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There’s no doubt about it, passing the accredited NASM CPT certification exam is a task not to be taken lightly. It requires high levels of dedication and discipline to learn and integrate the knowledge and skills needed to be a fitness professional in today’s competitive environment. We spent extensive time listening to enthusiasts and experts alike, and redesigned the NASM CPT certification program from the ground up, in order to better prepare members to pass the exam than ever before!

Instructional Design – It Makes a Difference!

Setting the foundations for the program to build upon are our instructional designers. For the first time ever, we have incorporated highly successful concepts of instructional design into the framework of the textbook and online content alike; making the program more relevant to the adult learning process than ever before. This includes new pedagogical features such as Memory Tips to remember more difficult concepts, Trainer Tips to support concepts with advice from industry experts, and callout boxes providing scientific insight, points of caution and pitfalls to avoid, as well as case scenarios providing real-life relevance with each chapter to support critical thinking and deeper levels of understanding.

There’s plenty of buzz about healthy bacteria in some yogurts, supplements, and other foods. The stories range from study results to scam warnings. Here, two NASM experts clear up confusion and ofer a few surprising options of foods that contain probiotics. Spoiler: They’re definitely worth eating!

Having a healthy gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract is largely a numbers game, says Dr. Geoff Lecovin, MS, DC, ND, L.Ac., CSCS, CISSN, NASM-CPT (CES, PES, FNS) and an NASM Master Instructor, who holds master’s degrees in nutrition, exercise science, and acupuncture. In the adult gut, there are 100 trillion live microbes, also called microbiota. These bacteria outnumber our own body cells 10 to 1, but thankfully not all of these microbes are pathogenic. Some are not only beneficial but essential. (1)

When it comes to these bacteria, “you’re basically trying to outnumber the bad guys with the good guys,” says Dr. Lecovin, owner of Northwest Integrative Medicine in Redmond, Wash. “Probiotics are live food ingredients that can alter this microbiota and confer health benefits,” he says. “They are symbiotic organisms that are there to live–and to help us live.” (1, 4)

Other probiotics-related numbers are also impressive. In 2015, probiotics made up $36.6 billion of the market in terms of ingredient sales, according to Global Market Insights, Inc. And this organization expects that figure to surpass $64 billion by 2023. (9) That’s probably not a bad thing: Research shows that people in Western countries have less diversity among bacteria in their GI tract than in previous years. Antibiotic overuse, excessive hygiene, smaller family sizes, and dietary changes (fewer whole foods, more simple carbs) are some of the things that have shielded Westerners from exposure to bacteria which, it turns out, is not entirely a good thing. (2, 4)

Despite research dating back over 30 years, several misconceptions surrounding lactic acid (lactate) still exist amongst fitness practitioners and the general public (1). Common misconceptions include that it was considered a primary cause of fatigue during exercise as well as the cause of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) sometimes experienced 12-to-72 hours following exercise. Furthermore, it was also incorrectly regarded as a waste product of metabolism that would impair athletic performance if it was allowed to accumulate within the muscle cell.

On the contrary, we have come to learn that lactic acid (lactate) is more friend-than-foe and actually serves as a viable energy reserve for both our aerobic and anaerobic pathways (2, 3). It is true that the accumulation of this product during intense exercise can alter muscle pH and impede muscle contraction while simultaneously activating pain receptors (aka acute muscle pain), but this issue normally resolves itself within 30 to 60 minutes following the cessation of an exercise bout (3). The DOMS experienced over subsequent hours to days has nothing to do with this metabolic by-product, but is believed to be more aligned with microtrauma occurring within the muscle fibers due to excessive loads or volumes of eccentric muscle action.

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among physically active people accounting for an estimated 23,000 sprains — daily –that are attributed to athletic activity. (1) Basketball players suffer the highest incidence rate among sports (41.1%) followed by football (9.3%), soccer (7.9%), running (7.2%) and volleyball (4.0%). Unlike the knee and ACL injuries there is no predilection to females over males with ankle sprains occurring 50.3% and 49.7% respectively. (2) Nearly 30% of first time ankle sprains will cause chronic ankle instability (CAI) which has also been reported as a contributing factor to the early onset of osteoarthritis. (3) The effects of CAI are also seen beyond the local area of injury as altered pelvic stability. Although ankle sprains are typically treated in the physical therapy setting there are many things a personal trainer can do to help restore full function and also prevent future injuries.

A history of a previous ankle sprain is the most common predictor of this type of injury, with an incidence rate of 73%. This injury most often occurs when landing either on the ground or on another player’s foot. (4) Other causes include a sharp turn or twist, collision, fall or sudden stop. This results in functional deficits including range of motion, limited ankle dorsiflexion, impaired proprioception and balance control, and increased pelvic neuromuscular reaction time. (5,6)

Ankle Sprain

Can you be a vegetarian or vegan athlete and meet your protein needs? It is an outdated myth that it is difficult to meet protein requirements from plant sources. Choosing your individual approach to eating needs to fit your lifestyle, whether that’s for your individual health needs or other personal reasons. Additionally, your eating preferences do not need to be labeled. Everything in moderation, right? 

No one right way to eat.

The next diet fad may seem enticing but over all nutrition is individualized and there is no one right way to eat for everyone. Always take into account your personal food preferences, health needs, activity level, cooking skills, schedule, and allow the experience of eating to be enjoyable as well. If you have been considering eating a plant-based diet, just as your physical training needs a plan to best meet your goals, so does your eating plan. Meal planning can be a challenging task because eating is an ongoing and constant need. We cannot just go to the grocery store once, cook one meal, and eat one time. Whether omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore, nutrition is about meeting your individual needs. Planning is required for any individual’s dietary intake and going the vegan or vegetarian route does require some extra consideration for meeting protein needs.

What is protein and why is it needed?

Protein is one of the most abundant substances in our cells after water, and has almost endless functions in the body. They account for the tough fibrous nature of hair, nails, and ligaments, and for the structure of our muscles (including our heart). Protein functions to build and maintain body tissues and structures and is involved in the synthesis of enzymes and hormones.

Sitting up tall is a hard habit to learn. If you tend to round forward, a variety of postural issues can affect your musculoskeletal system, as seen with upper crossed syndrome. Whether you are sitting at a desk, driving your car, or texting on your phone, it’s always ideal to focus on lifting your chest toward the sky to help align the vertebra. This stacking of your spine will help the other pieces of your kinetic chain fall into place. Yoga’s many benefits include helping your body align while also bringing an awareness and mindfulness to your body as a whole integrative system. Try on these poses and notice how open and upright you feel after.

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Upper crossed syndrome is characterized by rounded shoulders and a forward head posture. This pattern is common in individuals who sit a lot or who develop pattern overload from one-dimensional exercise. (1,2)

  • Shortened muscles: Pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, teres major, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid, scalenes
  • Lengthened muscles: Lower and mid-trapezius, serratus anterior, rhomboids, teres minor, infraspinatus, posterior deltoid, and deep cervical flexors
  • Common injuries associated with upper crossed syndrome: Biceps tendonitis, headaches, rotator cuff impingement, shoulder instability, and thoracic outlet syndrome

Why Heart Openers?

Are your clients hitting a training plateau or getting bored with their workout? Are you getting bored using the same exercises? Try manipulating the training variables to bring in some fun factor while staying true to your client’s goals and abilities.

Sometimes we get stuck in a training rut, whether for our clients or ourselves, using the same recipe of exercises we know will bring serious results. To continue to stimulate our muscles, and our minds, these tried and true training plans could use some variety swaps in the session ingredient mix.

The body adapts to the changes that it continually encounters, which is called the SAID principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Whether this is strength or weight loss, our body gets better and more efficient the more it is exposed to the same stimulus. In order to break through a plateau (or boredom), the demand needs to change so the body will continue to adapt. Change those demands by modifying the acute variables of exercise selection, repetitions, sets, intensity, tempo, volume, rest, frequency and duration. Here are some ways to adjust these demands but be sure your clients’ fitness level and goals are a match for the adjustments.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to multiple health issues that plague our society, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers plus a range of autoimmune diseases. Here we’ll highlight what chronic inflammation is and some simple lifestyle changes to help reduce the toll it takes on your body.

Acute inflammation is the body’s response to tissue injury. It is the first line of defense against injury and is characterized by changes in microcirculation, leakage of fluid and migration of white blood cells from blood vessels to the area of injury. Typically of short duration, acute inflammation is primarily aimed at removing the injurious agent. Most of the time it is self-limiting. Clinically, acute inflammation is characterized by five cardinal signs: rubor (redness), calor (heat), tumor (swelling), dolor (pain), and functio laesa (loss of function). The acute inflammatory process is essential for tissue healing and repair.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, serves no function and has been linked to many of the chronic illnesses that are epidemic today, such as: diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, some cancers, allergies, asthma and obesity. (Khansari, N et al. 2009)

SPEED is an acronym for five major lifestyle factors that can be manipulated to mitigate and/or reverse some of the effects of chronic inflammation:

  1. Sleep
  2. Psychological stress
  3. Environment
  4. Exercise
  5. Diet

Sleep

Recently, Lawrence Biscontini posted an open-call for group movement instructors, personal trainers and life coaches to share their questions on social media. Following are some of the posts and his replies along with expertise shared from others in the fitness industry. Surprisingly, the majority of questions from all three groups addressed similar topics regarding motivation and client adherence.

 

On Motivation

Lisa Gibson, owner and instructor of Poolates® based in Milwaukee, posts:

How do you reframe unrealistic expectations in a positive manner to ensure your clients’ success, such as when they say, “I want to lose 40 pounds of fat in a month?”

Assisting clients to set realistic expectations precedes helping them make a plan to achieve realistic goals. At the outset, be clear with clients about what you think they can achieve with fitness, and then give them options so they become more involved in the process. Most fitness certification organizations today agree that promising even very dedicated clients a fat loss program of more than two pounds per week probably proves both unsafe and short-lived.

We see it, read it and perhaps even witness it – fasted cardio for weight loss. This approach is currently trending in many exercise circles, but does it really stand up to all the hype?

Let’s examine this concept through a series of practices – say for example you consume a dinner this evening containing carbohydrates. This will replenish (to varying levels) your two primary glycogen stores; the muscles and the liver within the ensuing hour or two. While we all understand the reason for storing carbohydrates within muscle, one might ask why we store carbohydrates within the liver? The reason lies with the fact that once carbohydrates enter the muscle, they cannot be released back into circulation (1, 3).

By contrast, liver cells can release glucose into the blood which is critical to our survival given how little glucose is stored in the blood at any time. The blood serves as a medium to constantly deliver glucose to various cells (e.g., brain, central nervous system) and as a source of glucose for our red blood cells which can only fuel with glucose. In other words, it is the role of the liver to preserve blood glucose, but the challenge lies with the fact that the liver only stores about 75-100g of glycogen (50g / Kg or mass) or 300 – 400 kcal worth of energy which can be depleted relatively quickly. After eating, you may not retire to sleep, but may spend a few hours awake, skimming glycogen from both muscle and liver before bed as illustrated in Figure 1. However, during your overnight sleep, while your muscle stores do not deplete, your liver tank empties due to ongoing metabolism. Lowering your glycogen stores within the liver overnight triggers the release of cortisol, a glucose-preserving hormone that responds to the biological stress of lowered liver glycogen stores).

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Great information and very well scripted.

Brian Norris - eBay
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