Icelandic Fitness

Blog

Prioritize Your Fitness

someone busier2

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Think About Yourself First

 

Of course you want to work out. But, it’s hard to make time, what with work, the family, summer activities – you get the picture. It’s difficult to keep that promise to yourself to do something for yourself. Everyday.

 

There are legitimate excuses – you’re sick, a family emergency, or a huge project with a tight deadline at work. The problem is, if you look around long enough, there are plenty of excuses to keep you from ever working up a sweat. I’m here to tell you that you really need to think about yourself for a change.

 

We all want to look our best and exercise and a good diet are the keys to achieving that goal. But, exercise is important in other ways. It makes you feel better and improves your performance at work and at home. So, all those things you need to do everyday? Exercise can help you get them done.

 

Top 5 reasons to exercise:

  • Exercise increases energy. It improves your muscle strength, increases endurance and helps your lungs and heart work more efficiently. That gives you more energy.
  • Exercise reduces stress. Whether you’re just overwhelmed with a work project, or a family “crisis” (like a two year old’s public meltdown), a quick workout can help relieve stress.
  • Exercise helps you sleep better. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Just don’t do it close to bedtime.
  • Exercise can put some spice back in your sex life. Ok- increased energy, reduced stress, more sleep. Add to that, a better self-image. That equals more couple time.
  • Exercise improves your mood. Again, reduced stress, increased energy, better sleep and more sex. That would put most folks in a good mood.

 

So, WHY aren’t you exercising? Here’s what my clients tell me:

 

  • No time.
  • No energy.

 

Let’s talk about time. While it’s understandable that each day brings up unforeseen problems or situations, when you make something a priority, you find the time.

 

The energy problem. It stands to reason that sitting at a desk all day, coupled with work and family stress can drag you down. Remember, regular exercise will GIVE you energy. Just push yourself a little to get the ball rolling.

 

 

How to make exercise a priority? Even I struggle with this sometimes. But, I make it a point to fit a daily workout into my lifestyle. I have to say that I always feel better after a few minutes of cardio or weights. Or, even a hike on the weekend.

 

Here are a few things to consider:

 

  • Be realistic and start slow. You’re not going to be able to fit unrealistic goals into your lifestyle. Exercise needs to fit as seamlessly as possible into your life. If you have to adjust everything to fit in a workout, you probably will continue to make excuses why you just can’t do it. So, start out with two to three days a week. Then, add another day, another workout.
  • Put exercise on your calendar. Seriously. Block out the time. Let your family and your co-workers know. It’s harder to ignore if it’s on your calendar.
  • Be prepared. Plan ahead. If you know you’re doing cardio at lunch, be sure to have your workout clothes. If you forget, it’s an easy out, an easy excuse.
  • Get the family involved. There are going to be times, especially for busy parents, that you just can’t do your planned workout. So, be creative. Take the kids and the dog for a walk. Or, go to the park or a local school. While they play in the infield, you can jog around the track.

 

The key is to make that commitment to yourself. You will look better, feel better and, guess what, you’ll be a much better person to be around. Your family and your co-workers will thank you for that.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness, Denver, CO

 

Should you be taking Probiotics

Probiotics- Pros and Cons

 

A few of my clients have been asking me lately about probiotics- what are they and what can they really do for you. Well- if you eat yogurt, you’re already taking one kind of probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.

 

Most think bacteria is a bad thing, but our bodies are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are considered good bacteria because they keep your gut healthy by helping food move through your system.

2bacteria

By the end of next year, the global sales of probiotics are expected to top $42 billion- that’s how popular they’ve become. Probiotics can come in tablet, capsule, powder, lozenge and gum form, and also in foods like yogurt.

 

Doctors often suggest patients take probiotics to help with digestive problems. And because they’ve become so popular, you can even find probiotics in chocolate.

 

How do they work? Well, researchers are still trying to figure that out.

Here are some of the ways they may keep you healthy:

 

  • When you lose “good” bacteria in your body, like after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.
  • They can lower the amount of “bad” bacteria in your system.
  • They can help balance out the “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Quite a few types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They have different benefits, but mostly come from two groups. Your doctor can tell you what might be best for you.

Lactobacillus. It’s in yogurt and other fermented goods. It’s probably the most common. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.

Bifidobacterium. You can also find it in some dairy products. It seems to help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

2cartoon

There is also research that shows probiotics can help with non-stomach related problems, like:

 

  • Eczema and other skin conditions.
  • Urinary and vaginal health.
  • Preventing allergies and colds.
  • Oral health

 

Probiotics are regulated like food, not like medications. The FDA does not require the makers of probiotic supplements to prove their products are safe or that they work. So, that’s why it’s very important to talk to your doctor about the correct product and dose.

 

In general, probiotic foods and supplements are thought to be safe.  But you could have mild side effects like an upset stomach; diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first couple of days after you start them. It’s possible they could also trigger allergic reactions.

 

The bottom line is that probiotics could be very helpful in making you feel better and stronger. But, before you shell out the cash, ask your doctor whether putting “good” bacteria in your body is what’s best for you.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

How Masters Winner Jordan Spieth Stays “Country Strong”

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Masters winner Jordan Spieth can dead lift 380 pounds. He looks slender, but over the past year and a half, he’s been living in the gym when he’s not on the golf course- usually spending at least four days a week with his trainer. His workout focuses on core strength and lower body, in an effort to build muscle to maintain a club head speed of 115.3 mph.

SISpiethPromo

His trainer calls him “country-strong,” and he’s gained 20 pounds of muscle, thanks to some of the same methods and equipment I use with my clients- kettle bells and medicine balls. And, Jordan also has a foam rolling and stretching routine to help increase flexibility and mobility and improve stability.

 

All golfers, no matter if you make a living at the game or not, should have a full-body approach to their workout. It’s not enough just to strengthen your muscles, you also need to stay flexible and avoid building unnecessary bulk that could likely interfere with a smooth, consistent swing. And, you can increase fitness and play better with a simple short exercise routine.

 

Getting and keeping your core strong is extremely important. That’s because performance on the course- the effectiveness of your swing- is dictated by the power of your rotation. You need to have a full range of motion in the hip and thoracic spine, with a strong core that allows you to transfer force from your hips to your shoulders. The bottom line- the farther you can wind your body while maintaining good alignment, the more powerful your swing will be. And, the farther the ball will fly.

 

So, here are five exercises to help you master the perfect swing:

 

1) Standing Wood Chop (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 second rest between sets)

This exercise combines movements of the hips, back, and shoulders, while increasing strength and improving flexibility.

You can perform it with a cable or a resistance band, but you can also do it with a medicine ball like Jordan does.

Slightly bend your knees, raise the medicine ball overhead to one side, like you’re about to swing an axe. Throw the ball down and across your body. Repeat on each side.

2) Lateral Lunges (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30-second rest, alternate legs)

This exercise improves range-of-motion and hip strength.

Make sure you keep good posture during the exercise. Just take a large step to either your right or left, and shift your weight to that side- bending that leg. Keep your toes pointed ahead.

Medicine-Ball-Lateral-Lunge

3) Glute Activation Lunges (1 to 3 sets of 8-12 reps, alternate legs)

These lunges are also good for increasing hip mobility.

Start with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a giant step forward, bending your front leg at a 90-degree angle (or until your thigh is parallel to the floor).

Your back leg should remain strong and straight.

Step back into a standing position and repeat.

 

 

4) Front Plank/Side Plank (3- 5 times, holding for 20-60 seconds)

Planks are great for core strength.

Front plank- lay face down, place palms flat on the floor.

Roll your shoulders onto your back, away from your ears, and push away from the floor.

Keep your back flat and engage your abdominal muscles. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds and release back down onto the floor. Repeat.

For a side plank, lay on your side with your legs stacked. Rest your body on your forearm, shoulder directly over your elbow.

Lift your hips so that your body is in a straight line. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds and lower back down. Repeat on each side.

frontplankgolf sideplankgolf

 

5) Supine Spinal Twists (1 to 3 times, hold for 20-30 seconds, switching sides)

These twists also increase core strength and your shoulders should get a good stretch.

Start on your back with your feet raised and bent in a 90 degree angle, or so that your calves are parallel to the floor.

Extend your arms out wide, with palms facing down. Slowly lower your legs to the right side of your body, keeping your knees together. Hover above the ground for about 20 to 30 seconds, and then return to center.

Switch sides and repeat.

supinetwist

 

For the most benefit, these exercises should be combined with others that target more muscles and body parts. If you’re consistent, you should start to see improvement in your strength and your swing in a few weeks.

 

Jason Stone

Golf Performance Coach

Rory McIlroy, taking the proper rest

The Masters gets under way this week on April 9th and the world’s number one player is taking some time away from competition. Rory McIlroy will have been “off” nearly three weeks before he hits his first drive at Augusta. Like other top tier athletes, McIlroy knows that tapering before a big competition helps reset the body and the mind and puts you in a position to excel.

 

Marathon runners have used tapering for years to give their bodies a chance to rest before pushing themselves during the big race. The idea behind tapering is that coming into an event well rested allows you to maximize the strength and fitness gains you’ve made over the previous weeks or months of training.

 

Of course, McIlroy has not been sitting around. He’s been practicing at Augusta with his dad and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, having fun on the course, getting used to the lay of the land, taking nothing seriously. It’s a mental and physical rest.

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

Rory and Tom Brady a few weeks ago at Augusta National

 

For some athletes, however, tapering can be difficult, because the decrease in training leaves them feeling antsy and, in some cases, sluggish. There’s a fear of losing your edge, causing some serious pre-competition anxiety.

 

Like McIlroy, keeping your mind and body “in the game” is the key. While he’s tapering, he’s still playing golf. Just not at the same intense level that he’ll undoubtedly be playing during competition. Tapering is the time to refine technique, no matter your sport, and get a good feel for your desired competition pace.

 

Of course, taper length varies from person to person, and depends on the athlete’s preferences and the length of the event. For runners, a taper for a half-marathon might last a week, while a taper for a triathlon might be four times as long. The Masters is kind of a golf marathon, with play stretching out over 72 holes, that’s four complete rounds over four days.

 

For most folks, truly perfecting a taper plan requires a degree of trial and error. If the taper period is too short, you didn’t get enough rest. Too long, you run the risk of losing not only your mental edge, but also your physical conditioning.

 

So, most trainers and coaches suggest that you maintain a consistent number of training days per week. If you usually work out five days a week, continue that during the taper, but reduce volume by cutting training time (or distance) in each workout.

 

Look at it this way- pushing yourself each and every workout, with no rest, is like running a car engine 24/7. It’s only a matter of time before it (and you) break down. Do yourself a favor and build some taper time into your workout schedule.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

We Believe In…

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consequat magna vel ultrices consectetur. In elementum sollicitudin augue, quis lobortis sapien mattis pharetra. Maecenas ac tristique lectus, eget porta lectus. Aenean eleifend mi vel mattis eleifend. Mauris cursus nisi ut turpis blandit hendrerit ut ultrices ante.

Donec dui enim, aliquam et urna in, cursus venenatis turpis. Phasellus ornare vitae libero a tempor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Suspendisse commodo turpis in sapien sollicitudin, vel molestie dui dignissim. Sed eu tortor venenatis, molestie quam sit amet, pharetra arcu. Aenean eget fermentum quam, eget malesuada ligula. Donec mattis magna id ornare fermentum. Donec molestie diam eu hendrerit facilisis. Aenean in fringilla magna.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus consequat magna vel ultrices consectetur. In elementum sollicitudin augue, quis lobortis sapien mattis pharetra. Maecenas ac tristique lectus, eget porta lectus. Aenean eleifend mi vel mattis eleifend. Mauris cursus nisi ut turpis blandit hendrerit ut ultrices ante. Donec dui enim, aliquam et urna in, cursus venenatis turpis. Phasellus ornare vitae libero a tempor.

Read More

Crack of dawn, or after dark? The best time to workout

whenshouldiworkout

Quite a few of my clients lately have been asking me- when is the best time during the day to work out? Some like to get up before dawn for a run. Others could never bring themselves to break a sweat before noon. The truth is that while there could be some calorie burning advantages to working out in the early morning- it’s certainly not for every one.

 

Why? Well, I like to work out early, but my body clock is probably not the same as yours. Your body’s circadian rhythm determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and there’s not much you can do to change that.

 

The earth’s 24-hour rotation governs your circadian rhythm. The rhythms influence pretty much everything about your body- blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate. All of that plays an important role in whether you’re ready to exercise or not. Of course, most of us also have to take into account our work schedules and family obligations.

 

Bottom line- the most important thing you can do it to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.

 

Why early morning? That could be best, especially if you have problems with consistency. Get your exercise in before other pressures interfere- like work and family.

 

Of course, to feel like exercising in the morning, you need to have a good night’s sleep. Good, regular bedtime habits help get your body ready for rest so you can get your eight hours. Late night physical activity or eating late can sabotage your body’s urge to sleep.

 

For some people, lunchtime is the best time to exercise, especially if they enjoy company, like co-workers who are willing to hit the gym or take a run or a walk. One thing to keep in mind- eat after you work out, not before. If you eat before, the blood that needs to go to your muscles is going instead to your digestive tract to help you break down that meal. Remember what your mom told you about swimming? Wait 90 minutes after a heavy meal to work out.

11009882_782177398517841_8568051931405021605_n

You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the best time to exercise. Simply try different times of the day. Work out in the morning for a few weeks, and then try lunchtime, then early evening. Discover which time you enjoy most and which makes you feel the best? Then, make every effort to keep that appointment with yourself.

 

Most importantly is to find a time that makes working out a consistent part of your life.

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Rory McIlroy – Golf’s new piece Masterpiece

The newest April 2015 issue of Golf Digest headed to the newsstands next month features Rory McIlroy on the cover, portraying Michelangelo’s statue of David- wearing a kilt. And, you could say the 25-year-old is a dead ringer for the real thing.

 

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

Rory McIlroy 2015 April Golf Digest

McIlroy has made the transition from a chubby unfit golfer to ripped athlete. Weighing around 170 pounds, with 10% body fat and not quite six feet tall, the golfer often tweets and puts up Instagram pics of his gym routine- one snapshot from last year had him back squatting 280 pounds. Not exactly what you would expect from a PGA Professional.

 

His workout routine is very intense- five times a week, lifting heavy weights for 90 minutes. He  does intense cardio work, sprints,  swims, and bikes. Rory actually never worked out until he strained his back about four years ago. Now, he’s dedicated to staying fit and injury free.  His first trainer noticed many muscular imbalances from a weak lower back to a weak left leg.  Rory’s workouts often include corrective exercises to maintain a balanced body.  Along with the corrective exercises Rory does a lot of single side isolation work.

2rory squat 2rory with 280 lbs

His trainer says they vary the workout every six to eight weeks. That’s important so that muscles don’t get overused and the routine stays fresh so you can continue to challenge yourself.

 

And, the benefits aren’t just apparent in the cover photo. McIlroy is also hitting his drives longer and harder- getting more yardage off the tee. He’s gained about 20 pounds of muscle, which puts more solid mass behind his swing. It’s simple, when there’s more mass, you can hit harder and get results.  It doesn’t hurt too that Rory has incredible stability and balance thru impact.

 

You’d have to guess that just like the clients I work with, McIlroy is feeling pretty good about himself. When you train hard and get results, you gain confidence. After all, look at what he’s achieved.  He’s completely remade himself by getting into shape and becoming the Number 1 player in the world.  Move over Tiger Woods golf has a new fitness freak.

 

 

Rory McIlroy Sample Workout:

5 Minute stationary bike warmup

8-10 minute active warmup and stretch

3-5 Minutes of plyometrics

5-10 Core and Rotational Work

60 Minute Intense Workout

  • Heavy Squats
  • Heavy Deadlifts
  • Single Leg Split Squat
  • Pull-ups
  • Presses

10 Minutes of Intense Metabolic Conditioning

Cool Down

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Golf Sports Performance Specialist

 

Lose weight, clean out your refrigerator

stateofslim

One of my clients is trying to lose 15 pounds by May for her trip to the Kentucky Derby with the Colorado Diet. She cleaned out her fridge this week and gave me all her temptations. That’s one way to rid yourself of temptation.

What’s the Colorado Diet? It’s an easy to follow program that’s aimed at resetting your metabolism.

The diet is outlined in the book “State of Slim,” written by two doctors at the CU Medical Center. The plan is pretty simple- eat healthy and exercise more. It’s a sixteen-week program that promises to help you lose around 20 pounds.

The book includes recipes, sample menus and an exercise plan that will have you exercising 70 minutes a day by the end of the four months. If you’re just starting out, that might sound like a lot of activity, but the plan slowly ramps up the time you spend working out.

The authors don’t really want to describe the Colorado Diet as a diet, but a lifestyle change. Colorado is the leanest states in the nation. And, it’s not necessarily because we eat better (at least not all the time), but we hike, bike, swim, run, ski- we move. The mountains and our open spaces are great incentives to get outdoors almost any month of the year.

Still- what you put in your mouth matters. That’s why my client cleaned out her fridge. The Colorado Diet advocates what I’ve been telling the clients I work with for years- eat smaller meals more often, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and have the right carb and protein mix at every meal.

Whenever I work with someone new, I always ask them to keep a food diary for a few days so they (and I) can see exactly what they’re eating. Making a few small adjustments, such as, high-protein Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, will make a difference.

The bottom line, with diet or exercise, it’s better to start out slowly than to try and make all the changes all at once. That’s a recipe for failure.

You can check out the Colorado Diet here: http://www.stateofslim.com

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Step Away from the Juicier, Grab Some Bone Broth

It’s the newest thing in healthy eating, but your grandmother probably knew all about it. She most likely had a full pot simmering on the back burner.

Bone broth- some folks call it stock- is the first new big health craze of 2015. The trend has been quickly gaining traction all over the world, and is now right here in Colorado.

What is it? Exactly what it sounds like. Broth made from animal bones. Used as stock in soups and stews and other recipes, you can buy it ready made at some grocery stores, online, or at Denver area restaurants. And yes, you can make it at home.

What can bone broth do?

• Reduce joint pain and inflammation. The glucosamine and chondroitin in bone broth can encourage the growth of new collagen, help repair damaged joints, and reduce pain and inflammation.
• Help with bone formation. You’re drinking (or eating) what’s basically bone in liquid form. Calcium, magnesium, collagen, and phosphorus. They all help bones to grow and repair and are the perfect way to fight osteoporosis.
• Support skin, hair and nail growth. The collagen and gelatin in bone broth support hair growth and help to keep nails strong.
• Relieve stress. Amino acids in bone broth can be very calming. (and can help you sleep).

Three Boulder fooderies- Fresh Thymes, Blackbelly and Cured- have jumped on the bone broth bandwagon are preparing and selling broth by the bowl or cup or by the quart.

http://denver.eater.com/2015/1/21/7861995/bone-broth-trend-crashes-into-boulder-with-three-new-options

You can make your own bone broth at home- it’s pretty simple. Even though it has to simmer for hours, it only takes a few minutes to get it started.

The most important thing is to get high quality bones. Wild, grass fed, organic, or at least all natural chicken, beef, pork or fish bones. Remove the meat and put the bones in the pot, cover with fresh water, add a splash of apple cider vinegar (to help extract the minerals from the bone). Now simmer for 3-24 hours. Or, put it in a slow cooker.

Make it better by adding any or all of the following: garlic, onions, vegetables like carrot and celery and herbs. When it’s done, strain out the bones and vegetables and divide the broth into usable potions. It will stay good in the fridge for about 5 days and in the freezer for months.

Here’s a how to guide: http://wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth/
And, a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fmSfaORNq0

 

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness

Staying in shape with an office job

Staying in shape with an office job

When you spend most of your day sitting in a chair, hunched over a computer screen, it’s not hard to see why you may be a few pounds (or more) overweight.

Office jobs encourage less activity and more snacking, what with all the treats co-workers tend to bring to work.

What you may not know is that all of that sitting around is slowly killing you. One study showed that men who sit for more than six hours a day had a 20% higher death rate than those who sat for three hours or less. For women, the death rate was 40% higher.So what can you do?

Stay active throughout the day. The good news is that you can find ways to sneak some exercise into your work routine so you can be around to see your grandkids.

  1. Make Getting to Your Office a Challenge
    Don’t park in the closest spot. Drive to the far end of the lot so you have to walk further to get into the building.
  2. Once you’re inside, take the stairs.
    Walk at first, then work your way up to a full sprint. Don’t worry about becoming the subject of office gossip. None of your co-workers will see you. They’re taking the elevator.
  3. Sit up straight!
    Slumped shoulders come from leaning forward to see your computer screen.
    Make the effort to practice good posture throughout the day. Yes, it’s hard at first, but practicing good posture while sitting and standing can reduce tension in your neck, shoulders and back and strengthen your core.
  4. Get up and move every 45 minutes
    Work hard for 45 minutes, then, get up and walk outside (if the weather permits) or move around the office for 15 minutes.
    Taking frequent breaks is good for both your body and your brain.

5.  Do the Grok

Also known as the Asian Squat, the Grok Squat can help relieve the back, groin, and hip tightness that come from sitting in a chair all day.

The Grok is a lot like a catcher’s stance in baseball. Simply squat down until your butt touches your ankles. Keep your heels on the ground and your back straight. Hold that position for 30 seconds to a minute.The Grok will help you stretch your hamstrings, quads, Achilles tendons, lower back, and groin. If you’re really tight, it may take a few days for you to be able to master the Grok. Keep at it.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness