Tag Archives: fun

Walking Toward Fitness

Every journey begins with a first step, walking is a healthy first step toward your fitness goals.

Walking is probably the best and most overlooked fitness movement we can do for ourselves.In modern society walking has become a “last resort” as a mode of transportation. We drive, cab it, take the bus, and ride a bike all in hopes of storing up those elusive minutes of free time, so walking has lost its top of mind status in our high tech way of life. Walking is “free” so it’s difficult for companys and MLM’s to market and make money from it, so walking and its benefits get little high level exposure. The truth of the matter is we need to slow down and take ownership of our health and wellness needs and walking is a great foundation.

Have you ever heard the phrase move it or lose it? All it takes to get started is 30 minutes in oxygen each day. When walking focus on breath, core integration and glute engagement. If you are unsure if your glutes are engaging simply reach back and grab them, you should feel them engage and release through each step. Walk at a pace that will get your heart rate into a range that is 55-75% of your aerobic capacity. If you can walk and carry a conversation but feel like you are slightly outside your comfort zone then you are there. Even a leisurely stroll will begin to build a healthy sustainable mindset. Walking is a great form of stress relief, amazing for joint mobility, and great for fat loss when combined with healthy food choices.

Walking is an extremely progressive form of movement. As your fitness increases it is easy to add challenges like the ones in our Primal Walking Program inspired by Mark Sisson. Progress from flat surfaces to hills, then to trails, change the tempo; even add bodyweight movements such as lunges, push-ups or side planks. Do a series of farmers walks, carry a knapsack or use a weighted vest, even take portable fitness equipment like a TRX and turn your walk into a full on training session. You can add performance breathing techniques designed to sharpen your focus and deepen your concentration, all great progressions to enhance your life and longevity all thanks to taking a step.

We have lost or forgotten some of our walking skills in modern times. Due to the use of bulky athletic shoes designed for heel contact we have lost our natural gait, in the process we suffer increased joint and foot pain. I became a big fan of barefoot walking after a bout of Plantar Fasciitis. At first I went through the normal channels, the doctor, the specialist, sports therapist, and orthotics all with no relief. I came across an article on the Tarahumara. They use the toe strike method of running, which is natural for barefoot runners. In this article it talked about their low incidence of foot ailments, so being in a great deal of pain I said “what do I have to lose”. I started a barefoot walking program and within 3 weeks my symptoms had disappeared. Today I use New Balance minimus trail shoes as they add some protection from the elements and still have the benefits of barefoot walking.

 Walking is truly an activity that connects Body Mind and Soul. Walking is an amazing meditative activity. “Mindfulness”, when walking is a great way to stay in the moment and dissolve that dreaded past and future cycle which forces us out of the present. By focusing on our breath and each and every step we take we get closer to our inner being and true purpose. When it comes to fitness health and wellness, make small consistant, long term changes that are sustainable, and enjoy the journey.

By Bart Wagar.

“If a fine sword is not constantly polished, it will never show its luster. If you don’t practice, you will never be able to master universals and particulars. Plenty of people can talk about Zen, but not many can live it. Get to work!”


Zenfit Training After 40

Training Post Forty Years of Age

 I found this article by Jason Ferruggia in the Huffington Post, he makes some good points for those of us that are seeking to stay in great condition, and injury free, post 40 years of age. I have found in my own experience that longer warm-ups and the transition to a more bootcamp style training regimen have been most beneficial. He uses the word play in his observations and I fully embrace that concept. Note that Tabata protocol and high intensity interval training at lower weights or even body-weight are extremely time saving, affective methods for those of us that want to perform their best in a sport or recreational activities.

 Jason Ferruggia states…

 When you notice that first gray hair rearing its ugly head, there are more important things to do than rush to the store for a bottle of Just For Men. Hard-training fitness enthusiasts over the age of 40 need to make some pretty serious adjustments to their workouts if they want to continue to make progress and remain injury free.

 In your 20s and early 30s you can lift heavy weights much more frequently, loading the spine and joints with reckless abandon. As long as you don’t do anything too crazy, you’ll usually be okay. But once you start creeping north of 35 and getting closer to the big four-oh, you might not be so lucky. Below is a list of important changes you need to make to your training program.

 1) Reduce frequency of spinal loading. I often have younger lifters squat two to three times per week or squat one day and deadlift another. However, this is not such a good idea for the older lifter. The lower back takes longer to recover than any other part of your body, and as you get older this becomes even more noticeable. Therefore, it’s best to put all your lower back intensive exercises like squats, deadlifts, good mornings, etc., all on one training day so that you have a week to recover.

 2) Cut lower body sessions to once per week. As you get older, it becomes more important to do some extra conditioning work like jumping rope, running hills or pushing a sled. This is both for your cardiovascular health and for keeping body fat gains at bay. Because of this, you’ll want to cut your lower body strength workouts down to just one day per week (in most cases). That will allow you to still get out and run or play without running into any recovery issues or over-stressing your knees.

 3) Limit heavy pressing to one day per week. Heavy pressing is great for building up the chest, shoulders and triceps, but it also takes a toll on your rotator cuff muscles and all the tendons and ligaments surrounding your shoulder joint if you do it too often. The over-40 crew is better off limiting their heavy press work to once a week and substituting in more joint friendly variations like suspended pushups and higher rep dumbbell presses on their other upper body workout of the week.

 4) Eliminate (or drastically reduce) low-rep training. Working up to heavy sets in the one to five rep range is awesome for building strength. But these sets can also beat you up pretty good. Older lifters will have a much harder time recovering from excessively heavy weights and thus would be well served to keep the majority of their sets in the eight to 12 rep range. As long as you train smart and keep a log book you can still make tremendous strength gains in this rep range while sparing your joints. The other great thing about training with higher reps overall is that it will help you preserve muscle mass. Guys in their late 30s will naturally start to lose muscle mass as they age. By training with moderately heavy weights in the range of eight to 12 reps, you can reverse this and will actually be able to build some more muscle.

 5) Do longer and smarter warm-ups. When I was in my 20s, I used to walk into the gym and immediately put 50 percent of my first working set on the bar. That was my warm-up. Nowadays, having learned my lessons the hard way, I take a full 10-15 minutes to warm up properly by doing mobility drills for the shoulders, hips and other injury prone areas. Guys in their late 30s and 40s absolutely have to make time for this. Other important parts of the warm-up include some light calisthenics, foam rolling to improve soft tissue quality, muscle activation drills for the upper back and glutes as well as some dynamic stretching. Whenever you’re pressed for time, it’s better to cut out some of your workout than it is to skimp on your warm-up.

 With those five minor adjustments you can continue to train safely and make progress well into your golden years.

 Good luck.

 Get Jason’s free muscle-building e-book and learn more about hardcore training at JasonFerruggia.com