stretch before they lift because, “rumor has it”, you won’t get as big and strong. While it may be true that doing a marathon stretching session before lifting might be counterproductive for some, including other “types” of stretching has proven to actually increase strength & performance when done correctly. Lastly, some folks do their “cardio” first before lifting “weights”, i would assume in hopes of losing some unwanted body fat. Again, this is probably not the best idea UNLESS you are primarily seeking to increase your endurance for a specific event, competition or occupation. But for everyone else, i don’t recommend it. Ever, really. Normally, too much “cardio” before “lifting weights” interferes with… you guessed it, the weights. (And just to clarify, “weights”, “lifting”, “lifting weights” “strength machines”, “strength training”, “resistance training”, “body weight training”, “calisthenics”, “hard yoga”, “hard pilates”, etc are ALL basically the same thing!) “The primary purpose of resistance training is to get stronger, and for some, also build muscle. Both these things can also indirectly aid with fat loss. But keep in mind, getting stronger and building muscle both require INTENSITY to get the desired results. So don’t empty your fuel tank too early by doing too much in the warmup. If your goal is fat-loss, getting stronger or packing on more muscle, try including a short, intense 10-minute “interval session” after “weights” (aka “a finisher”). I’d also recommend doing your longer “cardio” workouts or group classes on another day, all by themselves, if you have the time available.

THE “New” WARMUP (5-10) So here we go. Here are some new things to try as your “warmup”. First and foremost, correct breathing is essential and often overlooked. This means breathing deeply from your diaphragm, through your nose. Keep this in mind as you warmup and proceed to the rest of your workout. I often tell people to do all movements at a pace that allows you sync your breathing with each repeat of that movement. Start your warmup by massaging some of the major muscles regions (back, legs, hips, calves) with a Foam Roller. (This is what most professional athletes do.)Most gyms have them. Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc all sell them for $30 or less). Then do a few safe Dynamic Stretches (aka “moving stretches”). Google this. Then perform a few easy body-weight warmup movements, focusing on stabilizing your spine and moving your many joints about (especially the hip & arm sockets). To summarize, you could very quickly Foam Roll 2-3 major areas of your body, do 2-3 full body stretches and 2-3 major body-weight movements (easy pushups, easy pulling & easy squatting), and be done in less than 10 minutes. You could even include 1-2 “core” exercises near the end or even devote some of the time to practice a new exercise (with no weight or a light weight) that maybe needs some practice. If you really want to hit everything, perform all the primitive movement patterns every time you warmup. (Check out any of Mark Verstegen’s Books). Research all this stuff! Educate yourself. It’s free. Keep things simple. Many things could work. Just keep this in mind, the purpose of a “warmup” is to get you prepared/ramped-up for the harder work ahead, not beat you done prematurely. The key is always to maximize your time, this should include not wasting any precious time doing useless sh*t during a warmup. You may want extend your warmup longer if you are sore or dealing with an injury, have specific “corrective exercises” you know you need to include, it’s really cold outside or you just woke up. We all know we need to stretch more, etc. Include these type things in your warmup and you can always get a lot done in each session, regardless of time. Density is the key.
– Carlton

p.s. Keep things simple. Always. I know i mentioned a lot of things, and that was just the silly warmup. lol. The reality is that the details of exercise and programming can easily start to bog any mind down. So don’t let it. Start by including just one new thing next time your workout. Build on that over time. The point is to move more, move better. There will probably never be a “perfect” way. And while some will waste time searching tirelessly for that, you should be out there getting work done. Time is of the essence. Ask for help if you need it. Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy.


Carlton’s Guide to Essential Reading for the Personal Trainer – Summer 2013

June 21, 2013

milo from croton with calfCarlton’s Guide to Essential Reading for the Personal Trainer – Summer 2013

*This is simply a short list of some of my favorite and most referenced books. It is in no way a complete list of essential reading for a fitness professional. However, with the wealth of material out there, it is easy to become discouraged by the mere thought of the time it might take to read & absorb so much material, that may or may not all be worth the time. Here i have tried to make things a little easier for someone starting off in the business and wishing to simultaneously gain knowledge and perspective. This list includes some classics as well as more modern reference material on various subjects. My objective was to create as short a list as possible of some great reference material while also implementing some reading for historic perspective and fun. Enjoy.

1. Dan John – “Intervention”

2. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Power to the People”.

3. Michael Boyle – “Advances in Functional Training”

3. Paul Chek – “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy”

4. Mark Verstegen – “Core Performance”

5. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Naked Warrior”

6. Mark Rippetoe – “Starting Strength”

7. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Enter the Kettlebell”

8. Clair Davies – “Trigger Point Therapy Workbook”

9. Gray Cook – “Athletic Body in Balance”

10. Ross Enamait – “Infinite Intensity”

11. Robert Dos Remedios – “Men’s Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles with through Performance-based Conditioning”

12. Bill Starr – “The Strongest Shall Survive”

13. Shirley Sahrmann – “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Sndromes”

14. Mark Rippetoe – “Practical Programming”

15. Dr. Mehmet Oz – “You: The Owner’s Manual”

16. Arthur Saxon – “The Development of Physical Power”

17. Stuart McGill – “Low Back Disorders”

18. Arnold Schwarzenegger – “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding”

19. Martin Rooney – “Training for Warriors”

20. Martin Rooney – “Warrior Cardio”

21. National Academy of Sports Medicine – “Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional” 2004 Second edition

22. Steven Low – “Overcoming Gravity”

23. Joseph H. Pilates – A Pilates’ Primer: The Millennium Edition

24. Alan Calvert – “Super-Strength”

25. Steve Vickery and Marilyn Moffat – “The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair”

26. Bruce Lee and John Little – “The Art of Expressing the Human Body”

27. Ross Enamait – “Never Gymless : An Excuse-free System for Total Fitness”

28. Dan John – “Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning”

29. Rachel Cosgrove – “The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want”

30. Andrew Weil – “Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health”

31. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza – “Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza


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