Exercise of the week: side lying lateral raise

Exercise: Side lying lateral raise

Primary Muscles worked: Deltoids
Secondary: Latisimus Dorsi

Equipment: Dumbbell

The side lying lateral raise is a great exercise for the shoulders. It is deceptively hard due to the angle so make sure to start with a lighter weight.

Starting: Lie on your side on a flat surface. It can be on the floor, a bench or a mat. Maintain a stable spine and keep the top leg in front of the bottom leg to create a stable base. With a dumbbell in the top hand start with your arm at the hip and the thumb pointed up.

Movement: make sure to lock your elbow in position and using the shoulder, raise your arm until your arm is pointing straight up towards the ceeling. Slowly lower the arm back to the hip. Lowering slowly will work opposing muscles and will create an even more intense workout.

Fitness Journal: The Race

After making the decision to train to compete in Muay Thai, I had one major goal in advance of my serious training. My goal was to improve my conditioning to a point where I would feel like conditioning was a strength. I have always been a very good athlete but I have felt as if my physical conditioning was always a bit of an Achilles heel for me. I used to blame it on any number of things from my having mild asthma to the fact that my body itches whenever I run for an extended period of time but at the end of the day, my conditioning was poor because I don’t like to run and I simply had to get over that.
I have always hated running. I used to find it boring and hard, a deadly combination. I’d find any excuse in the world not to do it. When training for a sport which requires extremely high levels of conditioning and endurance, running becomes a way of life and it was something that I would have to accept. Prior to this summer, I had never run more that one mile so I began by attempting to run 1.5 miles a couple of days a week. Runners always talk about how you hit a wall and once you break through it, you can simply keep going. I used to laugh at that but one day it happened and out of nowhere, I was consistently running 5 miles without a problem. Now after two months of consistent running, I’m finding that not only is it tolerable but I’m actually liking it a lot. It doesn’t hurt that I run in Central Park which is my favorite place in the city.

The Race
Before I leave you, I’ll share a pretty funny running experience I had recently. I was running the loop in central park one day, this was the first time I had attempted the entire loop (6 miles). About 3 miles into it, just after finishing the trecherous Harlem Hill, an older gentleman passes me. While it’s not uncommon for someone to pass me, once this person had advanced about 3 yards ahead of me he slowed down and maintained the same pace as I was at. Immediately the competetive juices started flowing as i couldn’t deal with someone in front of me at my pace. I was tired but motivated so i pulled ahead of him and created some distance between us. After about a half of a mile, he passed me and we exchange a glance which basically said “it’s on”. We spent the next mile and a half passing eachother. With a mile to go, he pulled ahead and took a significant lead. At this point I was pretty much resigned to losing this unofficial race as I just didn’t think I had much left in the gas tank. This held up for about the next 3/4 of a mile and then the thought passed in my head, “when I’m competing, I can’t simply resign myself to losing. If I quit during a fight, I can get seriously hurt. I’ll have to muster up whatever energy I have to finish fights and I’m going to do the same here.” So, with 1/4 of a mile left I turned it on and sprinted to the end. I passed him with about 10 yards of so to go and could hear him yell something at me as I passed. I had won my first unofficial central park race.

Next week I will talk a little about how training is going so far at the Wat.

Keeping fit through stress

It’s very common for a life change to have an impact on a person’s ability to work out and eat right. As one of my clients put it, “sometimes life happens.” Major changes can have an impact on drive, motivation and concentration. More often than not, change or stress ends up having a serious negative impact on a person’s fitness and nutrition program. This post is going to cover some ways to effectively navagate change without completely disrupting your fitness program:

1. Exercise feels good. By now most of us know that exercise releases endorphins throughout the body which make us feel much better. It also can serve as stress relief so if you are going through a hard time, an intense workout may help you unwind and feel better.

2. Have a plan and be prepared. Generally, I stress the importance of preparation and this is especially true when going through stress. It can be easy to let fitness and nutrition fall by the wasteside so a person must plan their workouts and eating habits more dilligently in order to stay on track.

3. Healthy eating leads to a more productive person. One thing that people notice when they switch from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one is how much better they feel. Healthy eating creates sustainable and stable energy levels. It can keep a person from feeling tired and sluggish.

4. Create a goal. Goal setting is generally a very effective tool to use with a fitness program because if gives a person something to focus on. When going through a stressful period, this focus can be a great distraction from the stress and can be a source for positive energy.

5. Find an activity. It would be great if everybody loved running or lifting weights but unfortunately, that’s not the case. When going through stress, it can be hard for a person to motivate themself to participate in an activity which they don’t enjoy. The beauty of fitness is that there is an unlimited number of things that one can so to stay fit. From cycling to dance to yoga to rebounding, there are plenty of activities in the gym and out which may be of interest. Finding the right activity can help to make exercise more fun and the person more likely to stick with it.

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