10 Thoughts on Power, Hormones, and Counter-Intuitive Training

10 Thoughts on Power, Hormones, and Counter-Intuitive Training

I get asked this question a lot and Steve Edwards  one of Beachbody’s trainers says it best so I thought I would share it with you.

While weight lifted and calories burned make sexy headlines about training, the singular most important aspect is how you influence your body’s hormone production. Power training focuses on neither of the former, but has a huge influence on the latter, meaning that everyone, no matter their goals, should focus on it to some degree.

Performance-enhancing hormones respond to stresses placed on the body. Since the goal of power training is to force adaptive stress at its most extreme, it’s both the quickest and easiest way to accomplish this. The ubiquitous flip side is two fold. Too much acute stress can lead to injury, and too much chronic stress leads to central nervous system breakdown. Here are a few rules of power training that will keep things (relatively) safe and effective.

  1. Don’t get pumped.  Getting pumped is vital for most styles of training to be effective. For pure power, however, it reduces your ability to recruit the highest threshold muscle cell motor units, dulls your ability to assess the danger of a single hard movement, and reduces your ability to recovery from the stress by destroying capillaries. While it’s very hard not to push towards a pumped state in a workout, resist all temptation to do that when you’re training power.
  2. Focus 100% on every single rep. Power training is a mind game. It requires great focus. You can half-ass your way through endurance workouts, as there is always a bit of “one foot in front of the other” drudgery to deal with. Power is the opposite. One wrong move can result in injury and every move you do without focus is wasted. It is, truly, the only training where ever rep matters.
  3. Don’t look at your heart rate monitor or even think about calories burned. I can’t stress this enough. Power training forces deep adaptations to your central nervous system. This won’t appear on a screen as calories burned. If you use that as gauge, you’re going to do things that hurt your workout and/or your recovery from the workout.
  4. Don’t worry about sweat. Power training requires 100% efforts followed by long rests. You won’t be bathed in sweat. In a cool environment you might not sweat at all. The goal of the workouts is neuromuscular. You want to be recovered, with your mind sharp so you can focus, at the beginning of every single movement.
  5. Rest enough! Not just between exercises but between workouts. While you won’t be pumped, sweating, and all blurry-eyed like you can get doing power-endurance work, you need more rest than you’re probably used to. All of the above feelings are tampering your absolute workout load. For example, you can run 30 yards faster than 100 and much faster than a mile. Etc. It takes longer to recovery from a 100% effort over 100 yards than it does for a mile because you’re exhausting fast-twitch muscle fibers, which take much longer to repair than slow-twitch fibers.
  6. Don’t always adhere to your schedule. While the schedule may be king for some styles of training, it’s not for power. If you warm-up and don’t feel like your mind or body is ready for 100% efforts, cool-down and wait another day. Overtraining can happen quickly during power cycles, and it’s insidious. Central nervous system overtraining takes a long time to recovery from. Always remain wary.
  7. Wrap your head around down time. A power cycle is a good time to get stuff done in your life. Not only do you have more downtime between workouts, you don’t feel as tired as when you finishing every workout feeling like Gumby in a pool of sweat.
  8. Don’t overeat. While stimulating strong hormonal responses does raise your metabolism, you still probably aren’t burning the calories that you’re used to and it’s easy to gain weight when power training. I like to diet during power because I’m not as hungry as usual. Conversely, some athletes like to gain a little weight because body weight forces more stress (thus enhances power training more naturally than adding weight to your body). While not a bad strategy, you should be aware it will happen in case you don’t adhere to it.
  9. Drink frickloads of water. Because you aren’t sweating you’re not going to be as thirsty as normal. You still need to drink water. A lot of it. Dehydrated muscles and connective tissues are at a much higher risk of injury. Since the point of your training is to apply as much force as you can handle to these areas, you need to be hydrated always.
  10. Be ready. While everyone—even endurance athletes—will benefit from some power training you should build a solid fitness base before focusing on it. Most preparatory training programs have some aspect of power (for example, everything in Beachbody’s catalog, from Tai Cheng to P90X3). The more advanced you are, the more you generally get (X2 is very power oriented, part of why it’s harder than many of our programs for people to come to terms with). You need to build up, or you’ll be at a high risk of getting hurt. As a standard rule about whether or not you are ready, use high intensity interval training (HIIT) as a base. If you never trained HIIT, skip focusing on power until your fitness base is stronger.
Have you ever wondered how much weight you are lifting when doing a push-up?

Have you ever wondered how much weight you are lifting when doing a push-up?

Push-ups. I bet you love, or love to hate them. This weight-bearing exercise is fantastic at sculpting your shoulders and arms, building up your pecs (and for us ladies, giving us a little lift!), and making your back look just incredible.

But, they’re not easy! So, I understand why when Tony Horton or Shaun T tells you to knock out a set of push-ups in P90X orINSANITY, you groan. And, after a few sets of these grueling exercises, perhaps you’ve started to wonder: How much weight am I really pushing here? What percent of my body weight am I lifting? Can I do push-ups on my knees instead? And, if I need to do them on my knees, should I bother doing them at all?

Articles published within the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that men lifted about 66.4% of their body weight with each rep when they did a push-up on their toes. On their knees, they lifted about 52.9% of their body weight. In other words, a 180-pound man will lift 119.5 pounds per rep doing a regular push-up and 95.2 pounds doing a push-up on their knees. Women lift slightly less of their body weight per rep, but the difference is negligible.

Want to determine approximately how much you’re lifting? Put your scale on level ground and place your hands on it and do a push-up on your toes. Have a friend read the number on the scale if you cannot. Then, repeat the exercise, but this time, do the push-up on your knees. The number you see is approximately how much body weight you’re lifting though the number will vary depending on your arm position (i.e. military, diamond, wide, etc.)

How to do the perfect push up:
Whether you’re on your toes or on your knees, it’s important to have the proper form. To do a perfect pushup:
1. Get into plank position and make sure your hands are aligned with your shoulders but just wider than them. Tighten your core.
2. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, tucking your elbows in as you do. When you’re at the bottom, your arms should be at 45-degree angle. Keep your back flat and do not let your back or hips sag.

If you can’t do a push-up on your toes yet, don’t give up! You’re still getting a great workout.

For the few of you who want to make your push-up harder and lift more of your body weight, here are some tips from easiest to hardest:
1. Slow it down. By taking more time to do each repetition, you increase the time that each muscle must stay contracted.
2. Bring your hands and feet closer together to move your center of gravity forward and make your shoulders, pecs, back, and triceps do more work. Tighten your core to protect your lower back.
3. Change the angle. Place your feet on a stable surface – such as a plyo box or weight bench – and keep your hands on the ground. This puts more of your weight onto your shoulders.
4. Move away from a stable surface and do your push-ups on a medicine ball or balance ball as demonstrated in P90X2. These exercises will not only challenge those muscles groups but also force you to tighten your core to stay balanced.
5. Forget push-ups. Do handstands instead.

Article written by Joanna Schafhausen

I must come clean………

I must come clean………

It is time to come clean…….

You have heard this before “We are our own worst enemies” Well I 100% believe this. I recently let life get in the way of my exercise routine and I got out of the habit of my 20-40 minute daily workout. Man I had every very good, acceptable, legit reason you could think of but guess what?  I started not sleeping well, I was cranky towards the people in my life, I ate more than I normally did, my hip started hurting and I am sure Mike could come up with some more negatives.  Yes I 100% believe these all can be tracked back to me skipping my workouts. One week of not working out and I fell apart. I got out of my habit and things just snowballed. I let my mind talk me out of something that I knew was important to me. The issue here is one day of getting out of your routine and then for some reason skipping it the next day just seems a little easier. It is a snowball effect of disaster. 🙁

It is funny because I really did believe my excuses were legit but now that I sit back and look at it, who the heck was listening to these excuses?  Yep you guessed it, no one. I think when it comes to exercise we need to take a step back and really look at what it is we enjoy doing. It is like chores right? Who wants to do something when we hate doing it. Please find something that you enjoy doing.  There are so many ways to get moving and get the fitness your body craves. It does not need to be complicated.

Twenty minutes is not a lot of time folks. If you can not find twenty minutes to dedicate to your body then we need to talk. It is so uber important that you take the time out of your hectic, crazy day to give your muscles and joints a little workout. Please do not get intimated by weights or big gyms. It really does not matter what you do, just do something. I remember when I had a big aversion to working out. I did not understand what working out really meant. I saw what Mike did and I wanted nothing to do with that crap.  When I reflex back on it,  the problem was really my mind not the actual action of doing it. I set up my own mental roadblock.

Last week I let my mind put up a roadblock. Today is a new day and I have put those 5 days behind me.  The neat thing about life is everyday you wake up you get a chance to correct your mistakes. How cool is that??????

Moral to this story is “just do it, and stop with the excuses.”  Hands down legit advice. I learned a lesson this last week and I am not going to go down that road again. If you need help coming up with some motivation to get moving or some fitness ideas, please contact me.  I love to help people with this type of thing. I am always running challenge groups that produce good solid results. I would love you to join one of them. Message me if you are interested. judy@temp.allinthebalance.com

Here is a great twenty minute routine by Bret Hoebel(creator of Beachbody Rev Abs Dvd Program)  I hope you like it. Pay attention to the modifications if needed. Let’s all move it and get this done 🙂



Listen to the experts. They have it down!!

Listen to the experts. They have it down!!

20 Secrets of Very Fit People

Chalene Johnson

20 Secrets of Very Fit People Here are a few Turbofied tips. Read these tips, then print and post them so you have them as a daily reminder.

  • Look at exercise as a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will produce. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!
  • Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise.
  • Work to take your exercise to new levels of intensity.
  • Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 6 or 7 days a week. If some days you exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, even better! If you’re eating right, exercise will fuel your energy level!
  • Create an exercise schedule the day before instead of leaving it to chance or waiting to “find” the time. If the last three Presidents of the United States can make time to work out every day, you can make time too!
  • Enjoy contributing to the health of others by having a partner or friends to exercise with, as well as recruiting others who want to feel better and have more energy. Have a neighbor who’s sitting on the porch every morning when you walk by? Ask him or her to join you on your walk!
  • Avoid monotony by taking up new forms of exercising, or using things that keep you motivated and inspired, like new shoes or great music.
  • Invest in the right tools—good shoes, a portable MP3 player or iPod®, fitness equipment, a new series of tapes, etc.
  • Subscribe to fitness magazines to keep focused on health as an overall way of life.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and remember that excess calories, even if they’re from food that’s fat free and high in protein, will turn to excess weight. No matter what the latest fad diet says, extra calories equal extra weight!
  • Limit caffeine and exposure to even secondhand smoke.
  • Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often. Water should always be your drink of choice. To kick things up every once in a while, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, or a few berries to liven up the flavor without adding significant calories.
  • Stick with eating plans you can maintain indefinitely. Remember that no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re consuming too many calories, you’ll never see the muscles that lie beneath layers of fatty tissue.
  • Keep a daily log of what you’re actually eating. This includes every time you grab a handful of chips here or eat the crust of your kid’s sandwich there, and ALL of your snacking.
  • Enjoy an occasional (once a week) “unhealthy” treat, but never an unhealthy week or unhealthy vacation.
  • If your diet is unbalanced, take daily vitamin and mineral supplements for total health.
  • Don’t compare your body to others’. Instead, work to be your personal best.
  • Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit, not some number on a scale.
  • Get adequate amounts of sleep, but remember that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Limit alcohol intake to special occasions.
BOSU ball workouts, thumbs up or thumbs down?

BOSU ball workouts, thumbs up or thumbs down?

This is one strange looking piece of equipment right? When I first saw this at the gym I was like “what the heck is that alien looking thing?” Better yet, you should have seen what happened once I stood on it!

Since that day many years ago I have grown to love, love, love this funny looking piece of rubber. The BOSU ball is a small piece of equipment that can really bring your fitness to a new level. People who train with a BOSU ball will notice that there is an increase in intensity of their workout routine because of the decreased stability while completing the exercises.  The BOSU ball allows people of all fitness levels to gain an excellent full-body workout and have some fun.


The BOSU ball was invented in the year 2000 by a gentleman by the name of David Weck. BOSU originally stood for “Both Sides Up,” meaning you can use either the flat or the rounded side depending on your workout. Let me tell you they both deliver a very different feeling and different workout entirely.  As you can tell by the picture you have one side with a rubber dome on it and the other side with a hard flat platform.

Here are the reasons I love the BOSU ball:

  1. Because the BOSU is an unstable surface it requires you to engage your core muscles with every move.
  2. It requires you to use your center of gravity which increases your balance ability and helps tone your muscles at the same time.
  3. It is a total body workout every time.
  4. It is small and can easily fit in my home gym.
  5. I can do lunges, planks, sit ups, push ups, bicycle crunches, shoulder extensions, bicep/triceps extensions, ice skater hops. You get my point? Basically you can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. It makes everything just a little bit harder and can completely change your workout.

images-3I really think this is an excellent addition to anyones home gym or a great new exercise to try at your local gym.  Do not be fooled by its pretty color and small stature. This dude rocks and will help you create change. I purchased mine at a local sports store but you can get it at Amazon as well.  I would shop around for the best deal. They can be a little expensive but worth every penny.

Thumbs up for the BOSU ball.






Bounce your way to being fit and healthy.

Bounce your way to being fit and healthy.

Last year I purchased a gift for myself. I do not do that often but when I do it is going to be a doozy. As you all know I do most of my workout routines at home in our home gym.  I love, love, love it but my options for variety are sometimes limited. I had a friend who told me awhile back about rebounding and I was all over it. Jumping on a trampoline and getting fit while doing it? Heck yes, sign me up.  After a lot of research I finally purchased a rebounder from JumpSport Fitness.  Check it out.
Ok now that you have seen me make a mini fool of myself let me tell you why I love working out on a rebounder.  Besides the fact that it is super fun, there are a lot of health and fitness reasons to like the rebounder. I think the #1 reason I love it is that it is a low-impact exercise.  I love running, Insanity and Combat but they do take a toll on my knees if done without breaking up my workout routine. I love swimming and rebounding because of the break it gives my joints. Here are just a few of the reasons I love bouncing on the rebounder:
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves my coordination and balance
  • Helps build my muscle tone
  • It is low impact
  • Breaks up my routine schedule
  • AND it is just downright fun!

You do not need to just listen to me. Check out all these quick reference snippets provided to us by JumpSport.

Summary research excerpts related to bouncing/rebounding

Here’s what the researchers are saying about rebounding:

The mini-trampoline [rebounder] provides a convenient form of exercise with a major advantage being its apparent low level of trauma to the skeletal muscle system.

— Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation (1990: 10; 401-408)

The findings indicate that exercise on a miniature trampoline [rebounder] may provide a safe, adequate indoor exercise for normal and many cardiac patients of varied ages, if guidelines concerning rate or stepping and height of knee lifts are adhered to…

— Journal of Medical Science for Sport and Exercise

…for similar levels of heart rate and oxygen consumption, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli is greater with jumping on a trampoline than with running on a treadmill, a finding that might help identify acceleration parameters needed for the design of remedial procedures to avert deconditioning in persons exposed to weightlessness.

— NASA Journal of Applied Physiology

A.W. Daniels, a Ph.D. Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah in the fields of Material Science and Engineering, and Orthopedic Surgery studied the impulse load contact, or the force with which a given subject’s foot makes contact with another surface. They determined that a miniature trampoline has only 15% of the impact force of a wooden board track, a standard exercise surface.

So what do you think? Don’t you want one too?

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