Valeo Training

Monday, October 13, 2008

FREE WORKSHOP: Tues, Oct. 21st @ 6:30pm

Presented by:

Trouble Sleeping?
Understand the role of neurotransmitters, hormones, stress & pain in achieving healthy sleep patterns.

This workshop emphasizes natural non-drug solutions to reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders.
Tuesday, October 21st
6:30pm - Lecture
741 Chicago Drive, Holland
Call for Reservations
Seating is limited
(616) 392-9500

Friday, October 10, 2008


I had a friend and previous client ask me a great question the other day. In fact, it's a question I get a lot - so I've decided to write some thoughts down. Hopefully they make sense and you'll finish reading this with a bit better understanding of this thing we called fitness.


Q. What is better for weight loss and toning the legs: running on the treadmill or doing the elliptical?

A. ANYTHING that gets your heart rate elevated, major muscles moving for an extended period of time is cardio exercise. You can achieve this through treadmill work, elliptical, stair climber, walking up stairs at home, dancing, running...the list is endless! There really is no "better" exercise (I get that question all the time) - it all depends on what you ENJOY (exercise should be enjoyable!) and what you are able to challenge yourself on.

It's important to consider two things, however: Heart Rate and How Many Muscles are used. The higher your heart rate, the higher the intensity of the exercise and the more calories you will burn per given amt of time. Similarly, the more muscles you use, the more calories you will burn. Ellipticals and running on a treadmill are very similiar in the muscle groups they work...the elliptical, however, is little-to-no impact, so is a bit easier on the joints.

If I think of a recumbant bike vs treadmill - I know that I am seated on a bike (so less muscles used) but if I'm lolly-gaggin' on the treadmill and hardly have my heart rate up, it doesn't matter that a treadmill uses more muscles (you're standing and pumping your arms, so automatically your arms and core/back are working), if my heart rate is hardly up, then the bike would be the better option (considering I'm working hard on the bike).

It is good to spice things up. Always keep the muscles guessing and changing focus - b/c our bodies adapt quickly, if we do the exact same thing each exercise session, it will no longer be overload for the body. You must overload the body for any changes to happen - this can be done by using different muscles or increasing intensity, etc (up the speed, incline, duration, etc).

CARDIO machines primarily increase the health of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. As you raise your heart rate and get your major muscles moving for an extended period of time - and do this consistently - you get more and more 'in shape'. Being conditioned or 'in shape' means that your heart muscle has actually gotten bigger/thicker and stronger, so with every beat, it pumps out more blood (aka oxygen and nutrients) to your cells. This is why your resting heart rate decreases as you get more conditioned - the heart has to work less to get blood to your body. You blood vessel walls get stronger and more resilient, so as the blood rushes through them, there is less liklihood of rupture (stroke) and the plaque that may be built up on the inside of the vessel walls is more likely to be removed (so less clogging of arteries = less chance of heart attack).

Also, in your lungs, there is a more efficient exchange of oxygen (in) and carbon dioxide (out) - which is why it's easier to breathe as you get "in shape". Not only does this gas exchange happen more efficiently in our lungs, but also in the cells of your muscles.

...All this to say...cardio exercise is exercise for the above mentioned things - IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY PROVIDE THE MUSCULAR OVERLOAD TO BE CONSIDERED STRENGTH TRAINING - and therefore, isn't the primary method used to develop muscular changes (ie - TONE). Cardio is necessary for body fat reduction - which will certainly help in noticing tone - but, to get shapely, defined leg muscles, LIFTING WEIGHTS is where it is at!
While consistent cardio exercise does provide an overload that may result in muscle hypertrophy (growth), Your cardio routine, because it may use your legs, is NOT a replacement for leg muscle strengthening and toning!!! Doing leg and hip weight-training exercises will provide the direct muscle OVERLOAD to breakdown the muscle fibers and (with rest and protein) the muscles will be repaired, coming back together stronger and more toned. This, combined with CARDIO and good NUTRITION (SO important in body fat reduction), is the killer-combo for a lean, toned body.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Why we NEED dietary fat:
1. To store energy
2. To help digest some vitamins (A,D,E,K) and phytonutrients (keep cells healthy)
3. To help make hormones

High Cholesterol Foods + High Saturated Fat Foods = Increased chance of heart disease and some cancers.

GOOD guys vs. BAD guys:
Fat found in our food can be described as one of three triglycerides: Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated.

Limit Saturated fat (aka "bad fats") and increase Mono-and Polyunsaturated fats (aka "good fats"). Omega-3 and Omega-6 are two kinds of Polyunsaturates that, when consumed in the right ratio, appear to be health promoting.

BENEFITS of Omega-3 fatty acids:
Improved cardiovascular health
Reduced inflammation
Helps prevent blood clotting
Expands blood vessels (helps in lowering blood pressure)
No more than 30% of your total calories in a day should come from fats. For a typical 2,000 calorie/day diet, that translates to 65 grams of fat. Only 10% or less of your total calories should be from "bad" or saturated fats (so...a max of 20g of saturated fat/day). This takes a conscious effort (consider that 1 cup of premium ice cream can hit you with 23g of saturated fat!!).


Monounsaturated: Most nuts, avacados, peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil.
Polyunsaturated (including Omega-3): Salmon, flaxseed, soybeans, wheat germ, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil.

SOME BAD FAT SOURCES Saturated: Meats, eggs, butter, cheese, palm oil, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
Trans Fats (fats processed to become saturated): Stick margarine, Fast Foods

*Adapted from Tamara Schryver's article "Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Your Health" from www. (and the back of my cereal box!) :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Lack of time is the number one reason people give for not exercising. And lack of results once they do start exercising isn't far behind. Interval training is a great solution for both of these common problems.

Interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with what is called active recovery, which is typically a less-intense form of the original activity.
The Swedes came up with a term for this type of training: fartlek, which means speed play. Not only is it an efficient training method, fartlek training can help you avoid injuries that often accompany non-stop, repetitive activity, and provides the opportunity to increase your intensity without burning yourself out in a matter of minutes.

Unlike traditional interval training, fartlek training does not involve specifically or accurately measured intervals. Instead, intervals are based according to the needs and perceptions of the participant. In other words, how you feel determines the length and speed of each interval.
Interval training utilizes the body's two energy-producing systems: the aerobic and the anaerobic. The aerobic system is the one that allows you to walk or run for several miles, that uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates from various sources throughout the body into energy.
The anaerobic system, on the other hand, draws energy from carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen) stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity such as sprinting, jumping or lifting heavy objects. This system does not require oxygen, nor does it provide enough energy for more than the briefest of activities. And its byproduct, lactic acid, is responsible for that achy, burning sensation in your muscles that you feel after, say, running up several flights of stairs.
Interval training allows you to enjoy the benefits of anaerobic activities without having to endure those burning muscles. In its most basic form, interval or fartlek training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout.

The intensity (or lack thereof) of each interval is up to how you feel and what you are trying to achieve. The same is true for the length of each interval. For example, if it is your habit to walk two miles per day in 30 minutes, you can easily increase the intensity of your walk (as well as up its calorie-burning potential) by picking up the pace every few minutes and then returning to your usual speed.

A great trick is to tell yourself that you'll run a particular distance, from the blue car to the green house on the corner, for example, and then walk from the green house to the next telephone pole.

When you first start fartlek training, each interval can be a negotiation with yourself depending on how strong or energetic you happen to feel during that particular workout. This helps to break up the boredom and drudgery that often comes from doing the same thing day after day.

Despite its simplicity, it also is possible to take a very scientific approach to interval training, timing both the work and recovery intervals according to specific goals. The box lists the four variables to keep in mind when designing an interval training program.
An certified personal trainer can help you design an interval training program based on your particular goals.

Consider the following four variables when designing an interval training program:
Intensity (speed) of work interval
Duration (distance or time) of work interval
Duration of rest or recovery interval
Number of repetitions of each interval
*Reprinted with permission from the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
This ACE Fit Fact is taken from ACE FitnessMatters® magazine. Want more information like this delivered directly to your home? ACE FitnessMatters, the bi-monthly magazine from the American Council on Exercise® (ACE®), is the source for the most accurate, up-to-date fitness information you need to live a healthy, active life. Subscribe to ACE FitnessMatters Magazine online or call 1-888-825-3636. The American Council on Exercise does not endorse or promote the companies, products or services that reside on this website. ACE does not receive revenue generated from any organizations that advertise on this Web site. Copyright 2003 American Council on Exercise. All Rights Reserved.