Golden Home Fitness

How to Keep Progressing with Workouts at Home!

When considering how to keep progressing with workouts at home, most people think they need to buy heavier weights and fancier equipment. You’re not most people, and you know there’s a more pragmatic approach; lucky for you, this article will give you just that! Today we’re going to talk about the science behind how your body responds to taking it slow…

How Do Your Muscles Work?

Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty, here’s an overview: when you perform most movements, the primary muscles being used are getting shorter or contracting (your biceps during curls as you raise your hand up), and then getting longer or stretching (the action as you lower the weight back down). The shortening action is known as concentric (doing the work) and the lengthening is known as eccentric (returning to rest). So how will this help you keep progressing with workouts at home? Understanding the difference gives you a new tool with which you can continue to improve by emphasizing to a greater degree the concentric or eccentric phases.

Let’s dig into some research, starting with the interesting note that with eccentric movements, more fast twitch muscle fibers are recruited compared to concentric movements. Since different muscle fibers are recruited during a lengthening vs. a shortening movement, it would be advantageous to train both movements to activate as many muscle fibers as possible. There are multiple ways to do this. For example, a three to six-second eccentric movement could be used to make an exercise more difficult.

push-up on stairs outside

Practical Examples to Use Today

So all that science is nice, but how can you really keep progressing with workouts at home? Let’s take a push-up, for example, are you a superstar and can bust out dozens of push-up? Try slowing down the lowering portion of the exercise as your chest and tricep muscles lengthen on the way down (eccentric), then drive yourself back up, shortening the chest and tricep muscles to return to the top (concentric). Have you mastered the elevated push up with your hands on a countertop? Going straight to the floor may be too big of a jump. If you don’t have a good halfway point, slowing down the eccentric part of the movement can help you continue to progress until you’re ready!

We hope this quick guide has provided value in helping you to keep progressing with workouts at home! If you’d like to get more tailored advice with a coach that comes to you, sign up for your free coaching session! We also have great videos on our YouTube channel giving you the best steps to make the most out of training at home, including our expansive home exercise library!

This article is based on a research review originally written our Coach Jake Freedman and has been adapted by Coach Will Hansen with permission.

Referenced:

Mike, J. N., Cole, N., Herrera, C., Vandusseldorp, T., Kravitz, L., & Kerksick, C. M. (2017). The Effects of Eccentric Contraction Duration on Muscle Strength, Power Production, Vertical Jump, and Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,31(3), 773-786. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000001675

Munger, C. N., Archer, D. C., Leyva, W. D., Wong, M. A., Coburn, J. W., Costa, P. B., & Brown, L. E. (2017). Acute Effects of Eccentric Overload on Concentric Front Squat Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,31(5), 1192-1197. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000001825

Golden Home Fitness

Podcast: 21. Tools to Workout Anywhere! Jake Freedman Interview

We all know we should work out, but we can’t always get to the gym consistently, so what do we do?! Listen in to learn tools and tips for working out at home (or anywhere)from one of our In-Home Training specialists, Coach Jake Freedman! Jake was one of the first coaches hired at Golden Home Fitness, and this is our first in-person 1-on-1 interview, so innovation is in the air and we also feature a new and fun off-topic/bloopers section at the end!
Timestamps:
0:00 – Introduction
3:00 – Why is Jake so passionate about health and human performance?
8:00 – How do you maximize training in the home setting or in a relatively limited apartment community gym setting? Tips and top recommendations that have worked for his clients.
32:00 – Q&A rapid fire round!
39:00 – Off-Topic/Bloopers
Visit GoldenHomeFitness.com/LetsMove or Call (844) 704-9477 to schedule a complimentary workout in Greater Boston where we come to you, or schedule a live video coaching session remotely!
Golden Home Fitness

4 Tips for How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

We get it, you’ve finally worked up the motivation to workout, and you want to get after it right away! You don’t want to deal with a gym membership, commuting to the gym, and aren’t ready to invest in home equipment just yet. So you may be asking yourself, how do I workout at home without equipment? You have come to the right place!

When it comes to getting a good workout at home without equipment, there are a few steps you should think about, but most important for getting started is to eliminate distractions! When you’re at home, you’re one request from a spouse or child away from a premature end to the workout or at least an extended break. Plan ahead and keep the distractions at bay so you can get after it uninterrupted!

Here’s the deal: you may not think about it like this yet, but you already have a whole gym with you right now! That’s right, your own body weight is an excellent solution to help you workout at home without equipment. Not only that, but putting yourself in a new environment will force you to come up with new, creative ways to use what you have already, helping you work your creativity muscles too!

How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

So how do you keep progressing as you workout at home without any equipment? Easy! Focus on how you can make the exercise harder, or easier, as needed. Here are four of the best ways to do just that:

How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

#1 – Change Elevation

When you think about doing a push-up, you may be thinking, “I can’t do any of those!” but that’s just if you think about doing a pushup flat on the floor. If you raise your hands up to the edge of your sofa, or to your kitchen countertop, you’re making the movement easier while still keeping the movement the same: a horizontal press with a sturdy core. By changing your body’s angle to the ground, you’re reducing how much of your body weight is directly felt through the movement.

#2 – Reduce Stability

Want to make an exercise harder? Shake it up! By reducing the stability of an exercise, our bodies need to work harder to stabilize. This can be achieved by going from both legs and/or arms in contact with the ground to just one, such as from a squat to a single leg squat. Performing many core exercises, you can reduce stability by lifting a limb, such as in a plank with one arm or foot raised off the ground. Additionally, you can use a piece of equipment like a stability ball or Bosu ball to create instability where you have to work hard to stay put! Performing a plank on a stability ball is an excellent example of this.

#3 – Modify Speed

Got a need for speed? Slow it down first! By increasing the time that it takes to complete reps, you’re putting your muscles under greater strain to complete the same exercise. Let’s take a bodyweight squat for example, now instead of jumping down and up haphazardly, count to four seconds on the way down, pause for two seconds at the bottom, then stand back up over four seconds! Seem easy? Give it a try and get back to us! Once you can do something really slow, then you can progress by adding speed, such as doing jump squats or jumping up on a step.

#4 – Increase Distance

How low can you go? Limbo and musical references aside, how far you go in an exercise will make it harder! Once you can safely perform the full range of motion of an exercise, you can increase the distance for each rep. Ways to do this include elevating your front foot on a lunge so your back knee can drop even further, putting greater demand on your front leg to remain strong throughout. For a push-up, you can go all the way to the floor if you’ve been stopping a few inches higher, or you can elevate your hands on books or yoga blocks to challenge your shoulders and chest muscles even more. By testing yourself through these greater ranges, when you’re forced into a potential injury causing position in daily life, you’ll have prepared your body to handle these extremes and will be more resilient!

Meet Susanne, Our Holiday Home Fitness Challenge Champion!

What are you waiting for!? You have everything you need already, and if you want guidance on how best to progress for your specific needs and goals, we will come to you where you already are and coach you to success right at home! Get started with a free week! You’ll get a coaching session, in-person or a live remote video session, plus a full week of online coaching. If you’re looking to learn more exercises you can do at home, check out our video library!

Golden Home Fitness

Panel Discussion: Home is Where the Health is! (Podcast #19)

These days, it can be incredibly difficult to make the time to take care of our health! As a result, we’ve seen a proliferation of home-based services to cut out the commute and save time. Combined with the massive and growing need for improved fitness, the health and wellness industry is no exception! In this panel discussion, we’ve assembled five professionals innovating in each of their fields; all are focused on improving health outcomes by bringing high-quality products and services into the home.

Available most places podcasts are found, including:

Our Panelists:
Gordie Gronkowski – Gronk Fitness Products
Christine Alaimo – FarmersToYou
Johanna Gorton, LMT, Reiki II, CST – In-Home Massage and Wellness
Ray Zolman, DPT, CSCS – In-Home Physical Therapy
Bill Thorpe, MD, PhD – Golden Home Fitness
Moderator: Will Hansen, NSCA-CPT – Golden Home Fitness 

Timestamps:

  • 0:00 – Introductions
  • 4:05 – Why does bringing health and wellness into the home matter? 
  • 17:10 – How can we look at financial access to home wellness services? 
  • 26:10 – What does wellness, or being well, mean to you?
  • 32:00 – Where do you see the opportunities and challenges for in-home wellness in the future?
  • 40:30 – With everything coming to the home, how do we avoid isolation and bring people together more?
  • 43:30 – Audience question: How do you get yourself to change your health when it’s not your profession and health falls low on the priority list?
  • 53:00 – Outro

Connect with the Panelists:

Golden Home Fitness

Gronk Fitness Products

Farmers To You

The Roving Shieldmaiden – In-Home Wellness

Ray Zolman – In-Home Physical Therapy

Golden Home Fitness

Your Brain on Exercise: New Science of Mental Health and Why it Matters

Let’s talk about mental health. Recently it was reported that 1 in 3 college freshman are reporting symptoms consistent with a diagnosable mental health disorder, and 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a given year (1). While this recent headline focuses on college students, mental illness impacts all, and is especially consequential in later years, with the highest rate for suicide in women between ages 45 – 64, and for men, ages 75+ sees the highest rate, with ages 45 – 64 just behind, and is the group with the largest percentage increase (2).


Among the 44.7 million adults in 2016 with any mental illness, just 43.1% received mental health treatment.


Mental illness costs the U.S. economy $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year, and adults with severe mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than others, the majority of which are due to a treatable medical condition (3). Additionally, among the 44.7 million adults in 2016 with any mental illness, just 43.1% received mental health treatment (48.8% for women and 33.8% for men). For young adults, of any gender, age 18-25, just 35.1% received care. Across age and gender, the percentage is even lower for those whose race/ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino (31%), Black (29.3%), or Asian (21.6%), compared to 48.7% for those identifying as White (4).


What’s clear then, is that there is an enormous number, to the tune of 25 million people, who either cannot access quality mental health care because of cost, availability, or other limitation, or who, because of the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, do not seek care. This includes various forms of talk therapy, support groups, medications, and more. For these 25 million people, lifestyle interventions including, and certainly not limited to, exercise are an essential starting point for improving quality of life. For the rest of this article, we’ll dive into why and how exercise and physical activity can be an effective intervention in improving function and life outcomes for those with mental illness.

Most people generally understand that by exercising, they feel better, but it goes much deeper than that. In a meta-analysis recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, they looked at 11 studies with 455 adult patients with clinical depression, and found that with an average of 45 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise performed three times a week, over an average of 9 weeks that there was a significantly large overall anti-depressant effect (5). These outcomes even held when participants could do whatever form of exercise they preferred!


“Resistance exercise training significantly reduced anxiety in both healthy participants and those with a physical or mental illness, and the effect size of these reductions is comparable to that of frontline treatments such as medication and psychotherapy.” – Brett Gordon


So aerobic exercise helps, but what about lifting weights and other resistance training? A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine, across 16 studies with a total of 922 participants, sought to answer that question. Study author Brett Gordon reported that “RET (resistance exercise training) significantly reduced anxiety in both healthy participants and those with a physical or mental illness, and the effect size of these reductions is comparable to that of frontline treatments such as medication and psychotherapy… RET is a low-cost behavior with minimal risk and can be an effective tool to reduce anxiety for healthy and ill alike” (6).

Additionally, many antipsychotic medications, particularly atypical antipsychotic medications, are known to lead to weight gain. Consequentially, those with schizophrenia have an expressed need for exercise interventions, and generally respond very well, with improvements in weight control, fitness level, ability to tolerate exercise, blood pressure, and energy levels! These improvements have been seen with as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking 3x per week, and could be done all at once, or split into 10-minute increments (7).

 


“Great, exercise helps, but how and why?” Funny you should ask, as an article from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry seeks to answer just that! They propose that exercise induces an increase in blood circulation to the brain, and by influencing the HPA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) Axis. This works to improve the physiological response to stress and also likely is boosted by signals sent to other regions of the brain that control several factors, including mood and motivation (limbic system and hippocampus), fear response (amygdala), and memory formation (hippocampus) (7).

On the cutting edge of understanding mental health and the role of exercise lies systemic inflammation, and in particular, a molecule called kynurenine. Systemic inflammation has been shown to be a biomarker for, and possibly influence the onset of, depression and other mental illnesses (8). During conditions of high inflammation, the essential amino acid tryptophan (yes, the one people talk about when you eat a large portion of turkey, which is more of a myth with a hint of truth, but that’s for another day) is broken down into a molecule called kynurenine, instead of it’s normal product, serotonin. This leads to a build-up of kynurenine in the brain, which is neurotoxic and is associated with depression and schizophrenia (9, 10).

Kynurenine: tryptophan metabolite, molecular model. Atoms are represented as spheres with conventional color coding: hydrogen (white), carbon (grey), oxygen (red), nitrogen (blue)


So where does exercise come in? Exercise stimulates more significant expression of the enzyme KAT (Kynurenine Aminotransferase), converting kynurenine into kynurenic acid (Kyna), which has neuroprotective effects. In addition to the effect of exercise to reduce systemic inflammation, exercise also directly impacts the brain through this pathway and is an especially important intervention for stress-induced depression, which has a tight link to kynurenine build-up (11, 12).

Lastly, regular exercise over time builds up a resiliency to kynurenine toxicity and stress-induced depression by improving the ability of skeletal muscle to express the enzyme KAT. One study found that while those with a history of training did see greater KAT expression, it took only 3 weeks for sedentary adults to see improved KAT expression, among other benefits (13)!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you’ve gotten some value from this, and if you did, pass it along! This is an important topic, and information can help people more than you know! Feel free to reach out with comments or questions, and if you’re in the Greater Boston area and want to get started exercising with a professional coach at your convenience, we’ll schedule you a complimentary workout!

Referenced:

  1. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/09/freshmen-mental-health.aspx
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm
  3. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers
  4. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/da.22842
  6. https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1BX2IZ
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  8. https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/inflammation-depression
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30031753
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28751584
  11. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-72790-5_7
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320801/
  13. https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpcell.00053.2016
Golden Home Fitness

The Missing Keys to Efficient Fat Burning at Home

We can all agree: everyone seems to want more time, or to make better use of the time we have! In the quest to be more efficient, many people understand the power that a regular exercise routine can have on their energy, focus, and productivity throughout the day. As a result, there is an endless number of programs and apps that offer a workout in 7 minutes, 10 minutes, or even less, and while some of these are great, and doing some exercise is always better than doing nothing, we’re focused here on how to train and live optimally! Why settle for anything less? We’ve discussed how powerful of a productivity hack doing your exercise at home can be, and today we’ll take it to the next level for how to optimize even further with circuit training!

In a recent article, Coach Mike Urso discussed the difference between “working out,” and “training.” In essence, working out is a somewhat random assortment of exercises while training is planned and structured per training goals, and an individual’s own physiological ability to perform the plan successfully while recovering adequately between sessions.

Ready to get moving towards your goals? Take the next step on your training journey with a complimentary workout on us!

How do you make circuits?
Do you pick exercises out of a hat? Do the “Deck of Cards” workout or follow whatever you just found online?

While these add a great flair of excitement, if you have fitness or performance goals, shouldn’t be the bulk of your training (if your goal is just to have fun, then, by all means, have a blast! Note: Training can be fun too, and even doing the same style activities, the mindset just adds a layer of thinking through how what I do today fits into a larger plan).
Using the surprise elements to spice up a finisher at the end of a workout is great, especially when you’re mentally and physically exhausted. 

Alternatively, if you’re traveling, or especially tight on time, this can be an excellent way to get something in. Remember, if doing that means you will do it, and if not then you’ll watch Netflix on the couch, then do what you gotta do! But we’re talking about training optimally today.

Here’s an overview of three powerful ways to group exercises to optimize your training time:

Supersets:
These are a great way to improve training efficiency while increasing the metabolic effect, or calorie burn from your workouts! The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a paper demonstrating that using supersets compared to traditional linear training resulted in greater caloric burn and EPOC (1). EPOC is the “afterburn” measure of how much extra energy you’ll continue to burn for as much as 10-72 hours after your workout.

The term superset is often used to denote performing any two exercises back to back, resting only after completing the second exercise. The classic definition, and what we’ll focus on today, is expressly that of pairing opposing muscle groups, or an “antagonist” superset. When you perform an exercise, use a TRX Row, for example, your back muscles are what’s known as the prime mover. Working opposite to your back is your chest muscles, the antagonist as your back muscles contract and shorten, your chest muscles relax and lengthen. For example, by pairing a TRX Row in this example with a push-up variation, there is a slight performance-enhancing effect for both exercises. For this kind of superset, typically you’ll rest a minute or less between each exercise, with no lengthened rest after completing the two, continuing into the next set.

Giant Sets:
This technique essentially aims to fill the rest time with complementary and accessory exercises so you can get in more total work in over less time. Generally choose three to four exercises, beginning with large, demanding movements, and progressing to smaller movements, such that the last exercise is almost an “active rest,” to prepare yourself for the next set. For Example, you could perform Bulgarian Split Squats, followed by a Kettlebell Swings, then Single Leg Glute Bridges, and lastly Band Pull-Aparts.

Timed Circuits:
Lastly, we’ll talk about timed circuits, or what most people think of when it comes to circuit training. Here are three ways to organize your training:


AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible): Choose a set of exercises, let’s say four, and you then are challenging yourself to see how many rounds you can complete as possible in a given time. This is great because if you know you only have 10 minutes to workout after your warm-up, just set a timer for 10 minutes, pick a few exercises, then challenge yourself! This is great for tracking also because you have a score you can work to beat for the next time you do it.


Rounds For Time: Essentially the opposite of the AMRAP, you’ll be setting a finite amount of sets or reps to complete, then recording how fast you finish that work.


Intervals: You’ll pre-determine your amount of work and rest (can be the subject of another article) and use a timer to tell you when to go and when to stop. This is especially good to eliminate the tendency to rest for too long and waste valuable minutes.

Don’t want to think about all this? No fear, that’s why we’re here! Let’s get moving, and we’ll schedule a complimentary workout for you with a coach to get you some momentum, just fill out the form below and we’ll reach out! If you’d like to learn more about how to train in-home, check out our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Home Workouts!