September/October 2008
Andy and JamieAutumn leaves are falling; the days are cooler and nights are getting cold. Fall is in full swing but don't let the changing seasons and reduced sunlight slow your workouts down. If you worked out hard to maintain fitness all summer, don't let the cool weather take you off your schedule. Andy and Jamie focus on the shoulders this issue. We want to make sure there are no weak links in your fitness. Since weight loss and fitness go hand and hand, the team discusses how to use body fat measurement as a gauge for appropriate goals and healthy weight. Lastly, Andy gets a letter from a fan- send us your letters or comments we'd love to hear from you.

"Knock Yourself Out!" The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #52: Shoulder Stability Improvement 
Boxers often experience weakness and instability in the shoulder region. Punch after punch is executed from one of the most overlooked joints in the body. It is important to keep the muscles conditioned and strengthened at the shoulder area to assist in the prevention of injuries.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, allowing for a large range of motion, complex patterns of movement and incredible mobility. The head of the humerus (the large bone of the upper arm), sits in the socket portion of the scapula, (shoulder blade). The stability of the shoulder comes primarily from the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that come off the scapula and these tendons attach to the humerus. Flexibility and strength of the rotator cuff muscle will help keep should injuries at bay.

Stability Exercises for the Shoulder:

Internal and External Rotator Cuff Muscles

Exercise #1:
Attach a rubber exercise tube/band to a wall, hip-height. Stand with the upper arm and elbow close to the body, arm bent at the elbow, lower arm across your stomach. Take the handle of the exercise tube. Move the lower arm away (outward) from your body keeping the upper arm and elbow pressed into the side of the body. Return your arm to the original position across your stomach. Repeat the movement slowly with control. The band should provide resistance allowing increased flexibility and strength in the shoulder. You can use tubes/bands with more resistance as your strength increases.

Exercise #2:
Standing with the arms extended in front of the body, hold onto a light (2-4 lbs) medicine ball (or similar size and weight object). The shoulders and the upper back area need to stay relaxed. Lift the ball (object) up in front of the body to just above your shoulder height, pause and lower to the start position. Go slowly in both directions to gain maximum benefit from the routine. Dropping the ball quickly does nothing to strengthen your shoulders and could cause injury if you were to drop the object on your leg or foot. As you feel your shoulder region become more stable, increase the resistance by using a heavier medicine ball or object.

Always consult your Physician before starting an exercise program.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Understanding Body Fat
Body fat measurements and the measuring tape are recognized as superior methods for measuring "weight loss". When one declares that they want to "lose weight", what they often mean is that they want to lose fat. So, now that you have had your body fat percentage measured, what does the number mean?

First, your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else).

A certain amount of fat is essential to bodily functions. Fat regulates body temperature, cushions and insulates organs and tissues, and is the main form of the body's energy storage. The following table describes body fat ranges and their associated categories:

American Council on Exercise
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus
*General Body Fat Percentage Categories

Knowing your body fat percentage can also help you determine if your weight loss goals are realistic. Remember: weight loss does not always mean fat loss.

For example:

Let us say you are a 130lb woman with 23% body fat, and you goal is to "lose 20 pounds":

Initial body fat: 130lb x 0.23 fat = 30 lb body fat

Lean body mass: 130lb total - 30lb fat = 100lb lean body mass (bones, organs and all else)

Goal: 130lb - 20lb = 110 pounds

At 110 pounds, this woman still requires 100lb of lean body mass (bones, organs, etc.), but would only be carrying 10lb of body fat, or only 9% body fat. The chart above shows this is a dangerously low percentage for a woman. As you can see, the goal of losing 20 pounds (in this example) is not healthy.

A better goal might be for the woman to reduce her body fat from 23% to 18%. In this case:

130lb x 0.18 = 23lbs body fat

100lb lean body mass + 23 lb = 123lb goal weight

Therefore, for this individual to achieve a lean, but healthy 18% fat, she would need to lose only 7 pounds of fat, reducing her weight from her current 130 pounds to 123 pounds.

Before you decide that you need to "lose weight", remember to consider that "weight" consists of both lean body mass and body fat. Try to keep your weight loss goals realistic and healthy, and remember, keep the calorie-burning muscle, and lose only the fat.

Ask the Trainer:
"Dear Andy and Jamie,

Thanks for the tip on the Burpee...I do a cardio boxing class at L.A. Fitness and we do the squat and then go to the pushup position to a count of ten ...whew man ..that's tough .but your way sounds like a great alternative ...I'm going to mention it to the instructor and see if we can work it into the class on Tuesday this bit is right on time !!!!

p.s. oh yeah ...did I mention that I'm 58 ...feel like 39 ...just love this stuff ..!!!"

Hey, I'm glad you like the alternate way to do the Burpee from July's newsletter. I'm still amazed by the wide range of ages come out to my fitness boxing class. Truly anyone can benefit and enjoy these classes. It's all about having fun and getting fit!

Our new book 'Knockout Fitness' is coming out in January 09, and will have tons a great boxing and fitness drills to try.

Stay fit!

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to 

Product Recommendations:
MS0433  i-Box Speed Bag Platform
GB0020K  Balazs Speed Bag Gloves
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Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.