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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rowing challenge.wmv

B is for BICEPS

The biceps are located on the upper arm. The muscle actually crosses both the radio-ulna, elbow and shoulder joints -- but most of its function is to do with the elbow and radio-ulna when it flexes the arm and supinates the forearm.

There are 3 muscles to the biceps:
1. Brachialis - flexes the forearm while the arm is in supination
2. Brachioradialis - flexes the arm when the it is pronated (palm facing the ground)
3. Biceps brachii - supinates the forearm (turns the palm up) and flexes the arm while it is supinated.
These 3 all happen at the elbow and radio-ulna joint; but the bicep also has a function at the shoulder joint where it assists with stabilization of the shoulder.
1. Weak flexion (arm forwards and up)
2. Weak abduction (arm out to side when it is externally rotated)
3. Weak horizontal adduction (arm across the body when it is medially rotated).

Biceps are used quite a bit in a back workout - All Chin-ups, Pull downs and Rows will use your biceps. That's why it's good to think big and then small in your workouts! Train your big muscles first (like your back/chest) so that you get the most out of them... and then train your little ones (like your biceps and triceps).

Isolation exercises could be used at the end of your workouts if your goal is to build up your muscles and tone up. Some different types of curls people use are: Bicep curls, Preacher curls, Concentration curls, Cable curls, and Screw curls.

Monday, January 23, 2012

B is for BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Your Basal Metabolic Rate is a measure of how much energy your body uses when you are resting just for normal bodily function. It does not take into account any exercise you may do or how active your lifestyle is (or isn't). Your BMR contributes 50-80% of your energy used in a day.

Increased lean muscle mass results in a higher BMR; so often as you get older your BMR decreases as you lose muscle mass. Consequently, if you consistently participate in some resistance training you will build muscle mass and therefore have a higher BMR!

You can figure out your average BMR if you know your age, gender, height and weight. An average male may have a BMR of around 7100kJ per day while an average female 5900kJ per day. To find out exactly a DEXA scan may be done to determine the composition of the body in relation to muscle and fat.

Add On:
My husband just askled me why he would want to know this.
The reason this is important is firstly so that you know how many calories your body uses on a daily basis. If you want to lose weight you need your calorie balance to be in negative. You need to know how many calories (approx) your body uses in a day, added to the exercise you do -- to know how many calories you are expending. Eat less than that - you will lose weight.
The second reason this is important is embeded in the fact that muscle uses more energy than fat!! More lean muscle = more calories burnt while you sit and do nothing. Now -- That sounds good to me!! So add some weights to your workouts people!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

B is for BMI (Body Mass Index)

BMI has been used by the world health organisation since 1980's to get their obesity statistics. It is considered to be the best proxy for body fat percentages among ratios of weight and height; although it does not actually measure percentage of body fat - it is used to estimate it. This tool is intended to be used on men and women over 18yrs. The BMI of children will be compared against age and gender specific charts. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared.

Adult BMI chart.

Child BMI chart

The BMI's original purpose was to simply classify sedentary individuals using average body compositions. It allowed health professionals to discuss over and under weight problems objectively with their clients. It was never meant to be a tool to diagnose medical conditions.

A problem with this tool is the fact that it does not take into consideration a person's lean muscle mass. A person with a large amount of lean muscle mass may in fact come out as obese using the BMI tool -- when in fact they may be the complete opposite. Therefore, often fit and athletic people tend to be put in the overweight category - even though their body fat percentages fall in the 10-15% category.
People who have a physical disability and are unable to walk may have muscle wasting and their BMI may be low but this does not mean they are underweight.

In Australia the percentages are as follows:
18.5 & less - underweight
18.5-25 - normal
25-30 - overweight
30 & over - obese

Different countries use different figures depending on the build of its citizens. For people who are shorter (Asian populations), the cut-offs for overweight and obesity may need to be lower. This is because there is an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which begins at a BMI as low as 23.

Friday, January 20, 2012

B is for BURPEE

The burpee is a full body exercise -- and I have to say; one of my favourite ones to both do myself and also to give other people!! You can just use your own bodyweight with this exercise (no extra gadgets) and get your heart rate right up there!

It is executed like this:
1. Begin standing
2. Squat down and put your hands on the ground in front of you.
3. Jump your feet back in one motion so you are in a plank position.
4. Jump your feet back in one motion so you are back in the squat position.
5. Jump up with your arms extended above your head. Try and jump as high as possible.
6. Repeat this as fast as you can over and over!!

As with any exercise you can modify it to make it easier or harder depending on your fitness level/injuries.

Taking it down.
1. Instead of jumping your legs back - walk them out and in.
2. Put your hands on a bench or step so you are not down on the ground.
3. Instead of jumping up - stand up and perhaps do a calf raise.

Taking it up.
1. You can add a push up while you are in the plank position.
2. You can turn the jump at the end into a tuck jump, or jump up onto a step, or over something.
3. You can hold weights or wear a weighted vest while you perform the exercise.
4. You can perform the entire exercise using only one arm or one leg.
5. Instead of the jump at the end you can do a chin up.

Vary it a little.
1. Jump forward or sideways instead of up at the end.
2. Do star jumps instead of jumping up.

3. Try doing Burpee intervals -- 30 sec of burpees / 30 sec of boxing. Start off with 2 min rounds and work your way up to 3min rounds.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

B is for BAD.

How many times have you referred to foods as being good and bad?? Or even yourself for EATING those foods as being good or bad?? Moralising food is going to cause you problems. When you think of foods as being bad and think you did a bad thing by eating them -- you do feel bad -- and that often results in you eating more of the bad food to make yourself feel better!! LOL. Thinking of foods as being bad or dangerous leads to feelings of fear, guilt and shame and only adds to our negative relationship with food!

What we need to strive for is a non-judgmental self-awareness which will in turn help us with our self control. We need to consider food as being neutral. Enjoying some birthday cake on your birthday is not a bad idea or a good idea... Perhaps just don't make it become a habit after dinner every day! The actual cake is not good or bad -- it is just cake!!

People also make moral judgements about themselves around their body size and diet. Eating too much has you thinking how bad you are; eating salad has you thinking how good you are. People do it about other people too -- Thin people are seen to be controlled, attractive and good. Overweight people are seen to be gluttonous and unacceptable. (However, I have to say - I know heaps of thin people that have THE most unhealthy diet ever!!) You need to believe that what you eat does not make you a good or bad person!! Yes, you can make wise or unwise decisions which will in turn have consequences -- but it is not morally wrong for you to eat chocolate!! Instead of beating yourself up because you ate a "bad" food -- focus on eating healthy foods because you are choosing to live a healthy life. Eating some chocolate along the way does not make you a failure as a person because you didn't avoid that "bad" food... Just focus on making healthy choices - chocolate occasionally will not ruin your life or your journey over all. Stop torturing yourself!! Stop viewing yourself and the food you eat as morally good or bad.

The best approach is to enjoy a balance. It is not balanced to eat a diet of take away and highly processed foods all the time any more than it is balanced to only eat vegetables and water all the time. Deprivation and Diets don't work. Start eating healthy.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

B is for BEGIN.

The hardest part is often the beginning!! Whether you are referring to weight loss or merely to exercise in general.

I often think it's a bit like having a baby -- seriously hard work when they first come out; you wonder if it ever gets easier and you think you won't be able to cope... However, you soon discover that it just gets easier and easier as time passes! It's the same with the weight-loss journey - starting is hard and the first week is often seriously hard... but then as your willpower muscle gets stronger, you start to believe in yourself a little more and things seem to keep getting easier and easier!!

The saying JFDI works for a reason!! Once you are up and out the door - it just happens (most of the time). Mish has a great 10min rule. You tell yourself you only have to do 10min and then if you want to stop you can -- 99% of the time you will keep going!! The hardest part is getting up and getting going. Awesome rule!

People often will not begin the weight loss journey because they are afraid of something... Perhaps they have "began" way to many times before?? I know I got tired of "beginning" all the time when I was on my journey! I guess when you think of the alternative though -- it is not much of an alternative!! You either begin and keep plodding along and striving to change your life -- or you don't begin and you sit where you are for another year or two just wishing you would begin!! LOL! JFDI is great.

So, what's it gonna be people -- Begin?? OR Sit there, have time pass by with you wishing you had started a year ago.

Keep on trying. Never give up on something which you don't go a day without thinking about. Keep on plodding along and chipping away at things and you will eventually get to where you want to go. It all starts with BEGINNING. So BEGIN!


The abdominal muscles are located between the ribs and the pelvis on the front side of the body. There are four main muscle groups and they all have different functions. They provide movement and support to the trunk and assist in the breathing process. They also help protect the organs and provide postural support.  

Transversus abdominus is the deepest muscle. It stabilises the trunk.
Rectus abdominus is the characteristic 'six pack'. It moves the body forwards and backwards between the ribs and pelvis.
Internal and External Obliques are on each side of the rectus abdominus. They allow the trunk to twist from left to right.

The deep abdominal muscles together with the muscles in your back make up your 'core' muscles. These muscles keep your body stable and balanced and protect your spine. You should do exercises to train your core muscle group rather than standard crunches. This is much more functional and useful for everyday life. The cable machine is great to do functional core exercises on.

The cable crunch is probably not that functional but better than doing you basic crunch!!
The cable twist on a fitball is a good functional exercise. Works your abs while you are trying to balance on a ball.

The woodchop and reverse woodchop are also excellent for working the abs in a functional way. This will be great for improving your core strength.


Reverse Woodchop

Thursday, January 12, 2012


The Achilles connects the heel to the calf. The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body. Walking, running and jumping all subject the Achilles tendon to the persons entire body weight. If impact is involved (as in jumping/running) it can be 3-20 times the personas body weight!

Overuse, poor posture, accidents and improper footwear all can result in injuring the Achilles. The most common injuries are Achilles tendonitis and Achilles tendon rupture.

Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. This comes on slowly and does not go away until you do something about it. It is most painful when you start doing exercise and it goes away after you have been exercising for a while. It is extremely sore to squeeze.

Achilles tendon rupture is a tear of the tendon. This comes on very quickly and is unbearable pain. There may be a snap noise and you will be unable to walk. It is common in a sudden event such as pushing off on the toes.

To treat these couple of injuries, they need rest, ice and a physio. The rupture will need complete immobilization, and sometimes surgery.

Once you are pain free you should stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. Stretch the gastrocnemius and soleus out 3 times a day. When strengthening use calf raises and focus on the downward phase (eccentric contraction) - aim to count to 5 on the way down... nice and slow!!

Correct shoes can be the key to preventing and recovering from Achilles tendon injuries. Some people may benefit from orthotics which are inserts which you slot into your shoes, that alter your amount of cushioning and arch height.


The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become. Harold Taylor.

Achievement: Something accomplished, especially by superior ability, special effort or great courage. It is the final accomplishment of something after heaps of effort and often in spite of obstacles and discouragements.

Man is always more than he can know of himself, consequently, his accomplishments, time and time again will come as a surprise to him. (Golo Mann). Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like an achievement. The way to achieve is to keep on trying!! Then when you DO achieve what you set out to achieve -- you grow in confidence that you CAN actually achieve what you want!! Feeling good about yourself and being confident that you can achieve things leads to more achievements.

1. Set small achievable goals.
2. Do not stop - plod away until you achieve them.
3. Feel good about yourself and the fact that you achieved what you set out to do.
4. Feel confidant in your ability to reach your goals and persist until you do.
5. Set another small (but larger) achievable goal.
6. Repeat step 2-5 over and over.!! :-)