Fitness News & Views

A Publication of Graham Fitness

August 15, 2014

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20


Send Me a Referral and Win $100


My offer of $100 for any referral who purchases a package of 20 sessions or more continues until the end of the year. The 20-session package is the one most often purchased by new clients, so I'm not setting impossible goals here.


Just make sure the referral knows who sent them, so I can send you the money.



Now Is the Time to Begin Working Out

Now is always the best time to begin taking better care of yourself and exercise is an essential component - maybe the most important component.


In two weeks, it will be September, then October, and after Halloween the holiday season is here. By deciding to begin working with me now, by the holidays you will be well on your way to a new you. Or you can put it off until the first of the year like everybody else and start then. All you've done is wasted 4½ months and probably put on another 5 pounds. And chances are if you talk yourself out of starting now, you'll talk yourself out of it in January too.


So come on, give me a call. Time's a wasting.





        Of the four major professional sports played in America - baseball, football, basketball, and hockey - which one requires the best all-around athletes? There's no definitive answer to this question. It's entirely subjective. But it was something I was thinking about in bed before drifting off to sleep one night last week. (Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about at night in bed.)

            I would say it is baseball players, and here's why. Baseball requires more hand-eye coordination than any other sport. I believe the hardest thing to do in any sport is to hit a round ball with a round bat with the ball traveling at 95 miles an hour. And if that's not bad enough, give the pitcher the ability to change the speed of his pitches and to make the ball break a foot or more in any direction and then try to hit that. Pitchers have to be able to throw those pitches across a plate that is 60 feet 6 inches away and only 18 inches across, but he better be able to hit precise spots on that plate, because if all he does is throw the ball down the heart of the plate, he won't last long in the big leagues.

            And we haven't even mentioned the skills involved in fielding, like catching a ground ball on the short hop and making a perfect throw to first base from 100 feet away before the runner covers 90 feet from home to first or running down a fly ball in the gap or going from first to third on a soft ground ball to right field and then making a perfect slide to avoid the tag. I just don't understand people who tell me baseball is boring. It's the most perfect game that's ever been invented.

            But what about the participants in other sports? Don't they require tremendous athletic skills as well? Certainly they do. Football players require different skills for different positions. A defensive lineman has to be strong and quick, a running back elusive and fast, a wide receiver must have great hands, and a quarterback must be able to throw a football accurately 60 yards downfield.

            Basketball players have got to be in great shape. You'll never see a fat basketball player. They are on the move on the court constantly. They too require tremendous eye-hand coordination, strength, and speed. But they also need one other thing - they need to be tall. You don't find many short basketball players. (It's interesting to note that the baseball player with the most hits so far this season is Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros who is 5' 5". That just doesn't happen in other sports.)

            As for hockey players, they need to be able to skate first and foremost, but there are so many other skills involved that I can't even imagine since I'm not a big hockey fan. I know one thing: that puck moves so fast I can't even follow it on TV. How they catch and maneuver it with a stick while skating at 30 mph is beyond me.

            So here's how I would rate the different sports. I think the best athletes all-around are baseball players, followed by hockey players, basketball players and then football players. How would you rate them?




           While I'm on the subject of sports, I'll give you my predictions for Carolina's upcoming football season. I don't feel quite as confident this year as a lot of the prognosticators do, but I do think the Gamecocks will compete for the SEC East title and possibly get into the championship game, but that's a long shot.

            The opening game on a Thursday night against Texas A&M will be a challenge, but the home team usually wins Thursday night contests, and I think Carolina will win this one. (1-0)

            East Carolina should be a win. (2-0)

            Then comes the biggie - Georgia at home. As always, this game may determine the SEC East title. I'm glad it's a home game, but Carolina's relatively inexperienced defensive line will be tested early and often by Gurley and Marshall. I'm going to pick the Gamecocks in a close one. (3-0)

            Then there are four games that the Cocks should win: Vandy in Nashville, Missouri at home, Kentucky in Lexington, and Furman at home. Barring a slip up somewhere, Carolina will be 7 and 0 when they head to Auburn on October 25th.

            This is a game Carolina could win. The offensive line and secondary should have matured by this game and as long as the Gamecocks are still relatively healthy, it will probably be a close game. I'll give the edge to Auburn though based on the home field advantage. (7-1)

            The first three games in November should be wins, but the Gators on the road is never easy. (10-1)

            Then there's one more - Clemson in Death Valley. Carolina makes it 6 in a row! (11-1)

            That puts them in the SEC Championship game. I'm not going out on a limb on that one or on the bowl game. Let's just get to that point first, and then we'll see what happens. Keep in mind, the 10-1 season I'm hoping for might easily be 9-3, because Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida, and Clemson could all go either way. Carolina could easily lose a couple of them. It should be a fun season however.


     Ok, enough about sports. Let's get back to fitness. I saw an article on the Huffington Post website last week that caught my attention. It was titled "7 Exercises Fitness Experts Wish You Would Stop Doing." I read it to see what the 7 exercises were and to see if I agreed with the so-called "fitness experts."

            The first exercise listed was the abs crunch. Crunches have long been a basic exercise for the abs, but this particular expert Ben Greenfield thinks they are too hard on the back, because you bend the back with each crunch, setting it up for injury. I don't agree with this one. This has been the default abs exercise for me and my clients for decades, and I've never experienced a back problem from doing them and neither have any of my clients. In the first place, the bending is very slight. All you do with a basic crunch is lift your shoulders and shoulder blades (scapulae) off the floor. Of course, this is one of dozens of different exercises you can do for your abs, so you don't need to do them often, but by all means, keep them in your repertoire.

            The second exercise is the seated hip abductor/adductor machine. This is one I never do, and I rarely have my clients do it either. It's kind of a waste of time, so I'm with the expert on this one. You work the abductors and adductors more effectively by doing squats or lunges or any of a number of other lower body exercises.

            Behind the head lat pulldowns are also contraindicated and I agree wholeheartedly with this one. Doing behind the head pulldowns is a good way to injure your shoulders or your neck and they are no more effective than pulldowns in front.   So don't do behind the neck lat pulldowns ever.

            American kettlebell swings are listed fourth on the list. I personally don't use kettlebells with my clients, because they involve several movements which can cause injuries if they are not done with near-perfect form. I don't have anything against them, but I don't use them personally, so I don't train my clients with them either.

            Pat Davidson, another trainer, lists curls in the squat rack as one of the 7 exercises not to do. It's not that he thinks curls are bad, it's just that using a squat rack to perform biceps curls is poor gym etiquette, because curls can be done anywhere, and the squat rack should be reserved for people doing squats. I see his point and I agree, although I believe this should have been addressed in an article on gym etiquette rather than in this article.

            Number 6 on the list is the leg extension machine. Alena Hall, who chose this one, thinks squats and lunges and other exercises work the quads better than leg extensions, and she is correct. Still there's no need to discard this machine completely. Use it for variety, but use it sparingly.

            Finally, the Smith machine is to be avoided. According to Alison Peters, it restricts free movement and does not employ smaller stabilizer muscles. I agree, but like the leg extension machine, you can use the Smith machine on occasion, especially for bench presses where you need a spotter and don't have one available. Just don't make a habit of using the Smith machine.



             I was on the Medical News Today website a few days ago looking for an idea for this newsletter when I saw an article with the catchy title, "What Are the Top 10 Healthy Foods?" One thing's for sure, I knew the list did not include anything I had for lunch today. Still, curious to find out what those healthy foods are, I read on.

            Here's the list with some of their comments about each one:

1. Apples. Researchers at Florida State University called apples "the miracle fruit." They are full of antioxidants which is a good thing.

2. Almonds. These nuts help reduce cholesterol and they can satisfy hunger without weight gain.  

3. Broccoli. The article just can't say enough good things about broccoli. I suppose if all you ate was broccoli, you might live to be 110, unless you killed yourself first.  

4. Blueberries. Who doesn't love blueberries? They are loaded with antioxidants and they have been shown to help lower your blood pressure.  

5. Oily fish. These include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. I love sardines and anchovies, but most people don't like them, which I just don't understand. What's not to like?  

6. Leafy green vegetables. We're talking spinach here. Seems Popeye was right.  

7. Sweet potatoes. They are rich in fiber and many important nutrients.  

8. Wheat germ. This is the embryo of the wheat plant and is usually milled out of most processed wheat products.  

9. Avocados. Here's a question for you: Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable? This article didn't say, so I looked it up for you. It's a fruit.  

10. Oatmeal. It's true that oatmeal really will help lower your cholesterol. It might be a good idea to start every day with a bowl of oatmeal.

        That's the list, and I was right, it does not include anything I had for lunch today.


Here are a couple of facts I bet you didn't know:

·         There are 206 bones in the human body and a fourth of them are in your feet.

·         There are 600-plus muscles in the human body and if they all pulled in the same direction at the same time, you could lift 50,000 pounds.


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