John Kelly's blog

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The results of a study on the effectiveness of targeting fat loss

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

A woman did a quarter million leg raises in a year, and there was no change, not a scintilla.  There was no spot reduction of fat deposits from her amply marbled hips. Well, that is just one person, and a sample size of one has no statistical power.  Maybe a larger sample size and more accuracy (MRI assessments) would produce a result of statistically significant spot reduction of fat from the area targeted with exercise.

Maybe not, from this article, Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality?, this quote from a study:

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Teddy Roosevelt's Speech, The Strenuous Life

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On April 10, 1899, Teddy Roosevelt delivered his speech, "The Strenuous Life."

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. It is hard to fail, but is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.

Besides the character building aspect that came from striving to succeed during that time, an additional benefit of that strenuous life was good health and vitality. Today, for most of us in this country, work is not physically demanding, and the hours are much shorter. 

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Austin's Zilker Park ranked fifth best city park

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Austin’s Zilker Park ranks fifth out of the ten best US city parks according the readers of USA Today.

A quote: “This 351-acre park within sight of downtown is arguably Austin’s most popular park. Highlights include miles of hike and bike trails, train rides on the Zilker Zephyr miniature train, a playscape for kids and a natural swimming pool (Barton Springs).”

There are plenty of events going on there as well. My favorite is the kite festival, the oldest kite festival in the US.  

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Bogus BMI Numbers

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Take two numbers, height and weight, and come up with another number, Body Mass Index (BMI), and as an indicator of good health you have next to nothing.  The BMI fails to take into account physical features - as an example those with broad shoulders will have a higher BMI compared to those with narrow shoulders. There is no differentiation between fat, muscle, and bone, and it does not account for gender.

The BMI often changes as we age. For some it is lower, but that does not necessarily mean better health. Thirty years ago I was in peak physical condition and had more muscle mass than I do today; I regularly played rugby, two 40 minutes halves of pretty much non-stop strenuous exertion with no substitutions.  According to this BMI chart I would have been bordering on obesity and classified as unhealthy.

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Austin ranks high for middle class cyclists

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

It is not surprising that at one point the Austin area grew at a rate of 165 new residents a day. According to one ranking of biking-friendly cities of the world Austin comes in at number eleven ahead of Paris, Seville, Dublin, and Berlin and according to another report Austin ranks fourth for cities that are the best for middle class families in the US.

A quote from the first report: 

"Austin is committed to helping its residents live greener lives, and it shows in their biking initiatives. There are plenty of paths and hundreds of bike racks for riders to use".

A quote from the second report:

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“I am going to miss my connection because you are too fat”

See video

The plane was delayed because the flight attendant could not find a seatbelt extension for Eric. The person sitting next to Eric turned to him and said with complete disgust, “I am going to miss my connection because you are too fat”. That was the turning point for Eric.

Eric, overweight with a number of health issues, had been told by his doctor to buy a funeral plot because he would need one in the next five years. He was 51 years old. On the advice of a doctor, he went to the animal shelter and saved a dog, an overweight middle-aged dog he named Peety. They made changes, and in a year they were transformed.

People need the right motivation to change their lives. Eric credits Peety with saving his life. Eric’s story is inspiring. The video, Eric and Peety, is poignant and well worth watching; it certainly made my day.

It has been more than five years since the change. Eric is still here, and he runs marathons.

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Leveraging workouts for more safely and productivity

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Demanding exercise is what stimulates positive change. Well designed exercise equipment will often use changes in leverage to make exercise more demanding and, interestly at the same time, safer.  

Wedge a crowbar under a heavy object and apply pressure. Your leverage decreases and difficulty level rises the closer you get to the heavy object. MedX exercise equipment (the kind we use at Austin Fitness Training and New Orleans Fitness Training) utilizes the same principle; while the weight stays the same throughout the range of motion, the leverage and difficulty level change.

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A year after hitting bottom

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

The presistant aches and pains from old injuries were my excuse for not exercising. Not exercising led to more aches and pains, less activity, weight gain, and weakness. In a weakened state illnesses are likely to be more frequent and protracted.

I got pneumonia and bronchitis, and my asthma flared up. My blood oxygen absorption rate fell to the low 80s. My heart had to work harder to get the oxygen I needed. As a result my blood pressure rose, and my resting pulse was twenty beats per minute higher. I was listless and constantly tired.

My cardiologist was concerned that I may have had a silent heart attack, so he conducted a series of tests.  I passed. That was almost a year ago, the bottom of a negative cycle. They say you have got to hit rock bottom before you commit to making a change.

Since that time I have changed my eating habits. I have not missed a strength training session regardless of the aches and pains. Funny thing is, the exercise made the aches and pains go away. Pain-free, I was able to add other activities. I began biking a couple times a week.

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Lasting Impressions: I will never get another dog

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Lasting Impressions, number two in a series.

In all my years working at various health clubs, several thousand people have walked through the doors. Some become members, some not. Some become casual acquaintances, while others become life-long friends. A few make a brief appearance and are gone. One such person, I think about to this day.

He came into our health club to look around; he was in his mid-fifties. He gave my dog Stella a rueful look, and after a long pause, he said he would never get another dog. I asked him why. He told me he had had a wonderful dog that died for no explainable reason when the dog was five years old. He said it was such a painful experience that he could not bear to go through it again.

Stella was two at the time. The guy’s words haunted me. I thought about what he said with the passing of each of Stella’s birthdays, especially on her fifth birthday. Stella turns 12 in a couple of days.

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