Tag Archives: personal trainers

Ask a Trainer: Christian Villanueva

2 Jun

Christian Villanueva, NASM CPTJoining us for our first “Ask a Trainer” post is Christian Villanueva. After being inspired by an old college friend, Christian decided to take a leap into the exercise and fitness field. Having limited knowledge about training, Christian’s interest and curiosity lead him to earn a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. As a certified personal trainer, he has had the opportunity and pleasure to meet with an interesting and diverse group of individuals. He has also learned from other fitness professionals who have shared the same passion. It was also during this time that he realized that working out superceded the idea of just looking great. The important benefits soon became a reality for his clients and the experience(s) couldn’t be any more humbling and gratifying. Through his clients, he learned that people are stuck living a more sedentary lifestyle due to the popular culture of working in an office setting. As a motivated individual, his goal is to reverse that lifestyle and suggests people “to keep it moving”.  He continues to share his knowledge/experience and is excited to help more people he meets along the way.

Education: William Paterson Paterson University B.S. in Business Administration
Currently Studying: California University of Pennsylvania M.S. Exercise Science and Health Promotion (Performance Enhancement & Injury Prevention)
National Academy of Sports Medicine CPT since 2006
Currently Preparing for NASM-PES and NSCA-CSCS

Now on to your questions:

Q: I recently purchased a set of resistance bands but after yanking on them a few times, I’m not entirely sure of their effectiveness. Is there any point in using them or are they as ineffective as they feel?

A: Depends on the quality of the bands. Cheap resistance bands will lose the resistance over a period of time and some bands lose its resistance after one strong stretch. My suggestion is, “Perform Better” sell quality bands. Personally, I prefer the Slastix Bands which has a cloth like cover protecting the rubber tubing from wear, nicks and cuts, as well as from the tubing being over-stretched.

Q:  I don’t have a lot to spend on exercise equipment. What pieces of equipment are versatile and worth picking up?

A: Before even spending any money on equipment, household furniture such as “the chair” make an excellent tool for squatting up and down, stepping up and down for advanced individuals, and also being able to do triceps dips with the elbows tucked in at the side with the palms on the edge of the seat. Also, water bottles and canned foods can be used as dumbbells. The stairs at a nearby park, building, or even your house can also give you a great leg and cardiovascular workout. And if you’re really broke and the budget has been eaten by your mortgage and car payments, there’s nothing better than doing body weight movements. Your body can give you enough resistance as it is depending on the exercise you perform. Last but not least, you can purchase inexpensive dodge balls and fill it with sand to be used as a medicine ball. By Googling or YouTubing  “medicine ball exercises”, another tool box of exercises is revealed that will help you achieve a challenging and more beneficial workout.

Q:  I’m a woman with more than 50 pounds to lose and haven’t worked out for awhile.  How long should my cardio sessions be and how many times a week should I do it?

A: Since the fitness level varies among individuals, a woman with more than 50 pounds to lose and haven’t worked out for awhile can go for a walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes on an incline to avoid impact on joints but still increase the heart rate. Also in this situation, the person has the option to increase or decrease walking speed as well as increase or decrase the treadmill’s incline. In time, she can increase the number of days and length of time until she plateaus. She can start doing 1 day a week doing 10 minutes and progress from there while supplementing with other workout regimens such as strength training and stretching.  As she progresses, she can increase the amount of cardio days, increase length of the workout, or even both to train the body burn more calories leading to weight loss.

Q: I want to do some strength conditioning but don’t know how to start. What do you recommend as an entry-level routine?

A: Every time you strength train, never neglect the major muscle groups. These muscle groups are your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest muscles, back muscles, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. In a weekly basis, pick an exercise that would strength train each muscle group. It would be sufficient to train them 1-2 twice a week all in one training session with recovery days in between. You can change the pace by training one muscle group after another without rest or you can train each muscle group separately for 2-3 sets until you can move on to the next muscle group.

Q:  The muscle weighing more than fat thing. Seriously? Is that just something to make us feel better or is it actually not BS? 

A: Does a ton of bricks weigh more than a ton of feathers? A pound is a pound is a pound. The only difference that we need to know is volume. Muscle is compact and tightly intertwined taking less space in the body, while fat is loose and takes up more space.

Q: Is the new rush on “colon cleanse” and acacia products just another fad, or does it help? 

A:  While certain people stand 100% behind it and others think it’s bogus, the two opposing views only represent “it worked for me” vs. “it didn’t work for me”. Obviously, the population who stand behind it represent the claim that says it “worked for them” and vice versa. There are many factors to consider such as lifestyle, environment, and diet. But the reason for the inception of these ideas or fads is that we hope we can accomplish the goal of being nutritionally balanced to attain healthy physical and mental state. Once we figure out what our body is lacking then those nutrients will work together to replenish, repair and finally the body recovers. Therefore if we can improve on our unhealthy diets and find that right balance, we wouldn’t have to turn to certain extremes to compensate for the bad habits (excessive drinking, processed food, cigarettes, etc.) we’ve participated in. Call it a fad or call it helpful, but it’s neither. Knowing the amount and types of nutrition such as antioxidants, increased fiber, sufficient macro and micronutrients are what’s going to maintain your body’s capability to combat free radicals, increase metabolism, maintain healthy organs, be physically strong, and having beautiful skin.

The Starting Line

26 May

I’m a big girl and I’ve almost always been one.  The last time I was “ideal weight” was in high school and I was still getting being made fun of for being fat.  For years I’ve struggled with my weight, jumped in and out of fitness regimens and always found myself back at the same damn starting line.

I recently decided, terrified into action by my younger brother’s impending nuptials, during which I will be wearing a sleeveless dress, that I needed to drop some weight and start working out again. The more I thought about it the more I realized how much better I felt and slept when I was exercising. Starting back up seemed like the best idea I’d had since breaking up with my ex-boyfriend.  I turned to some women’s fitness magazines to help me get going, establish a routine, and set realistic expectations for the kind of exercise I should be doing.

NOT the best idea I ever had.  Women’s fitness magazines are for fit women…or women who need to lose 10 lbs to get into a bikini.  The last time my ass was in a bikini I was a toddler and being chubby in a bikini was cute. Fitness magazines assume I can jump onto a treadmill and break into a full-on run…and sustain it….for 30 minutes….or do intervals….and not die.  Fitness magazines don’t ask whether my knees and ankles are shot from my little-known sumo wrestling career.  It doesn’t even seem to occur to them that I might have more than 20 lbs. to lose and that the closest I’ve gotten to exercise equipment in a while was to hang a bra from the handles of my stationary bike to dry.

A few weeks ago I stated,via my status update on Facebook, “Someone needs to create a magazine called “Workouts for Fat Chicks.” Every fitness magazine assumes I’m already in marathon shape but I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.”  The response from my friends, even the svelte ones, was overwhelming. So it got me thinking…I’M a fat chick…I write for a living…and hey, I know people who know stuff.

I spent a number of years working in gyms. I’ve worked with trainers who had contests to see who could make their client puke first….but I’ve also worked with trainers who are consummate professionals, love what they do, care for their clients, and truly work to make their clients’ programs match with their current fitness level, goals, and abilities and continuously push them farther and farther from the starting line. If there’s one thing I can tell you from my own experience, the trainer who makes you puke or works you out so hard during the first session that you need a team of oxen to get you out of a chair the next day is not doing you any favors.  The truth is that they’re probably pushing you OUT of the gym unless you’re into sado-masochism in which case – hey! whatever blows your skirt up! Who am I to judge?

So, for all of us who have been forsaken, whether you’ve got a ton of weight to lose, little or no weight to lose but need to get back in shape, or just look at the moves on a fitness video and say “You want me to put what where?!?”, this blog is my attempt to facilitate useful, realistic fitness and diet information.  I’m not a trainer or a nutritionist. I can only tell you what works for me and doesn’t as I’m stumbling through this and hope to hear the same from you.  I’m going to lean on the people I know who have the expertise, credentials, and experience to give you professional advice.

I hope you’ll join me in this experiment and chime in and tell me about your experiences. I think our goals can all be achieved when we’ve got the right tools. So let’s stop listening to people who are telling us to use a sledgehammer to put a nail into the wall to hang a picture and get the show on the road at the speed that feels right for us.

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