Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pistachio Containing Products Contaminated With Salmonella



Category: Food and Nutrition

Salmonella contamination has been discovered in pistachio nuts (from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella), but this does not only affect products from Setton, but also products from other companies containing Setton’s pistachios. For example, Kraft Foods found one of its trail mix with Salmonella and traced it to the pistachios in the trail mix.

Since a lot of information is still not yet availabl, I highly recommend staying away from any products that contain pistachios for now. Read your labels ("ingredients" section) to check for pistachios.

For more information about the contaminated pistachios and pistachio containing products, go to:

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2009/NEW01982.html

http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/setton03_09.html

For general information about what salmonella is, go to:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/salmonella-eng.php

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can Chocolate Inhibit Calcium Absorption and Decrease Bone Density?



Chocolate contains a substance (oxalate) which may inhibit the absorption of calcium. This, theoretically, would lead to lower bone density, as found for women in one study. However, more studies need be done, especially when chocolate contains flavanoids (good substances beneficial to bones).

I don't normally recommend eating chocolate anyway because of higher caloric density. You could get the same nutrients (antioxidants) from fruits. To strengthen your bones, I recommend having more dairy products such as milk and yogurt (especially if you do eat chocolate.)

For more information, go to:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calcium/AN01294

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lobsters and Crabs Can Feel Pain - How To Cook Humanely



Category: Food and Spiritual Conscience

We have to reconsider the way we cook lobsters and crabs. The assumption that the nervous systems of lobsters and crabs are too simple have been proven to be false by some studies. (See references below. Feel free to email me at healthsciencewriter@gmail.com for actual copies of the studies or if you want additional studies. I would be happy to serve you with the research I've already done.) They do feel pain when boiled alive or de-clawed.

Humane methods of cooking these arthropods include:

1. Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to numb the creature before boiling.
Place in already boiling water.

2. Quick kill with knife as shown at
http://cooking-lobster.com/cooking-lobster/lobster-killing.html
This method if not executed correctly may cause injury. Please consult a professional.


References
Barr, S., Laming, P., Dick, J., and Elwood, R. 2007. Nociception or pain in a decapod crustacean. Animal Behaviour, 75, 745-751.

Patterson, L., Dick, J., and Elwood,R. 2007. Physiological stress responses in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, to the fishery practice of de-clawing. Marine Biology, 152:2, 265-272.


Disclaimer: Please consult a professional before using any methods described in this blog. The author is not liable for any damages or injuries.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Front Page Article on Diet Pills and Supplements



If you want to learn about the general risk of diet pills and supplements, check out my article (the cover story of the recent issue of Bay Currents) at:


http://baycurrents.net/BCpdf/BCV5N9.pdf


(You can also find Bay Currents distributed all over Brooklyn.)

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Don't Have To Be An Expert To Be In Shape



On yesterday’s blog, I shared with you my personal experience with losing my fat weight years ago. Some of you may be saying, “Of course you were able to lose weight. You are a fitness and nutrition expert with your degree and certification.

Yes, I am an expert in this stuff and I have even done research for prominent professors in nutrition science and exercise science. However, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to be an expert in order to get in shape. As I may have mentioned in previous blogs, some of the out-of-shape professors I’ve worked for were the experts of experts. Yet, they are still overweight. In contrast, I know of cases of ordinary people who got in shape. I am sure you also know some. Clearly, you don’t have to be an expert to get in shape.

However, gaining sound knowledge in nutrition, fitness, and health is important. But there are other just as important areas (if not more important), such as learning spiritual and mental strategies, figuring out the right approach, and getting other areas of your life together such as managing your time.

In addition to providing sound nutrition, fitness, and health information, I will in this blog continue to provide guidance in spiritual and mental understanding as they relate to fitness. If you continue to read this blog, you will become more and more fit, and you will realize more and more that you don't have to be an expert to be fit.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Thursday, March 19, 2009

To Get Into Your Desired Shape, Take 100% Responsibility



"You have to take 100% responsibility for your life," teaches Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup series. We understand this to be true for many areas of our lives, but many of us neglect this for our physical fitness.

If your finances are not where you want it to be, those who are financially successful know that you can only turn things around by first taking 100% responsibility. You can think (incorrectly) that everyone who is financially successful are trust fund babies or just plain lucky. But you will never become financially successful if you think that way. If you are a student and your grades are not where you want them to be, the academically successful students will tell you that you have to take 100% responsibility and figure out how to improve your study habits, time management, and brain power.

I think everyone who has the most basic common sense is with me so far. However, the same concept also applies to your physical state. Are you not as skinny as you like? Are you not as muscular as you like? Are you not as fast or agile as you like? If your physical fitness is not where you want it to be, you must begin with taking 100% responsibility for you physical state. You will never turn things around if you think - I'm overweight only because of my bad genes and there's nothing I can do to change that. You will never turn things around if you think - I am overweight because my husband/my wife/my sister/my brother/my mother/my father tempts me with all these unhealthy foods and snacks. Many people start with the belief (conscious or subconscious) that they are not in control. Therefore, they doom themselves to fail from the beginning.

At the college (where I spend part of my time teaching students how to write and tutoring students in health), one of my overweight colleagues there once said to me, "I am jealous of you. You could eat anything and not gain weight." Annie (not her real name of course) neglects to observe the difference in our eating habits. Although I've only known her for two years, I do notice differences such as my drinking of black coffee without adding any sugar, cream, or anything. She adds lots of sugar and cream to her coffee. I usually eat oatmeal snacks throughout the day which make others around me cringe. She eats more fattening snacks. Annie chooses (probably subconsciously) to ignore these differences in habits, because it's easier to think that she is overweight only because of her genes, and I am in shape because I am "lucky".

As Annie doesn't really know me at a personal level, she doesn't see me when I am at the gym two to four times per week. Although other colleagues know this, Annie chooses not to remember this about me. It's easier for her to think that I am in shape because I am "lucky".

Again, Annie only has only known me for two years. She didn't know me eight years ago when I was almost 20 pounds heavier and had approximately 10% more body fat than I do now. I also had less lean muscle because of a more sedentary lifestyle working comfortably at a research lab and living comfortably in suburban California where I drove everywhere, rarely having to take more than twenty steps. It doesn't help that the men in my family (such as my father) generally start to balloon up, or gain significant weight, in their thirties. That's the trend with the men in my family, but I started to balloon up in my twenties probably because of the suburban lifestyle factor (until I consciously decided to turn things around).

Annie also didn't know me when I began to turn things around in 2002 by improving my eating habits and exercising habits. I was working out at the fitness center twice a week in addition to practicing San Shou (combination of kickboxing, wrestling, and Judo throws) twice a week. On top of that, I bought a bicycle and I began to bike everywhere I can, instead of driving. If Annie's thinking is right, I guess all these activities have nothing to do with me getting in shape. According to her, I am in shape because of "luck" and genes.

Annie also didn't know me in 2004 when I could not exercise for ten months because of having 5 surgeries spread out over almost a year. I couldn't exercise after each surgery. Before I would completely recover, I am back in the surgery room. Naturally, I got fatter. I guess I was "lucky" to be thrown off track during that year. If Annie's right, I was "lucky" to have to restart my fitness efforts all over again after that miserable year.

The advantages that Annie thinks I have are erroneous. However, I do have some advantages that Annie does not speak of. I have the advantage of being more knowledgeable than most in nutrition, fitness, and health. More importantly, I have the advantage of having a good understanding of the spirit, mind, and body connection. However, these advantages all result from conscious choices, right thinking, effort, learning, and gradual progress over time.

In order to obtain your desired physically fit state, the first step is to take 100% responsibility. Don't blame your genes. Don't blame your environment. Don't blame your mother. Don't blame your partner. Even if some of these factors may have contributed to the extra ten inches around your waist, thinking that way will only hinder you. Only when you stop blaming outwardly (looking out the window) and start to seek changes from within (looking in the mirror) will you have any chance of getting fit, slim, muscular, or whatever body type you want to be. This is true for fitness as well as other areas of your life.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772
Copyright: © 2009, This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. You may use this article for your web site, blog, or e-zine only if you include the following statement and web link- "Amadeo Constanzo is a leading spiritual nutrition and health expert. Free teachings from him can be found at stanzo.blogspot.com and spirfit.blogspot.com". You automatically have permission to post this article if you include the above statement. Otherwise, permission requests could be sent to healthsciencewriter@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Red Wine For Women?



It is well-known. that red wine is good for heart health, but it unfortunately is shown in a recent study to increase chances of breast cancer in women. However, our knowledge of the link between red wine and breast cancer is still in its infancy. More studies must be done.

The recommendation by experts is to either refrain from drinking or limit drinking to 4 glasses or less per week. If you do drink, be sure to take a multivitamin daily (containing at least 400mcg of folate).

For more information, go to:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_81472.html

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/be_well/wine_health_benefits_qa_bewell0808.aspx

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eating Fruits Will Not Make You Fat



Many of my nutrition seminar attendees and personal training clients in the past have mentioned to me their fear of eating fruits. They fear that fruits would make them fat. “Fruits have fruit sugar,” they say. “And sugar makes me gain weight.” Although this argument sounds logical, it is flawed. This argument neglects the fact that different foods are in different forms and have different energy-density (or calorie density). Energy-density plays a huge role in determining whether a food is likely to make you fat.

For example, a 4 square inch brownie has approximately 225 calories while an apple of equivalent size has approximately 63 calories. Filling up on fruits and/or vegetables is a great strategy to eat more healthfully, lose weight, and still be satiated at every meal. Although eating fruits at the beginning of a meal may be an eccentric way of eating, my question to you is – do you want to conform (for the sake of being “normal” and ordinary), or do you want to lose weight?

Fruits, although containing fruit sugar (fructose), also contains lots of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water in their natural form. Although it is scientifically well-established that fruits are good for you, I suspect that science is still not completely explaining how. However, the general principle is this: Foods retaining their natural form (as taught by Dr. Deepak Chopra) are generally better than foods in the processed form. For example, fructose in a whole fruit is good for you. However, fructose in high-fructose-corn-syrup is bad for you.

This however is not to say that everything natural is good. For example, cyanide in its natural form is still bad for you.

Also, fruits are a great source of energy without being fattening. Unlike simple sugars in candies and pastries, fruits in their natural form come with nutrients, fiber, and probably other beneficial contents not yet discovered by science.

The bottom line: eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is one habit that will get you closer to your “weight-loss” or fitness goals.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Monday, March 16, 2009

Goji Berries and Juice



It has been passed down in Asian cultures for centuries that goji berries prevent certain eye conditions, but there have not been enough significant scientific proof to confirm this. There have also been unsubstantiated claims that goji berries can prevent or treat cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gastrointestinal problems. Currently, there are not enough scientific evidence to support any of these claims.

Also, goji berries or juice may interfere with certain medications (prescription and over the counter). Be sure to ask your doctor first if you are considering goji berries or juice. There may be very serious consequences if you don’t. If your doctor is not familiar with goji, go to a doctor who is or just don’t take it.

Despite lack of scientific support for the touted benefits, goji does contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, but so does other fruits.

Personally, I do eat goji berries from time to time when I am not taking any medication, including over the counter medication. (I conveniently get them from my mother.) However, I would not use them for the purpose of treating any conditions.

This entry was written in response to a question from Suella. Feel free to ask me any questions and I may dedicate an entry to answer your question. Please email questions to healthsciencewriter@gmail.com

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Importance of Spirituality in Physical Fitness and Health



More and more doctors and health scientists are realizing the importance of spirituality in optimizing your health and fitness. Are you someone who wants to be more fit and healthy but you have trouble sticking to your fitness goals? If so, chances are – you lack the level of spirituality (and/or mental strategies) to endure and stick to your fitness goals.

I often spoke in my seminars about my previous mentors or professors who were prominent researchers in nutrition science and exercise science. However, they are not particularly in shape. This observation was one of the contributors to my realization that knowledge in nutrition, exercise, and health is not enough. Although it is important to have reliable science-based information, we need more than this. One of the things that we need more of is building up our spirituality.

In HPE 12 (a health class required for all undergraduate students at the city college where I tutor and teach workshops), the spiritual component is included in the textbook. My point being - the importance of spirituality in obtaining optimal physical fitness and health is now “textbook knowledge”.

What is spirituality? I view spirituality as becoming more connected to God. I’ve heard some teachers of “universal spirituality” define spirituality as knowing yourself or getting in touch with that which is within you. This is only partially true. If you become more connected to God, you will become more connected with that which is within you (placed in you by God when He created humans). However, just "getting in touch with your inner self" without knowing God does not maximize your level of spirituality. Therefore, it is best to focus on connecting to God in order to become “spiritually fit”. This will in turn improve your physical health and fitness.

It also works the other way around. The more physically fit you are, the more easily you will be able to obtain your desired level of spirituality. More about this in future blogs.

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Obama Begins to Overhaul Food Safety



President plans to overhaul food safety by creating a Food Safety Working Group. He also plans to make changes to other agencies (including the FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA).

This overhaul is badly needed as experts estimate 76 million sicknesses and 5000 deaths every year from contaminated food. An economic upside to this overhaul is the creation of jobs. The downside to the overhaul is the approximate cost of $1.9 billion annually.

Obama also appointed a new FDA chief, Dr. Margaret Hamburg. For more information, go to:



http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/politics/15address.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090314/pl_nm/us_obama_fda_3

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Thursday, March 12, 2009

20 Minute Cardio+Stretch Workout



The common excuse for not exercising enough is “I don’t have the time”. Well, I want to show you a 20-minute cardio workout with stretches. I think everyone has at least 20 minutes. If you insist that you don’t even have 20 minutes for a quick workout, I would like to say that you don’t have 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. Yet, you manage, don’t you? You don’t have 20 minutes to eat, yet you manage to squeeze in a 20 minute break for a meal 3 times a day, right? I am sure that you can manage to squeeze in a brief 20-minute workout, if you have the will. As the clich√© goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Here is the brief and simple cardio workout with stretches that I recommend on the days when you “don’t have the time”. It is for people who have access to a treadmill and an elliptical trainer. Do not take out any components as this is already a bare minimum workout. Again, 20 minutes is not impossible.

You might also want to do this with your partner, your friend, or your son/daughter. It could be a chance to bond with someone you love since it is very likely that you also “don’t have time” to bond with your loved ones. This is a better way to spend time with a loved one than sitting in front of the TV with them where you don't really talk to eachother. You can totally have a conversation while performing these exercises (after you remember the routine).




(Part 1) 5 Minutes - Treadmill Walk



You should speed walk, but I do not recommend running.



(Part 2) 5 Minutes - Stretches

Standing Quad Stretch


i. Stand in front of a wall on your left leg while drawing in your abs (throughout the whole stretch).
ii. Bend your right leg bringing your right heel toward your butt (as much as you comfortably can) and hold for a count of 30. (Balance on your own if you can, but use the wall for balance if you need to.)
iii. Do the same for your other leg.



Standing Calf Stretch


i. Stand in front of a wall
ii. Bring one leg forward toward the wall for support.
iii. Shift your weight forward while keeping the back leg straight. Hold for a count of 30.
iv. Switch position and repeat.



Hamstring Stretch


i. Lie on the floor facing upward.
ii.Bend your right leg at a 90 degree angle while straightening your left leg.
iii. Grab the back of your left leg and pull it toward your chest
iv. Hold for a count of 30.

Spinal Twist


i. Sit on the floor with left leg straight, and the right leg bent and crossed over the left.
ii. Draw abs in.
iii. Slowly turn your upper body to the right while pulling your right leg with your left arm.
iv. Count to 30.
v. Switch sides and repeat.




(Part 3) 5 Minutes - Elliptical Trainer




For 5 minutes, go as fast as you can (while drawing in your abs throughout the whole exercise).You may switch the direction of your pedaling whenever you like. You can go longer on the elliptical if you have the time, but you must make sure you reserve at least five minutes for the next part (part 4 - stretch).
Note: If you feel faint, nauseous, or do not feel right in other ways, stop and consult a doctor.



(Part 4) 5 Minutes - Stretches
Repeat the same stretches as #2 above

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

When You're Too Sick To Work Out



There’s a good article recently that teaches you how to determine when you are too sick to work out and when its okay to workout despite being sick. The article can be found at:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/10/too.sick.to.work.out/index.html?eref=rss_health

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Michelle Obama Promotes Healthful Eating



According to a recent New York Times article, Michelle Obama aims to promote healthful eating. Although previous First Ladies, such as Laura Bush, promoted healthy foods within the White House, Michelle Obama goes further in promoting healthy eating for the entire country.

I hope Mrs. Obama continues to advocate for healthy eating and for fitness as our society is facing a potential obesity epidemic. I think she will, considering that President Obama is one of the most physically fit U.S. President in history (at least from the Hawaiian beach photographs I've seen).



For the New York Times article about Michelle Obama's advocacy of healthful eating, go to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/dining/11lady.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Fun Trivia Question:
Who is the fattest president in U.S. history?

Answer: Taft


For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FDA Warns of Potentially Contaminated Cheese



FDA warns about potential contamination of Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese and Queso Cotija Molido Mexican Cheese distributed by Peregrina Cheese Corp. of New York City. These cheeses may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. For more information, go to:

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2009/NEW01970.html

For more lessons like this one, feel free to go to - SpirFit.org

For updates of new posts and for connecting with others who like these readings, feel free to “like” the SpirFit page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpirFit/141881909215772

Monday, March 2, 2009

Exercises for Over-head Sports


This is training plan I’ve written a few years ago that got me in the door at the Athletics Department at Hunter College. (I do not work there anymore as I am currently doing more freelance work.) At the time, they asked me to write up a training plan for athletes playing sports with overhead movements, before they decided to bring me on board.

All workouts for any purpose (whether it’s for overhead sports or for lower-body sports like soccer) require the major components: cardio-respiratory training, flexibility training (such as stretching and myofascial release), strength training (such as weight training), core training, and balance training. Additional components for athletes who are conditioned (or reconditioned) include power, speed, and agility training. To customize the workout for each individual sport and each individual, the trainer must proportion each component accordingly.

Toward the bottom of this document is the workout structure/outline for deconditioned athletes of sports involving overhead movements (such as tennis players and swimmers). I am also assuming that these athletes have no pre-existing injuries, but are merely deconditioned from not doing anything in the off-season. (If an athlete already have an injury, SOME of the exercises below will need to be modified or avoided until post-recovery.) Many youngsters may believe that the athletes of sports involving mostly the upper body will only need to work out the upper body. They also may think that only strength or weight training is all that’s necessary. However, I know that these athletes of overhead sports will require more than just strength training of the upper body.

For example, a tennis player will require a lot of upper body training to increase the power of his/her overhead serves and other swings. Not only will he/she need to strength-train his/her upper body (such as with weights), he/she will also need to train the overall body in all five components (including cardiorespiratory training, core training, balance training, and flexibility training). Flexibility training (such as stretching and the usage of foam rolls) is critical to prevent injuries (and probably improve performance), especially with the deconditioned athlete who has not maintain a certain level of fitness during the off-season. Although more focus of the flexibility training component will be on the upper body, the whole body must be trained. Core and balance training in the workout is crucial for tennis players (as well as athletes of all sports), because core and balance training improves stabilization and trains the proprioception of the athlete (therefore reducing the chances of injury and improving performance). Especially in the deconditioned individual, core and balance training is absolutely necessary to condition the kinetic chain (the concept of the muscular system + nervous system + skeletal system working together synergistically). These commonly neglected components of core, balance, and flexibility training are crucial to prevent injuries especially for the deconditioned tennis player because of the quick powerful movements (in tennis) of the upper body (thereby increasing the potential risk of shoulder injuries in deconditioned players) as well as the frequent sudden changes of direction when running back and forth on the court (increasing the potential risks of knee, ankle, and even lower back injuries).

The importance of strength training (such as weight training and other resistance training) for the tennis player is pretty obvious to most. Proper strength training of the arms, shoulders, upper body, and back may increase strength and power of tennis swings including overhead serves. Although much of the strength training are focused on these upper body parts, strength-training the entire body is just as important, since body parts do not in reality function in isolation. (This concept can be observed in exercise science as well as in basic physiology. This concept is also easily be understood by boxers who know that the strength of one’s legs, hips, shoulders, as well as arms all play important roles in “packing a powerful punch”.) In addition, there are many variations that can be incorporated into strength training to customize for each sport and each individual. For example, one may vary the speed of concentric and/or eccentric movements and incorporate isometric movements into the workout. One may also incorporate the cardiorespiratory (or endurance) component with strength training for some sports. For example, one way to incorporate the cardio-respiratory component with weight training is doing supersets (such as doing a set of cable rows immediately after a set of bench press without rest.) Compound movements are another variation that can be incorporated in strength training for some sports. (For example, doing overhead shoulder presses while doing lunges is a beneficial conditioning exercise for shot-putters and basketball players.) One may also integrate strength training with core and balance training. For example, doing a set of push-ups on an inverted bosu (or an exercise ball) with the core muscles engaged (before doing bench presses) is one exercise that incorporates core and balance training with strength training. Another example of including core and balance training with strength training is doing dumbbell curls while balancing on one leg (or on the bosu) and contracting core muscles. This trains the athlete’s strength in addition to proprioception.

The cardio-respiratory (cardio-aerobic) component of workouts must not be neglected to ensure the endurance capacity of the athlete. The enormous importance of the cardio-respiratory component can be demonstrated in boxing and martial arts in the very common cases where a stronger and more skillful fighter loses to a less skillful fighter because the stronger fighter “ran out of gas”. I, as the trainer, must proportion the cardio-respiratory component according to the sport and the individual athlete. For some sports, this portion should have a less dominant role than the actual practice of the sport (such as long-distance swimming), because the actual practice of the sport may serve as the better the cardio-respiratory training.

Now that I’ve explained my rationale behind the workout, below is the general structure or outline of the workout I recommend for the deconditioned athlete of a sport involving plenty of overhead movements. Note that many of the exercises have many variations such as variations in positions (standing, seated, supine, inclined, declined, standing on the balance board, while sliding,…), tempo (speed of movement), number of sets and reps, and rest periods (such as variations between supersets, circuit training, and split-routines). I left out the variations and details to keep things simple on paper. However, I of course would not neglect the details when training someone and would not neglect using different variations according to each individual need and according to the time period and training cycle. Note that the major components of the workout are listed below in the chronological order but the individual exercises are not necessarily in the order they should be performed:


I. WARM-UP: 10 minutes – 20 minutes
10 minutes minimum because a deconditioned person definitely requires more warm up time to get the heart pumping and the blood (with oxygen and nutrients) circulating to all body parts (Although a lot of youngsters may not have the patience to do warm up, I can assist with educating them and motivating them about the importance of the warm-up component of the workout.)

A. Example of warm-up: treadmill (personally I recommend walking on treadmill because it should be moderate intensity. This is just a warm up. I generally don’t have my clients run on the treadmill unless they voluntarily prefer to do so.)
B. Intensity at approximately 60%-70% Maximum Heart Rate for the warmup

II. FLEXIBILITY TRAINING (Stretching and Foam Roll)
Because the individual is deconditioned, he/she must not neglect the flexibility component.
A. Main focus would be placed on the upper body. However, thorough working of the entire body is necessary.
B. It is difficult to describe different stretches on paper. It’s easier to show in person.

III. STRENGTH TRAINING integrated with core and balance training (and sometimes even integrated with cardiorespiratory training by supersets).
Trainer must watch out for clients/athletes (especially young males) who are overloading with more weights than they should in their deconditioned states. Overloading joints (with more weights than they are ready to handle) can become one of the “straws” that will eventually “break the camel’s back”

A. Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays: Upper-body (in addition to core+balance for Mondays to Saturdays listed in E below).
Choose about 5 of the following exercises (according to the individual and the training cycle):
1. Push-ups on exercise ball or on inverted Bosu
2. Bench press (with many variations such as incline, decline, dumbbells, barbell, machine, or on exercise ball)
3. Cable rows
4. Lats pulldown (with variations in grip behind neck and in front of neck)
5. Shoulder (overhead/military) press
6. Bicep curls (barbell, dumbbell, hammer curls, reverse curls, standing on Bosu, standing on Dyna-discs, and numerous other variations)
7. Tricep extension and press
8. Upright rows
9. Pull-ups (with variations in grip)
10. Dips (with variations in grip)
11. Butterflies (arm-shoulder abductions)
12. Lateral raises

C. Lower body on Wednesdays and Fridays
Choose about 5 of the following exercises according to the individual and the training cycle:
1. Squats (numerous variations)
2. Lunges (regular and/or reversed)
3. Leg press
4. Leg curls (lying, seated, and/or on exercise ball)
5. Deadlifts (barbell and/or dumbbells)
6. Lower back extensions (hyperextensions)

D. Compound movement exercises on Tuesdays (allowing more time to train abs, core, balance, and cardio on Tuesdays)
Choose about 5 of the following exercises according to the individual and the training cycle:
1. Cleans
2. Cleans with press
3. Squat with lateral raise
4. Lunge with overhead press
5. Squat with bicep curls

E. Abs, hips, core, and balance (Monday – Saturday).
Do at least 4 of the following:
1. Prone iso-abs
2. Crunches (regular or twisting)
3. Leg raises
4. Roll-ups
5. Leg-hip abductions and adductions (machine, lying down, leaning on ball, or standing)
6. Trunk curl on exercise ball
7. Bridge on ball
8. Extended leg bridge on ball



IV. CARDIO-AEROBIC/CARDIO-RESPIRATORY TRAINING (ideal to monitor HR)
For some sports, this portion may be replaced by (play a less dominant role to) the actual practice of the sport (such as long-distance swimming), because the actual practice of the sport already serves as the cardio-respiratory training. However, I would probably require a baseball pitcher to include at least 30 minutes of this cardio-respiratory component in his training.

A. Some options for cardio in the fitness room. Do a minimum of 30 minutes of any combination of the following (and progressively increase the intensity and/or time as the body adapts):
1. Elliptical trainer
2. Stationary bike
3. Treadmill
4. Rowing machine
5. Kick-boxing sequences and other aerobic routines

B. Some options for cardio outside the fitness room
1. Swimming
2. Cycling
3. Kick-boxing sequences and other aerobic routines
4. In-line skating


V. COOL-DOWN (same as section I above). Since this is a cool down, it should be of a lower intensity than cardio-respiratory training in section IV.

A. Same as warm-up in section I, but do 5-15 minutes
B. Gradually work HR down to 50 or 60% Max HR

VI. FLEXIBILITY TRAINING (same as section II above)



This workout including all the main components should take about one and a half hour. (The trainer must be careful to avoid overtraining the athlete.) Also, there are many things, details, or elements that are difficult to be communicated on paper that, I, the trainer must do. These elements NOT included in the above workout structure are: number of sets and reps (depending on the individual and the sport), observing the client/athlete for proper form, proper checkpoints or positions (to avoid improper posture which potentially cause or contribute to problems). I have also excluded information on plyometric exercises (for training in explosiveness) partially because I believe they should be temporarily contraindicated for the deconditioned individual (to avoid an increased chance of injury). Even if the athlete is already well conditioned, plyometrics or speed and agility drills are probably better performed in the field with coaches rather than in the fitness room. Please also note (as I’ve already mentioned) that the exercises included in the above workout structure are for deconditioned athletes without any pre-existing injuries. If there are pre-existng injuries, certain exercises may have to be contraindicated until recovery.


As with any exercise regimen, please speak to your doctor and physical therapist. Use any of this information at your own risk. The author is not liable for any injuries or damages (especially from misunderstanding and improper use).


Copyright √£2007, 2009. This document is the sole property of Amadeo Constanzo. For permission to publish or reproduce, please send request to healthsciencewriter@gmail.com