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Philip McGee

NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER

The Only 5 Exercises You Need for a Strong, Sexy Back

By Jaime Osnato Updated January 6, 2020

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Personal Trainer

Want To Build A Bigger Back? Contact Me.

January 19, 2020

     With pull-up bars, barbells, lat pulldown machines and TRX, there's enough equipment at the gym that you could spend all day working just your back muscles. But if you want to maximize your time, compound back exercises are the way to go. You don't need a complicated workout to target your back.

     Compound moves activate more than one muscle group at once — sometimes several — giving you a lot more bang for your buck in a lot less time. And the below five exercises in particular will help you streamline your back workouts.


Why You Should Care About Strong Back Muscles?


     Unlike your abs, say, which are front and center when you gaze in the mirror, your back is, well, behind you. And people tend to neglect the muscles they can't see in the mirror, says Morit Summers, certified personal trainer and creator of Brooklyn-based training studio Form Fitness. But that's a big mistake.

     "We must not forget about the back muscles," Summers says. "They are so important for general posture." A weak back causes bad posture and slouching, which can lead to a tight anterior chain (the muscles in the front of your body). This muscular imbalance can result in a host of problems like breathing issues, lack of mobility and back pain.


     That's critical, since approximately 80 percent of adults will struggle with low back pain during their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Fortunately, strength training — which builds muscle and bone mass — can help reduce your risk of back problems and other injuries.


Compound Versus Isolation Exercises


     Compared to isolation exercises, which only target one muscle (think: biceps curls), compound movements work multiple muscle groups. Not only do they save you a lot of time in the gym, compound exercises also burn more calories since they involve more muscles, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

     And that's not all. Multi-joint movements also improve your coordination, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, per ACE. Plus, as opposed to isolation exercises, compound exercises are functional. That means they prepare your body for the physical demands of daily life. For example, a squat press can train your muscles for bending and lifting a child.


     When it comes to the back, which is comprised of many muscles, it's almost impossible to work one muscle in isolation, Summers says. "Most back exercises are compound movements, which is great because it means we are getting more muscle engagement." So, you can do movements that target the lats, upper and lower back, but your hips, legs, shoulders and arms are going to get worked, too.


The 5 Best Exercises for a Stronger Back


     With so many back exercises to choose from, which are the best? These five compound moves will engage the most muscles at once and help you build a stronger, sexier back.


Move 1: Barbell Bent Over Row


     If you only have time for one back exercise, the bent-over row is your best option. This compound move ranks number one when it comes to activating multiple back muscles, according to a 2018 study commissioned by ACE. Plus, it also engages your legs and core, which need to work together to protect your spine, Summers says.


1. Grip a barbell with palms facing down so that your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in a straight line.

2. Lift the bar from the rack or floor, bend forward at the hips and keep your back straight with a slight bend in your knees.

3. Lower the bar toward the floor until your elbows are completely straight, then pull it toward your sternum while keeping a flat back.

Slowly lower the bar to the starting position.


Move 2: I-Y-T Raises


     Turns out, you don't need to lift heavy to see results. Even with a lighter dumbbell (or no weight at all), this move is particularly challenging for your back. Though this exercise is great for shoulder rehabilitation, it'll also fire up your back, Summers says.


     Indeed, according to the ACE study, it scored the greatest for activation in three of the five muscles, plus it snagged second best for recruiting the erector spinae muscles, which run the length of your spine.


1. Grab a lighter set of dumbbells. Lie on your stomach on a bench and extend your arms straight down toward the ground, with palms facing inward.

2. Lift your arms straight overhead to form the letter I, then slowly lower them back toward the ground.

3. Lift your thumbs toward the ceiling, with your arms at a 45-degree angle to form the letter Y.

4. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then slowly lower the arms down to the starting position.

5. Turning your palms toward the floor, lift your arms out to the side at a 90-degree angle to form the letter "T" and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

6. Lower your arms and return to the starting position.


Move 3: Pull-Ups


     Pull-ups focus on the muscles of the upper back, specifically the lats, but it's very much a whole-body exercise, Summers says. The move engages your biceps, deltoids, pectoralis minor and your core, which all work in concert to lift your body weight. You can do them assisted, unassisted and even weighted, depending on your strength level.


1. Grasp the bar with an overhand, wide grip.

2. Bend your elbows and pull your body up until your chin passes the bar.

3. Lower yourself back down to the starting point with control.


Tip

To make the exercise easier, loop a resistance band over the bar and put one foot in like a stirrup. Decrease the band resistance as you get stronger.


Move 4: Inverted Row


     "The inverted row is the next best thing to a pull up," Summers says. "You can use this exercise to learn how to lift your own body weight." In the ACE study, inverted rows achieved high marks for recruiting the middle trapezius and infraspinatus muscles (both in your upper back) as well as the lats and erector spinae.


     The bonus? You can easily adjust and modify inverted rows to suit your fitness level and needs, Summers says.


1. Grip a bar positioned on a rack at about waist height. Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Hang underneath the bar with your body straight, heels on the floor and arms fully extended.

3. Flex your elbows, pulling the chest toward the bar with your shoulder blades retracted.

4. Pause at the top of the motion, then slowly extended the elbows, returning to the starting position.


Move 5: Barbell Deadlift


     Though deadlifts weren't evaluated in the ACE study, they still made it on our list as one of the top compound exercises for building a strong back. That's because, in order to deadlift heavy weights safely and efficiently, you need to engage your back muscles, Summers says.


     Deadlifts also sculpt other posterior muscles — like your hamstrings and glutes — while challenging your core strength and stability too.


1. Load your barbell with an appropriate weight (or leave it unweighted).

2. Step up to the bar so your shins are almost touching and your feet are about hip-distance apart.

3. Bend at the knees and hips to squat down and grab the bar just outside your shins.

4. Keep your back flat, your core engaged and look forward.

5. Press through your feet and extend through your knees and hips as you bring the bar up to your pelvis. Fully extend at the top and pull your shoulders back. Don't let the bar get too far away from your legs at any time during the exercise.

6. Reverse your movements, bending at the hips and knees, to return the bar to the floor with control.

     So follow these tip to a well defined bigger back. If you have any questions on the exercises or if you need a personal trainer to help you achieve your goals don't contact me @ 210-952-4203.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip "FitGuy46"




 


eating healthy, working out, fit, healthy and fit

Eating Healthy And Working Out

4 Years After Being Healthy And Fit

Fitness Journey Continued: Eating Healthy And Working Out

January 2, 2020

This is me after 4 years of eating healthy and working out. I truly feel like a new man. I can walk long distances without getting tired. I am in excellent shape. In the process I started studying to be a personal trainer. I recently got my certification to be a Certified Personal Trainer. I have 4 1/2 years of working out in a gym and I know what techniques work and which ones don't. So if you are looking for trainer that will give you instrumental support, emotional support, informational support, and companionship support then call or text me to set up a free consultation. 

FitGuy46 Personal Training Blog

An Ongoing Series Of Informational Entries

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Sedentary Lifestyle

Before Starting My Fitness Journey

My Fitness Journey

January 2, 2020

This used to​ be me before I started on my fitness journey. I was severely out of shape. I get winded if I had to walk too far. A I did was work, come home, sit in my recliner, and watch TV. My eating habits were very unhealthy. I ate tons of junk food. I didn't drink very much water. I was miserable. One day I was sitting in my recliner thinking "What if something happened to me?" What would happen to my wife and kids? That's when I made the decision to start on my health and fitness journey. 


I weighed in at 215 pounds and I was 27% body fat. I'm not going to lie to you, it was hard as hell when I started. I started out by drinking more water. I started weighing my food and only eating the recommended servings for each meal instead of the all you can eat method. My wife got me a gym membership to Planet Fitness. After about 6 months of working out and eating right, I lost 24 pounds!!! I have been working out for about 4 1/2 years now and I'm in the best shape of my life. I got down to 178 pounds but my wife kept telling me that I was too skinny. So I started working out to build muscle. I'm weighing in at 201 pounds as of today with a 11% body fat. I'm here to say if your heart is in it and if you put your mind to it and give 100%, you too can reach your health and fitness goals. At first its motivation that's driving you and then habit kicks in along with motivation and that's how you are able to keep pushing forward towards your goals. The hardest part is getting started. So if you need help getting started don't hesitate to contact me.




 


eating healthy, working out, fit, healthy and fit

Eating Healthy And Working Out

4 Years After Being Healthy And Fit

Fitness Journey Continued: Eating Healthy And Working Out

January 2, 2020

This is me after 4 years of eating healthy and working out. I truly feel like a new man. I can walk long distances without getting tired. I am in excellent shape. In the process I started studying to be a personal trainer. I recently got my certification to be a Certified Personal Trainer. I have 4 1/2 years of working out in a gym and I know what techniques work and which ones don't. So if you are looking for trainer that will give you instrumental support, emotional support, informational support, and companionship support then call or text me to set up a free consultation. 

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Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers Are Essential

NASM Certified Personal Trainer

Hi I’m a recent grad from NASM. I am a Certified Personal Trainer. I specialize in fitness assessment, program design and weight training.


I want to help people who have had difficulties in the past incorporating fitness as a lifetime goal. My desire is to help potential clients see fitness as a lifetime endeavor. My philosophy is that fitness should be sustainable and a lifelong goal.


My plan as a fitness coach is to teach my clients to make in incorporate fitness as a permanent part of their lives to be engaging, and for the outcome to continuously be revolving into a better physical shape. Make it a great day!!!


So if you live in the San Antonio area, Boerne area, New Braunfels area, San Marcos area, or Austin area please contact me for a free consultation.

Philip “FitGuy46”

core, strong core, abs, core strength

Core Strength

Strong Core, Prevent Injuries

Having A Strong Core Helps In Preventing Injuries

How a Strong Core Can Keep You Fit and Pain-Free

By Isadora BaumUpdated December 30, 2019

Reviewed by Katie McKinney, ACE CPT and GFI, FMS Level 1


When it comes to being in shape and working toward your fitness goals, a lot depends on your core. The muscles in your core — which extend from your chest and upper back to your hips and glutes — initiate and support just about every movement and are important for building flexibility and endurance.


Father exercising with baby in park, enjoying the benefits of a strong core

A strong core means balance and stability in your daily life as well as your workouts. Not to mention, keeping up with the kids.


So, What Exactly Is Your Core?


How a Strong Core Benefits Your Everyday Life

Basically, your core supports everything you do. "First and foremost, it supports and protects your spine," says Kat Wiersum, certified Pilates instructor at Amplified Pilates Center and interval instructor at Studio Three in Chicago.


That can mean preventing or lessening back pain — good news for the 80 percent of Americans that deal with it, according to the American Chiropractic Association.


"Beyond that, it ensures your body is in correct alignment and lets your bones and muscles move in the most uninhibited way possible." The stronger your core is, the more correctly your body can move, which will help you feel less pain or tension during your day-to-day life.


When your core is weak, it can lead injury in other parts of your body as the other muscles attempt to compensate. For example, if your glutes (yes, they're part of your core!) are weak, that can lead to overuse in your hip flexors and lower back, Wiersum says.


A solid, stable torso also gives your workout performance a boost. For example, in a 2018 study in The Saudi Journal of Sports Medicine, working on core strength improved the pace of speed skaters. And a March 2019 study in PLoS One, found that college athletes were able to improve their balance, endurance and running economy with eight weeks of core training.


Why Strong Abs Are Also Important?


Your entire core is important, but your abs are important on their own, too! Since your abs are a part of your core (and a pretty large part, at that), the stronger your abs are, the stronger your core will be as a whole.


"Since we spend a lot of time moving forward and forward-facing, the front-body muscles tend to do a little more work naturally than the back-body muscles," Wiersum says. So, your abs are primarily responsible for keeping your posture strong and your body aligned.


How to Tell if You Have a Strong Core?


With all of the above-mentioned benefits, who wouldn't want a strong core? But how can you tell if yours needs work?


Lift yourself up into a forearm plank and assess. Does it look like your belly button is pushing outwards? If so, try and engage it better to bring it toward your spine, Wiersum says.

Now time yourself. "You should be able to hold it for at least 30 seconds without lifting or shifting your hips," says Katie Dunlop, CPT.


Or you can try the leg-lowering test. "Lie on your back with hands at your side or thumbs slightly under your hips," Dunlop says. "Straighten your legs and lower them toward the ground without compromising a neutral spine position to at least a 45-degree angle," she says.

Read more: Build a Core Workout Routine That Targets More Than Just Your Abs

What Six-Pack Abs Say About Your Core Strength?


So if you have six-pack abs, that must mean you have amazing core strength, right? Not always. "Simply having a six pack doesn't mean you're strong, and people can also have a six pack that shows because of their low body fat percentage, but they may not have solid core strength," Dunlop says.


Usually, six-pack abs can indicate that you have strong rectus abdominis muscles (the front of your abdomen), but you could still be overlooking the rest of the muscles of your core Wiersum says. And that puts you at risk for injury and pain. "This is common when people only work their rectus abdominis and neglect their back muscles especially," she says.


At the same time, someone may be strong and have a well-functioning, aligned core but never have visible abs. So, don't use just your abs as a way to define a strong core. Think of it as a nice perk if you have a chiseled midsection, but not as a measure of what's necessary to be healthy or fit.

How to Strengthen Your Core


Ensure that you're reaping all the benefits of a strong core you whole life long with these exercises.


Move 1: Forearm Plank


Lie on your stomach with your forearms tucked underneath your body. Your elbows should be under your shoulders with your forearms extending out in front of you.

Lift your hips and torso off the floor, supporting your body using your elbows, forearms and hands.

Keep your body aligned from your ankles to your neck, keeping your back and hips as straight as possible. Look three to five inches in front of you to keep a neutral neck alignment.

Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, or as long as you can.


Move 2: Bicycle Crunches


Begin lying on the ground and place your hands behind your head.

Raise your legs at a 45-degree angle, fully extended.

Raise your torso and bring your right knee toward your chest, twisting your left elbow toward the knee.

Keeping the shoulder blades off the ground, extend the right leg and bring the right knee toward the face, twisting the left elbow toward the knee.

Continue alternating, keeping your upper body off the ground.


Move 3: Bird-Dog


Start on your hands and knees with your back parallel to the floor.

Slowly straighten your left arm and right leg until both are aligned with your back, pointing straight out.

Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly alternate to your right arm and left leg, returning to the starting position each time.

As you alternate arms and legs, focus on keeping your back and torso as still as you can. Don't arch your back or allow your hips and shoulders to sag in either direction.


By incorporating core training in your workouts, it will help you in preventing injuries.


Make it a great day!!!

Philip "FitGuy46"


Strength Training At Home

The Ultimate Workout to Start Strength Training at Home

By Greg Presto Updated September 25, 2019


You don't need to spend a fortune or install a giant piece of new fitness furniture to get fit and build muscle in your home. There are at-home TRX workouts, resistance band workouts and even simple body-weight workouts that'll get the job done even in the smallest spaces.

Another easy go-to? Dumbbells. Not only are they inexpensive, but they're also a versatile, easy-to-use tool you can grab for a variety of different workouts.

Read more: How to Find the Best At-Home Workout For You

Just like other exercise equipment, you'll find various different types of dumbbells on Amazon and at your nearest sporting goods store. Adjustable dumbbells are a fantastic option for a compact, at-home system and will allow you to do almost any strength training workout in a spare bedroom or basement. But if you're not in the market to shell out $250 or more at the start, you can grab just a few pairs of fixed-weight dumbbells and still get a great workout.

"I would recommend buying a pair you can grow into rather than grow out of," says Steven Head, a master trainer at Sport & Health in McLean, Virginia, and the author of Not Another Fitness Book: A Memoir. A Manual. A Message for 49 Million Baby Boomers. "If you buy a heavier pair, you can do certain exercises now for five or six reps. Two months down the road, you can do those moves with 10 or 12 repetitions."

Strength Training at Home With Dumbbells

Reach for a heavier pair of dumbbells and try a workout comprised of these five moves from Head. Do five sets of five reps of each exercise to start, progressing to more repetitions over time. Rest 30 seconds between each move.

Move 1: Dumbbell Squat

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out from parallel, dumbbells hanging at your sides, palms facing in.

Push your hips back and bend your knees to descend until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, keeping your chest up and your weight on your heels.

Keep the weight of your body in your heels and press back to standing.

Move 2: Dumbbell Deadlift

Stand with the dumbbells in front of you.

Bend at your hips and knees to grab the weights a little wider than shoulder width with an overhand grip.

Keeping your weight in your heels and maintaining the natural curve of your spine, pull the dumbbells up as you thrust your hips forward and stand.

Reverse the maneuver until the dumbbells reach your shins.

Repeat.

Move 3: Dumbbell Single-Arm Row

Place your left knee on a weight bench, bend your torso forward and place your left hand on the bench to support your body.

Reach down and grab the dumbbell with your right hand, returning to this position where your body is parallel to the floor.

Pull your right arm up until your hand reaches the side of your chest.

Lower the weight back down and repeat.

Do all your reps on this side, switch sides and repeat.

Move 4: Dumbbell Floor Press

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your upper arms should be at your sides.

Hold the dumbbells up over your elbows.

Pressing your mid- and upper back into the floor, press the weights straight up over your chest.

Bend your elbow to return to start and repeat.

Move 5: Farmer's Walk

Stand with heavy dumbbells next to your feet.

Push your hips back to squat down and lift the dumbbells, driving through your heels to stand up and hold them at your sides. Your shoulders should be back, chest out and head directly in line with your shoulders.

Brace your core and walk forward, keeping the dumbbells at your sides, for a distance of about 50 feet.

Place the dumbbells on the floor, rest for 30 seconds and repeat four more times.

So no excuses!!! Get your workout in at home with these exercises. If you need the motivation contact me @ 210-952-4203. Make it a great day!!!

Philip "FitGuy46"

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Making Opportunities

Hard Work Pays Off

Making Opportunities

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - By Thomas Edison


     Other people get all the breaks, don't they? Or so we tell ourselves. While it's true that sometimes others really do get a break, we could do a lot more to create our own breaks if we really wanted to.


     Did we skip any opportunity to get some training because it was scheduled after work hours? Did we pass up a chance to try something new because we were nervous about whether we could do it? Maybe it's time to roll up our sleeves and work a little harder or longer.


How can I create my own opportunity-at work or in my personal life? What steps do I need to take? These are the questions that i will be asking myself as I start my new business as a Certified Personal Trainer.


Make it a great day!!!

Philip "FitGuy46"


 


       

5 Small Changes Dietitians Wish More People Would Make

By Sarah Watts Updated January 11, 2020

Fact Checked

Ask almost anyone about their New Year's resolutions and chances are good that "eating healthy" is near the top of the list. But while some people opt to overhaul their diets completely at the start of the year, making small behavioral changes you're more likely to stick with could do more to improve your health in the long run.

Happy young friends hangout in coffee shop

Whether or not you're trying to lose weight, dietitians wish you would practice healthy moderation with all foods, including carbs and sweets.

In that spirit, we polled registered dietitians to get their take on the small, sustainable changes anyone can make to improve their diet, along with tips and tricks to help implement them. Below are their top five responses.

Read more: Personal Trainers Dish on the 8 Small Changes They Wish More People Would Make

1. Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Lunchbox with quinoa salad with tomato and cucumber, blue berry and trail mix

Aim to fill half your plate with these colorful, nutrient-rich foods.

Credit: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages

It's no great surprise that fruits and vegetables are good for your health: According to Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a diet rich in a variety of both can prevent diseases like cancer, stroke and diabetes.

Unfortunately, a November 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 1 in 10 Americans are getting the recommended daily serving of these powerhouse foods (that's 1.5 to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of veggies).

Jenna Appel, RD, dietitian and owner of Appel Nutrition Inc., recommends changing the layout of your plate so that half is made up entirely of fruits and veggies. If half a plate is too daunting, focus instead on putting a variety of colors — at least three — on your plate to give your body a healthy mix of different nutrients.

Learn how to fill your plate with healthy, nutrient-dense foods by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today!

2. Stop Thinking of Carbs as the Enemy

High Angle View Of Brown Rice

Whole-grain carbohydrates are an important and healthy part of a balanced diet.

According to dietitian Rachel Fine, RD, owner of To the Pointe Nutrition, when clients want to lose weight or eat healthier, foods that contain carbohydrates are some of the first to go (looking at you, keto diet). But Fine says this macronutrient plays an important role in our health and shouldn't be shunned.

"Carbs are critical for the body because they provide the most efficient form of fuel, especially for exercise," she says.

According to the Mayo Clinic, carbohydrates should make up anywhere from 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories.

The key is choosing the right carbs. In addition to half a plate of fruits and vegetables, structure your meals so that a quarter of the plate contains unprocessed, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa or farro.

3. Skip the Day-After Cleanse

Woman's hands cutting fresh fruits

Skip detoxes or "cleanses" and focus on healthy foods that hydrate your body instead.

Despite what some diets would have you believe, our bodies are naturally designed to manage their own detoxing — no juicing required.

"From the liver and skin to our intestines, we are metabolically wired to naturally excrete waste that builds from both natural metabolism and from our environment," says Fine. "Detox diets also wreak havoc on your metabolism by introducing a cycle of undereating and then overeating."

Instead, promote your body's own natural cleansing by eating foods that promote natural liver and kidney function, such as dandelion greens, artichokes and grapefruit. And of course, remember to drink lots of water, since adequate hydration helps every organ in your body perform at its best — more on that next.

Read more: 5 Things to Do Instead of Detoxing After a Big Meal

4. Stay Hydrated

Beautiful woman in kitchen drinking a glass of water

Drinking enough water is crucial to keeping your body healthy and may even help you lose weight.

Water is pretty much the best tool in your arsenal if you want to get healthy: Not only can it clear your skin, help you lose weight and help carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells, a January 2019 review in the journal Nutrients says it can also cure fatigue, improve cognition and improve your mood.

Drinking the recommended amount, however — about eight 8-ounce glasses each day — can be a challenge.

"Challenge yourself to have at least one glass of water upon waking," suggests dietitian Brittany Modell, RD. And aim to down two more glasses before each meal. One trial that included 84 people, published August 2015 in Obesity, found that those who did so lost more weight than those who didn't, likely because the added liquid helped suppress their appetite.

To add a little variety to your H2O, "squeeze in some lemon, add a drop of apple cider vinegar or include sliced cucumbers to jazz it up," Modell says.

5. Treat Yourself

Best friends eating ice-cream

Sweet treats are totally fine in moderation.


Sugar fiends, rejoice! While eating too much refined sugar can contribute to diseases like diabetes and cancer, denying yourself of any kind of sugary treat only leads to overeating, Fine says.

"When sweets are labeled as 'bad' and placed on the 'forbidden' list, we subconsciously want them. But once we grant ourselves unconditional permissions to eat our favorite foods, we relieve the weight of responsibility that these foods hold over us," she says.

Pro tip: Dedicate a few hours to batch-cooking and stock the fridge with treats that provide nutrients as well as natural sources of sugar, such as homemade sorbet or chocolate almond balls. This way, when you reach for a treat (and you will), you're not spiking your blood sugar or totally derailing your healthy-eating goals.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a healthy lifestyle.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”