January/February 2009
Andy and JamieLet's admit it, keeping that New Year Resolution to get in shape can be tough. Stick with Balazs Fitness this year and we'll keep you motivated and energized with great workouts and tips for improving your overall fitness. In this issue, we build on last issue's plyometric training. Andy and Jamie introduce two more fat burning power-producing drills. Nutrition is a big part of maintaining and improving fitness. Jamie takes a moment to explain the benefits and pitfalls of a pre-exercise snack. Finally, Andy addresses a reader's concern about aging and the need for stretching. Let's work together to make 2009 your year of fitness and health. Keep us posted on your progress!

"Knock Yourself Out!" The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #54: More Plyometric Drills 
Last month we introduced some Plyometric training drills. Plyometric training combines strength and speed to create power. Plyo-training twice per week will enhance your overall performance.

Basic Plyo-Drill #1: Squat Bench Jumps
Stand sideways at the side of a bench (or other item- see below) in a squat position. Push off the floor jumping with the knees tucked close to the chest, over the bench and landing on two feet on the other side of the bench. Try for three sets of 10 - 15 repetitions.

(Using an aerobic step is great for this drill. Alternatively, use a stack of phone books and work your way up to a bench or low table.)

Basic Plyo-Drill #2: Two-Foot Power Jumps
Grab a medicine ball off the rack for this drill!. Holding a 5 to 10 pound medicine ball, start in a squat position and use the explosive power of your legs to push away from the floor. When landing, allow the feet to be in contact with the ground briefly and then push off into the air again. Try for three sets of 10 - 15 repetitions.

Always consult your Physician before starting an exercise program.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Pre Exercise Snacking
Eating food to get energy pre-exercise can enhance your overall performance, stamina, strength and, ultimately, your success in achieving your fitness goals. Here are some tips for eating before you exercise to optimize your performance.
  • If you will be training for more than 60 - 90 minutes and will be unable to consume calories during that time - choose slowly digesting carbohydrates, like apples, oatmeal, bean/lentil soups, bananas. Eat at least an hour before exercising to ensure the food has been digested sufficiently to be burned for fuel.
  • If you will be training for less than 60 minutes - snack on high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, such as whole wheat bread and bagels, crackers, and pasta.
  • Always choose small servings of lean protein-rich foods, like turkey, eggs, low-fat milk and avoid high-fat proteins like hamburgers, fried meats, ice creams, cheese and buttery foods. These high-fat proteins take longer to break down and empty from the stomach, leading to poor performance and possibly nausea.
  • Be aware of high sugar drinks and foods, (such as soft drinks, jelly beans) and foods on the high glycemic index (such as white rice, white potatoes, honey, corn flakes). Some individuals may start performing well after ingesting a pre-exercise sugar fix, but the blood sugar levels will drop and can lead to dizziness and fatigue while performing hard.
  • Give your food time to digest. High calorie, high fat meals take longer to digest and leave the stomach. It takes at least three to four hours for a large meal to digest, a smaller meal takes two to three hours, a liquid or blended meal takes one to two hours, and an snack a half hour to hour.

It may take a little experimentation to determine your best pre-training snack or meal. Take into account the intensity of your workout for that day, the time of day and the type of activity you are performing. The goal is to provide energy to the working muscles and be comfortable in order to enjoy and perform at your best.

Ask the Trainer:
"As I am getting older, I feel I am losing my flexibility. I work out five times per week, (tennis twice and fitness classes three times.) I never seem to have the extra time to stretch to improve my flexibility after my games and classes. Also, should I stretch before exercising?"

As you age, the ability of the muscles and joints to go through a full range of movement does decrease. It is important to warm up the muscles before any type of activity to prevent muscle strains, sprains and tears. This can be easily done by imitating the sporting activity you are involved. For example, swing your arms without the racquet for few minutes. After the class or game, take your muscles through a full range of movement in order to return the muscles to their original length.

Stretching before or after working out doesn't have to take long. Since you work out regularly, add 5 minutes to your workout or stop 5 minutes earlier and take your body through a series of repeatable stretches. You can even do some of the stretches while showering or getting dressed after the workout. The key is consistency; by stretching consistently and diligently even for 5 minutes after each workout, your flexibility will increase. With your limited time, pick one or two areas to focus on each day. Over time, you'll see a big difference. If you really want to increase your flexibility, try to dedicate at least hour per day, stretching all the muscle groups and joint areas. However, this is a lot to ask for in a busy schedule. While you stretch, remember to relax the muscles, lengthen it until you feel a slight tension and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. If you need assistance with proper stretching, ask your local fitness trainer or check out the book Stretching by Bob Anderson.

- Andy Dumas

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New Product Release!

Balazs Fitness introduces the newest addition to their commercial product line, the Balazs 362 Medicine Ball Rack and Medicine Balls. The "bullet proof" 11 gauge steel construction of this rack is perfect for any home gym or world-class fitness facility. Designed to be free standing or mounted to any wall, it can hold six medicine balls of any size. The rack can handle an entire range of ball weights, allowing for an almost infinite number of workouts using medicine balls. New Balazs Fitness Medicine Balls are manufactured with top-grain leather, fully stitched for superb balance, feel and durability. Available now in weights from 2 lbs up to 16 lbs. Complete your home gym or workout facility with the new Balazs Fitness 362 Medicine Ball Rack and Medicine Balls!

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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.