Fitness News & Views

A Publication of Graham Fitness

Oct. 15, 2014

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20


How Great Is This Time of Year!


What a difference a month makes! When I wrote the September issue of this newsletter, the Gamecocks had just defeated Georgia and the Pittsburgh Pirates were headed to the MLB Playoffs. I was feeling pretty good.


Well, a month later here we are, and Carolina lost to Kentucky after having a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter after losing the week before to Missouri after having a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter.


To make matters worse, my beloved Pirates got crushed in the NL Wild Card game against the Giants, and their season is over. The 8 to nothing shutout was the Bucs worst defeat of the year, and they saved it for the most important game of the year.


Sports are like that. They can make you feel great or make you feel lousy. Last month, I was feeling pretty good. This month, not so much. I wouldn't have it any other way, though. Without the lows, the highs wouldn't be so sweet.


Sports are a great diversion. They grant us a reprieve from real life, but it's important to keep in mind that, after all, they are only games.




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         The fall is a great time of year for outdoor activities. It's not too hot or too cold. The humidity is low and the air is fresh and crisp and the colors are beautiful. Here are some suggestions:

  • Test your skills in a corn maze. There's a great one in Lexington at the Clinton Sease Farm.       It's open through November 16.       This is one huge corn maze.       I've never been able to find my way out of it without asking for help. To make it even more of an adventure, go after dark.
  • Take in a haunted house. The Deceased Farm is one of, if not the best, haunted house in the area.       It's open through November and is located on Clinton Sease Farm within walking distance of the corn maze.
  • The State Fair is going on now, and it's as much a part of fall in South Carolina as football. Junk food, rides, and people watching on a beautiful autumn day - what more could you want?
  • Find a fall festival. There are festivals all over the state this time of year. Google "fall festivals in SC" and find one to your liking. If you've never been to the Chitlin Strut in Salley, give it try. It'll make for a memorable day that you won't soon forget, although you may want to.
  • Sign up for a race. There's a race somewhere in the greater Columbia area every weekend.   With a minimal amount of training, most people can complete a 5k without too much trouble, and participating in a race is an exhilarating experience.
  • Go for a walk or a jog through Shandon. Shandon is beautiful this time of year as the leaves change.       There aren't many pine trees, mostly hardwoods, and the colors make every street a postcard.
  • Go for a hike in the mountains. Drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, park your car, and go for a day hike along one of the many trails. Or for a really neat experience, go backpacking for a couple of days.
  • For another mountain adventure, drive up to Mount Mitchell. Pack a picnic and stop at a roadside park along the way. Take a jacket, because even though it might be 65 degrees when you start out, at the top of Mount Mitchell, it could be snowing.

         These are just a few ideas. I'm sure with a little imagination, you can come up with lots more. The point is, don't let these next couple of months go by without taking some time to enjoy autumn.




      Hockey was the first sport to use a protective cup. It was used first in 1874, and was called a "testicular guard." In 1971, some goalies began wearing helmets and face masks, but it took three more years before most other players starting wearing them.
      In other words, men protected their family jewels with a protective cup exactly 100 years before they thought it might be a good idea to protect their brains. Now that speaks volumes, doesn't it?





      The hardest fitness myth to dispel is spot reducing. Spot reducing is losing weight in a designated area. The most frequently asked question I get from strangers is: "How can I lose this spare tire around my waist?" Or something to that effect. I get that question from strangers because my clients know better than to ask it.

            The reason this myth is so pervasive is because it is perpetuated by virtually every fitness product commercial out there. There are seemingly endless products promoted as the perfect exercise gadget to trim excess weight from your mid-section or some other problem area. Lies! They are all lies designed to convince you to buy their products. The makers know spot reducing is a lie, but they don't care as long as they can make a few bucks on your gullibility.

            Here's the truth. When you lose weight, it comes off all over, more or less evenly. It will seem like the place where you most want it off (i.e. your waist) will be the spot it comes off slowest, but that's perception not reality.

Don't get me wrong. Exercising your abs, thighs, triceps, whatever the problem area, is a great thing to do. Exercise builds muscle and muscle is what you want, but you won't see that defined muscle until you lose the fat around it, and that happens gradually.

            Be patient. Eat healthy foods in moderation, and exercise consistently and correctly, and the results you want will come. But remember this: There are no short cuts or miracle gimmicks.  


      I've been pulled into the high-tech age kicking and screaming, but I know there are a lot of people who love the next high-tech phone, device, or app. So with you guys in mind, I looked around for a couple of apps I could recommend to you. One is for your workouts and the other could help you with nutrition and/or weight loss.

            The first one is called WalkJogRun. It costs $1.99. According to iTunes, it has the most accurate iPhone GPS. You can follow recommended routes for your area

or create your own. The app includes dog-friendly walks, training plans, goal setting, and pace coaching which tells you when to slow down or speed up based on the goals you created on the app.

            The nutrition/weight loss app is called Fooducate, and it's free. It will grade food products based on nutrition facts and ingredients, scan barcodes to display nutritional details and even suggest healthy alternatives. It will also track your food intake, as well as your exercise and weight loss progress.

            There you go. Give 'em a try if you're into those kinds of things. As for me, I'm good with my bluegrass on Pandora and a stopwatch.




I wrote this article 10 years ago. It was in the October 2004 issue of "Fitness News & Views." It is just as true today as it was then.



     My health mantra is: "Eat healthy foods in moderation, and exercise correctly and consistently." Let's talk about the consistency part of this equation.

     Health clubs oversell memberships because they know that one-third of the people who purchase them will not use them. Believe it or not, I have clients that I cannot beg to use the sessions they have paid good money for. Nothing frustrates me more than to have a client stop exercising and forfeit the progress he or she has made.

     The key to good health is not exercising in spurts, no matter how intense those spurts may be. The key to success is consistency. It is forcing yourself to exercise on a regular basis every week no matter what.   Exercise must be a top priority for it to work for you. Plan it into your week with as much rigidity as planned meetings at work. If you have a workout planned for lunchtime on Tuesday and a colleague invites you out to eat, politely decline. If you want to go to your son's ball game on Thursday evening, plan your workout for Thursday morning and get up early enough to do it. It's a cliché because it's the truth: Where there's a will, there's a way.

     For most people, all you really need is 3 to 4 hours a week to exercise. Three to 4 hours out of 168. It can be done if the will to do it is there.

     Consistency means exercising 3 days a week for maybe an hour - 30 minutes of cardio exercise and 30 to 40 minutes of strength and resistance exercise. If you want to do the cardio on days you don't lift, that's fine. Now all you need to schedule is 30 to 40 minutes, but you'll need 6 days.

     Exercise must become a habit. People accuse me of liking to workout. I don't. I have to force myself to go to the gym or run just like everyone else. But I like the feeling of completing the exercise session. I like being healthy, and not ever being out of breath from climbing a flight of stairs. The next time you're trying to talk yourself out of exercising, think about the good things exercising can do for you instead of the negatives. See you in the gym.


      I've been asked many times which is the better cardio exercise - the treadmill or the elliptical machine. Personally I think walking or jogging outside is better than any cardio you can do in a gym, but that's not the question. As to whether the treadmill or the elliptical is better, I've always said it depends on which one you prefer. Personally, I hate the elliptical. If I had to do the elliptical every day, I wouldn't do it, but many people love it, so in a way it's a matter of preference.  But there are benefits to each, so let's examine them.

            The elliptical activates the glutes (butt) and thighs more than walking, but it's also a little harder on the back than the treadmill. The elliptical is less weight bearing than the treadmill. Walking utilizes 112 percent of your body weight with each step, the elliptical only uses 73 percent of body weight. However when it comes to calorie burn, both are about the same.

            So if you need to work on bone density, you should use the treadmill, but if you have joint problems or arthritis in the hips or knees, the elliptical is probably better. If you're suffering from osteoporosis and arthritis in the lower body, do whichever one you prefer. If weight loss is your issue, again one is as good as the other.


      Baby boomers in the United States live longer than previous generations, but they have higher rates of chronic disease and more disability than their parents and grandparents at the same age. Baby boomers are less likely to smoke than previous generations and they workout in gyms more often. So what's going on?
     Nobody knows for sure, but I can venture a couple of theories. First off, our grandparents never went to a gym, but they worked hard. My grandfather was a farmer and I can remember when he plowed the cotton field in front of his house behind a mule. There was always work to be done on the farm - hogs to feed, barns to repair, trees to cut. The only time I ever remember him sitting down was to eat three meals a day and to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio on Saturday nights. My grandmother prepared each of those three meals and kept the house and garden and fed the chickens and collected the eggs. Secondly, they ate food they had grown. Processed food was unknown to them. Even those hogs and chickens provided their protein, and their animals weren't injected with hormones and antibiotics like the meat and poultry we eat today.

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