John Kelly's blog

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Who was the first President to have a personal trainer?

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

I read the other day that President Obama has a personal trainer.  I tried to find out which President was the first to have a personal trainer. Ike golfed, Abe and Reagan chopped, Nixon bowled, Hoover tossed a medicine ball, Bush cleared brush, Clinton and Carter ran, Kennedy sailed, but who was the first President to have an actual personal trainer putting him through the paces? Google was not very helpful in this regard. I have read biographies of about half the Presidents.  I am guessing it was probably Teddy Roosevelt - my attribution the TR biography, Mornings On Horseback about TR’s early years.

Teddy was asthmatic and a bit weak as a child. His parents hired a personal trainer to train him on the fourth story of their Harlem brownstone.  He was also home schooled and had a dance instructor.

Stop by  Austin Personal Training or New Orleans Fitness trainers training future Presidents since 2001.

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What will your quality of life be like eight years from now? An anecdote

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

After reaching middle age, most people will likely see a decline in their physical abilities over an eight year span.  That is not unavoidable. At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness trainers  we present our clients with challenges they hopefully can achieve.  If you give someone a goal that is not achievable why bother attempting it?  If you have a goal that is not really challenging there will be little in the way of improvement. A good trainer will know where to set the bar.  

Timothy is a one of our trainers, and Leif is one of his clients.  One of the challenges Timothy gave Leif was a static hold on the chin-up.  Timothy had Leif hold himself with his chin above the chin-up bar with his knees bent and held as high as possible for as long as possible. This requires tremendous effort and toward the end it requires every fiber of your being just to maintain that position. This exercise works the upper-back, chest, arms, and abdominal muscles.

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A Strength Training Program For Cancer Survivors

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Several years ago I was discussing with a cancer survivor the possibility of her starting an exercise program.  I told her it might be difficult.  She replied, “John, I survived cancer; I can do your workout.”  Boy was she right.  She responded very well to exercise.  All the cancer patients we worked with have responded positively to exercise - everyone, but some cancer survivors were often discouraged from exercising.   A quote from this New York Times article,Balancing Painful Swelling With a Desire to Exercise:

 “FOR almost 20 years, the prevailing wisdom among most doctors has been that breast cancer survivors at risk of contracting lymphedema — a debilitating, irreversible swelling of one or both arms — should avoid most upper-body exercise or lifting anything heavier than five pounds. For many women, the stern warnings meant they could not shop for groceries or even carry their children. Running and walking were safe, but anything that taxed the arms was considered dangerous. ”

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Winning more but training less

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

A few years back Laurence participated in the New York City Triathlon. He did well but didn’t win his age group.  Three years later, he finished 24th overall in the New York City Triathlon overall and finished first in his age group, 45 to 49. He beat his nearest competitor by over five minutes.

He attributed a large part of his success to HIIT, high intensity interval training, a strength/cardio workout taken to a deep fatigue. He had been doing it four years along with his usual swimming, running, biking, and kayaking. His times in triathlon events came down. The strength training program enabled him to spend less time on his bike and in the pool. More time for recovery resulted in continuing improvement. 

I am stronger, recover faster and only devote 30 minutes a week to weightlifting. It is like discovering the fountain of youth. It really does work.

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Strength training while undergoing radiation treatment

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Stan is 71 years old and has cancer. He was slated to undergo 70 straight days of radiation treatment along with estrogen therapy. He was told by his doctor that he would lose strength if he didn't exercise, and that the strength loss would likely be permanent. 
 
Stan began strength training. Stan's recovery abilities were already compromised from the trauma of the radiation. Strength training produces a stimulus. That stimulus is trauma to the muscles and to the entire system. As a result of the exercise, the body as a way of achieving self-preservation, makes a positive adaptation by becoming stronger.
 
 If the strength training trauma far exceeds the body's ability to recover the body can actually become weaker. We design our strength training program based not on how much exercise you can withstand but based on what is the least amount that will produce the most results – that

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Shoulder pain and referred pain finally disappears

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

I was sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth cleaned, and I began to moan. Not because of a recent Achilles operation, not because of my teeth, no it was because of pain in both my shoulders.  In addition to pain in my shoulders, for weeks I had been having referred pain running down my arms, and numbness in both my hands down to my fingertips. It was intolerable. Sleeping was horrible. My range of motion was increasingly becoming restricted, and the outlook looked worse if I did not do something. One shoulder was well on its way to becoming frozen.

My doctor gave me a couple Cortisone shots, and I went to physical therapy.  The pain dissipated and I was discharged.  I was still somewhat restricted in my use, and I could see the possibility of the pain flaring up again. I began strength training again. My trainer restricted my range of motion to a pain-free range. The range was very small at first, but it increased over time. Each week he had me lift a little more. Slowly my range of motion increased and the last remnants of pain disappeared.  I did not have to get into a special position to sleep.  I just slept hassle-free.

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Exercise Intensity

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

What is exercise intensity and why is it important?

In simplest terms it is how hard an exercise is at a point in time.  It is the level of momentary exertion during exercise.  This can be quantified by measures such as a person's heart rate expressed as percentage of one's maximum heart rate or pounds of weight lifted expressed as a perecentage of one's one-rep maximum lift. Exercise of sufficient intensity is necessary to stimulate the body to make a change.  When the body is worked beyond what it is equipped to handle the body adapts as a form of self-protection.   The body will make a positive adaptation only if given enough time to recover from the exercise.  

How high should the level of exercise intensity be?

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Step away from that desk and get back into shape

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

Steve liked his work, but it afforded him very little free time. He worked long hours, and he was at point in his life that he had invested so much in his education and his career that he really needed to follow through with this time commitment. Add to that the commitment to family, and he had little time or inclination to set aside time for exercise.  His situation was not all that uncommon. 

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Can trying to get one extra rep result in the set being less safe and less intense at the same time?

personal trainers at work personal training New Orleans

You got nine repetitions the last workout session. You sure would like to get that tenth rep.  As a result of getting the extra rep, and as a form of self-protection, the body will make a positive adaptation (become stronger). This is a protocol that works if it's done correctly.

The trouble is, in the process, corners are often cut, and the exercise can become less safe and less intense. If the work is not of a sufficient intensity there is no reason for the body to become stronger.  High-intensity work places place demands on the system that require the system to adapt positively to survive.

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