Weight Gain and Bulking Up Tips from Stew Smith

How Do I Gain Weight? by Stew Smith

 

Weight gain is something that isn’t easy to do and you probably know this already. People who cannot gain weight usually have a high metabolism, which makes gaining so hard. The key to weight gain is to do everything BIG. You have to eat big and lift big, in order to get big. This is your new motto!

A lot of people think weightlifting is the key to gaining weight. It is an extremely important part, but the other thing that is just as important is your food intake. Some people gain weight by eating more calories and only doing calisthenics. Some also experience weight gain and weight maintenance while training for marathons by adding a lot more calories and a basic weight training routine. So it is not the cardio that kills your muscle – it is the lack of refueling your muscles after you workout. This requires you to eat both larger portions of protein and complex carbohydrate rich foods. Here is a free sample weight gain plan for you to download.


Try these 5 simple steps to help you gain weight:

1. Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. Don’t change anything, just eat like you normally would and count how many calories you consumed. This is extremely important, so try to be as exact as possible. Also, weigh yourself. If you are not gaining weight or losing weight, this number is your baseline caloric intake with exercise.

2. Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories more than you normally do. For example, let’s say that the day you counted calories you counted 2000 as your baseline. For the rest of the week, you would now eat 2500 calories a day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5-6 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. To get big, you have to eat big! Remember that. Adding more peanuts, almonds, even milkshakes will help you add great protein and healthy fats (in the nuts) and many calories with little effort.

3. Weightlifting! Get in the gym and lift! This is another important step to gaining weight, so make sure you are doing it correctly. If you do not have weights, go with a TRX, pullups, and dips since together they are the heavy exercises in the calisthenics world.  Adding body-weight squats or holding dumbbells in your hands while squatting / lunging is an easy way to add weight to your resistance muscle building routine. For more of Stew’s ideas on this, read Multi-Joint Dumbbell Exercises.

4. At the end of the week, weigh yourself again. You’ll notice you are gaining just after one week! Now, don’t expect to see a 10 pound increase. Gaining anymore than 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthy and means you are putting on way too much fat or water weight. So look for 1 or 2 pound gains at the end of the week. You can be gaining 5 to 8 pounds in a month, so be patient.

5. It’s important to remember that, at some point, you will stop seeing weight gain. When that happens you will have to eat even more. So, when you stop gaining for at least 2 weeks, it means it is time to start eating an extra 250 calories a day. Every time you see you haven’t gained weight for at least 2 weeks, add an extra 250 calories until you have reached your goal. Then it is even more important to keep working out. Do not just eat to get big, work out to get big too!

 

Even more tips for gaining weight (These are extremely important for success!)

Stay away from too much fat! Even though weight gain is your goal, you don’t want to be getting all your calories from fatty foods, thus gaining fat. Get rid of the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. Stick to high protein and high carb / low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, ham, lean meats, fruits and fresh vegetables.

— WATER! Drink plenty of water! Drink around a gallon a day, more if you can. Yes, that is a lot of water, but it is water that will allow you to gain weight. Just make sure you sip it through the day and do not consume quarts during meals. That will take up space in your stomach. Below is a list of foods you should eat to gain weight.

 

Foods that will assist with weight gain:

Whole or 2% milk
Salad dressing
Cheese
Raisin Bran cereal
Crackers
Peanut butter and jelly
Bagel
Prime rib
Ice cream
Ham steak
Nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc.)
Potatoes
Bananas
Milkshakes
Mayonnaise
Burgers
Oatmeal
Croissant
Club sandwiches
Cream based soup
Protein drinks
Carrots
Beans and peas
Steak
Chicken
Fish

Eat these and add additional helpings if you are trying to boost your caloric intake to 2500-3000 calories per day in order to gain weight — even more if you are very active with your workouts.

 

 

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Adding Balance Exercises to Your Workouts

Watch this excellent video by former Navy SEAL and fitness book author Stew Smith, to learn tips on how to add exercises into your workout that will improve your balance.

 

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Balance Your Pushups: Tips from Stew Smith

Balance Out Your Pushup Workouts by Stew Smith

People who exercise and those who do not, often neglect the upper back and rear shoulder muscles. Life has a way of bowing your upper back and rolling your shoulders forward. In technical terms, we are basically “internally rotated” within the shoulder girdle. Many things in life “internally rotate” us such as driving, sitting at a computer, playing video games, texting, carrying backpacks, bench pressing, pushups, situps and many more exercises and daily life events. So posture is critical to performance and our confidence. Perfect Posture is possible by adding in a few daily exercises for only a few minutes.

Basically, every “push” workout you do should be balanced out with a “pull” type of workout. You can do pull-ups to help balance out your pushups as well as supplemental daily exercises like the following:

 

Upper back exercise #1 – (Reverse pushups) – Lie on your stomach in the down pushup position. Lift your hands off the floor 2-3 inches instead of pushing the floor. This will strengthen your upper back muscles that balance out the chest muscles. Do 20-30 reps. Rear deltoids and rhomboids are the muscles used.

 

revpush2

 

Upper back exercise #2 – (Birds) Lie on your stomach with your arms spread to the height of your shoulders. Lift both arms off the floor until your shoulder blades “pinch” and place them slowly in the down position. Repeat for 20-30 repetitions mimicking a bird flying.

 

birds1

 

This simple 3-4 minute program will help you keep your spine in proper alignment and fortify your delicate shoulder girdle. If you neglect these smaller muscles of the upper back and rear shoulder, all it will take is a fun toss of a football, baseball, or over head smash of a volleyball and your rotator cuff muscles will be talking to you immediately.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Former Navy SEAL Stew Smith Shares Tips to Avoid Muscle Cramps when Running

Watch this excellent video by former Navy SEAL and fitness book author Stew Smith, to learn tips to prevent muscle cramps when running.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Get Ripped and See Those Washboard Abs

Washboard Abs, Six Pack Abs – Are They Possible? by Stew Smith

 

Yes, we all have six packs / eight packs even. They are just usually covered by a layer of fat. Having a flat stomach or washboard abs is not just accomplished by working out daily, it has to become an all-encompassing lifestyle. The key components are healthy and lean diet, cardiovascular / resistance training, and abdominal exercises. If a movie star stomach is your goal, you must realize that to achieve your goal you have to first concentrate on what you eat, not how many situps you do in a day. Of course, as with any fitness and health goal nutrition and exercise are always the main ingredient.

 

#1 Healthy Diet — Feed your body right to build those abs

The most important factor in acquiring washboard abs is eating a healthy diet. Here is a list of recommended healthy ways to help you lose a few inches:  (low carbs = no sugar)

— Drink at least three liters of water per day (100 ounces).

— Eat vegetables and fruits each day for workout energy and lean proteins for recovery / calories.

— Eliminate fried foods and cheese.

— Eliminate processed sugar (for example: sodas, cookies, candy).

— Eliminate fatty red meat – only lean meats (1-2 times weekly).

Diets like the Atkins diet and other high protein diets may help at first. To get rid of that last 10-15 pounds, it is recommended to lower calories to a range of 1500-2000 calories a day and to exercise rigorously both with core exercises and cardio work.

 

#2 Cardiovascular Exercise / Resistance Exercise — Burn off extra calories

Washboard abs, getting lean, and losing weight are all tied into a consistent cardiovascular workout program. You should do 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week. It takes about four weeks before you start to see the physical benefits or your diet and exercise program. You will see almost immediate results in your energy level, overall mental alertness when exercising daily. Start off slowly if you have not trained with much intensity in the past several years. A good way to get started is to walk or run with the following six weeks program if you have been running / walking regularly.

 

Week #1 – Walk/run  1 mile a day for 5 days a week

Week #2 – Walk/run  1.5 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #3 – Non-impact week  bike or swim for 20-30 minutes a day

Week #4 – Walk/run  1.5-2 miles a day for 5 days a week

Week #5 – Walk/run  2.5 miles a day for 4-5 days a week

Week #6 – Walk/run  3 miles a day for 3-4 days a week

 

Note: Week #3 is non-impact due to high number of injuries that occur to legs (knees, shins, feet, hips) during the third week of beginning a walking or running program.

Runners who are just starting out can find a 10-week beginner running plan of action here.

 

#3 The Ab Exercises  – You have to build ab muscles to see them!

Even if your ab muscles are still hidden under fat – start now!

The Ten-second Crunch is probably one of the best beginning exercises for firming up the belly. Simply lie on your back and lift your shoulder blades off the floor and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this at least for ten repetitions. Try repeating the 10 seconds crunch for 10 repetitions morning and night for starters. Also, stretch and flex your lower back for a few minutes after each set in order to balance the muscles that support your torso. However, a variety of abdominal exercises will help build the muscles under the fat. Now lose the fat by watching your diet and cardio vascular exercise and you will soon see the muscles!

 

Below are some beginning and intermediate abdominal exercises:

Hanging knee-ups — Bring your knees as high as you can as you hang from a pullup bar.

Advanced Crunch — (Legs up) – Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury place feet on the floor instead)

Reverse Crunch — In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)

Double Crunch — Add the regular and reverse crunch together in one motion. You will feel this one twice as fast

Right Elbow to Left Knee — Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.

Left Elbow to Right Knee —  Same as above just switch sides. Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.

Hip rollers — This exercise will help you build your abs, back, and hips to help with long ocean swims and balance out the hip flexors exercises. Twist to both sides keeping your shoulders on the floor and stay in the bent knee position when rotating left and right.

 

Note: Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso. Below are two lower back exercises to incorporate into your ab work:

Lower Back Exercise — Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for specified number of repetitions. Switch arms/legs and repeat.

Lower Back Exercise (Swimmers) — Lie on your stomach and lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle.

 

Here are some advanced abdominal exercises:

Do not attempt to do these ab exercises if you are a beginner! These exercises are not healthy for weak or injured backs. If you cannot do the above swimmer exercises for 1:00 do not attempt these exercises.

Situps — Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, keeping your knees slightly bent. Raise your upper body off the floor by contracting your abdominal muscles. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat.

Half Situps — With your hands on your hips, lift your torso off the ground higher than a crunch but not as high as a full situp. Your middle/lower back will be on the floor still at the up position.

Flutterkicks — Place your hands under your hips. Lift your legs 6 inches off the floor and begin walking, raising each leg approximately 36 inches off the ground. Keep your legs straight and moving. This is a four count exercise.

Leg levers — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Raising both legs approximately 36 inches off the ground, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Scissors —  Lay on your back. Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor. Open and close both legs approximately 36 inches apart, keep your legs straight and off the floor until specified number of repetitions are complete.

Atomic situps — Lift your feet 6 inches off the floor as if you were doing a leg lever. Pull your knees toward your chest while simultaneously lifting your upper body off the floor. This is a mix between the situp and the leg lever.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

 

Stew Smith's Tips for Breathing Technique During Exercise

Learning to breathe during exercise has benefits such as preventing dizziness during activity, improving athletic performance, and increasing fat burning.

 

What is proper breathing while running?

Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you inhale on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and exhale fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK.  But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio. The carbon dioxide in your body will increase if your breathing patterns are short and hurried. This will increase your heart rate and lactic acid production, and decrease your endurance in any cardiovascular event (running, swimming, biking, etc.)

 

What about breathing and training/lifting?

Proper breathing during exercises where you exert yourself — such as lifting, pushing, or pulling — is much easier to remember and control than the 3:2 ratio during running long distance. To put it simply: always exhale on exertion. For example, when you are pushing a bench press off your chest, you exhale on the push and inhale as you bring it slowly to your chest. When you are doing a pullup, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down. Breathing during exertion is important in preventing internal injury such as hernia, blood vessel strain, and high blood pressure. Because weight lifting and and other types of training can be potentially harmful when done incorrectly, it is advised to get clearance from a doctor before performing too much – too soon. To decrease that pressure, focus on breathing deep all the time — during workouts and in your daily activities.

 

How does more oxygen help to burn more fat?

Oxygen + Water = Fat burn

 

Basically, the body needs water and increased oxygen to burn fat as an energy source. The water intake should be anywhere from a half gallon for women and up to one gallon a day for men. The increased oxygen consumption will assist with the other part of the equation.

As you add more water and oxygen to your system, your body will be able to use the retained water for excretion, prompting almost immediate weight loss of retained water and toxins. This is not the same as sitting in a sauna and sweating which actually dehydrates you. Adding water will re-hydrate you and enable the body to burn more fat (as long as you increase your oxygen intake by doing some form of exercise). Walking, swimming, biking, jogging, calisthenics, and even yard work can help with working your cardiovascular system.

Try the deep breathing rhythm during running or working out and see for yourself how you will perform at a lower heart rate and have more energy for a strong finish.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.

Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Fitness Results by Stew Smith

When to eat and what to eat are constant questions that affect your fitness and health goals as well as your weight loss desires. The answer will vary depending on your goal, but understanding the After, Before, During (ABD’s) of workout nutrition will better help all groups (performance athletes, weight losers, general health clients) reach their personal goals.

This understanding of what foods and drinks work best for fat loss and health gains requires a constant search for the individual. Here are some suggestions that will help you figure out what to eat and when to eat it.

 

For the Health and Fitness / Body Fat Reduction Goal:

If you are trying to drop some unwanted pounds and get healthy, proper nutrition and a well arranged workout plan are vital to you achieving that goal. You have to experiment with the types of exercise that will create a good caloric burn, as well as find sources of lower calorie foods that work best for your energy level. Keep track of how you feel during workouts whether they are higher intensity resistance training or lower intensity cardio since it will typically measure if you are eating enough quality foods. If you have significant weight (40+ lbs) to lose, try some non impact cardio options like biking, elliptical gliders, swimming, aqua-jogging, rowing etc.

 

The Fat Burning Workout:

If your goal is to burn fat, your workout should get you into a fat burning zone by the time you are finished exercising for the day.  The arrangement of your workout should be calisthenics or weights first followed by steady, aerobic cardio of your choice. Basically, go hard the first half of your workout and burn your blood sugar (anaerobic activity burns glycogen) as your prime energy source first. This can take about 15-20 minutes of intense workout depending on the amount of food you have eaten before the workout of the day. Once you are feeling burned out from that section of anaerobic activity, it is now time to go aerobic and get into fat burning mode.

 

When is the best fat burning time? —- The ideal time is immediately after waking and before having any food.
 

AFTER WORKOUT: Here is where you can stay in fat burning mode a little longer. If you delay eating carbs immediately after your workout for another 30-60 minutes you will be fine and actually still be using fat as your primary energy source. Throughout the next several hours of the day your metabolism will be higher thus burning more calories than having NOT exercised that morning. After a while, you will need to eat good carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) and a protein serving to recover from the workout. Limit the carbohydrates in a day and try to eliminate sugar. Find what carbs and proteins work best for you and your energy requirements for the day (work, home, kids, etc). For a quick fix and in replacement of food in a pinch, you may choose to have some whey protein powder in milk. You still need to prepare for the next workout session by eating something even though you are trying to lose weight.

BEFORE WORKOUT: If you are working out to lose weight and get healthier, depending on your workout intensity, you may not need to have a pre-workout meal. (If your goal is to get into fat burning mode, the fewer carbs you eat prior to workout will decrease the amount of time and effort required to get into that fat burning and low glycogen mode). If you like to work out immediately after you wake up, you are at your lowest in blood sugar for the day. Now is the time to take a short burst of intense exercise then follow it with what is called conversational paced cardio. If you can talk and be a little winded you are in prime fat burning zone.

DURING WORKOUT: Unless you are working out for extended periods of time to get used to 8-10 hours of some sort of specialized training, food intake during normal hour long (or shorter) workouts is not needed. Just drink water to stay hydrated and if you are sweating profusely in the humid, summer heat you should follow with a serving or two of electrolytes to replace what you lose while sweating.

 

Here are some great ideas for protein, carbs, and fats:

Carbohydrate Options: Multi grain breads and pastas, brown rice, cereals, good carbs like vegetables (romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, carrots), and fruits, (tomatoes, strawberries, apples, berries, oranges, grapes, and bananas ) make great carbohydrates for energy. Stay away from white breads, pastas, rice and any flour baked products. Sugar is your killer – eliminate or at the minimum reduce sugary drinks and replace them with water and unsweetened drinks.

Protein Options: Meats, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, almonds, beans, milk, milk shakes with additional whey protein powder (optional), peanut butter.Try eating boiled eggs and salads in between meals during snack time, or have a few servings with a main course of meat or fish for a good balance of plant and animal protein.

Fat Options: Fish, nuts, olive oils, omega 3 fortified products (milk, margarine, peanut butter).

 

The ABD’s of HYDRATION

Anyone who works out needs to hydrate during workouts to stay cool and avoid over-heating and/or dehydration especially during excessively sweaty workouts, but you also need to add electrolytes (sodium potassium, magnesium, calcium as well.) Foods rich in many of these elements are essential to your recovery from significant water and electrolyte loss. Read How to Recover Fast from Hazy, Hot and Humid Workouts for tips on staying hydrated.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

A Beginner Running Plan by Stew Smith

Running injury free requires near perfect technique, great shoes, possibly the addition of orthotics/insoles, and a gradual build-up after long periods of no running or beginning a running plan.

To avoid or deal with running injuries, remember this saying. “If it hurts to run, stop running. If it hurts to walk, do not run. If it hurts doing nothing/walking, go to a doctor.”

Below is a Beginner Running Chart for people seeking to start an exercise plan and need to lose 20+ lbs: (always start your run workout with a quick 5:00 walk and light leg stretch). The RUN / WALK method is highly recommended as you are learning to run.

 

 Each Run Workout is to be done THREE times a week

 

Week 1

Walk 20-30 minutes / stretching entire body daily  (monitor weight loss*)

Week 2

Run 1:00 / Walk 1-2:00 for 20-30 minutes

Week 3

Run 1:00 / Walk 1:00 for 30 minutes (listen body as injuries occur this week**)

Week 4

3 Sets of Run 1:30 / Walk 1:30 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 1:00

Week 5

3 Sets of Run 2:30 / Walk 1:00 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 30 seconds

Week 6

4 Sets of Run 3:00 / Walk 1:30

Week 7

Run 1 mile / try non-stop / walk 1 mile fast

Week 8

Run / walk combo 2.5 miles  (from weeks 8-10 – try to run as much as you can)

Week 9

Run / walk combo 2.75 miles

Week10

Run / walk combo 3 miles

 

 

  • * – if you are losing 2-3 lbs this week by simply adding walking / stretching and more water to your life – keep it up until weight loss slows to under 1 lb per week.

 

  • ** – Typically injuries occur during running programs the 3rd week IF too aggressive with initial training

 

Running When Overweight – The human body is built for survival and is quite resilient to most of the stresses we can throw at it; however, the knee is not designed to take too much excess weight even through a pain free running program. Usually meniscus and articular cartilage will wear away exposing bone on bone and premature arthritis. This takes years though. So, if you are over 40 lbs overweight replace walking/running everyday with some days of non-impact aerobics like biking, swimming, rowing or elliptical gliding.

Read more about proper running techniques to prevent injuries and get the most out of your running workout.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

Great Advice for Proper Running Technique by Stew Smith

Everyday you can usually spot someone who chooses running as their source of daily exercise. So many times people pass by, running in pain and obviously not enjoying the popular cardiovascular activity. Improper technique is the main culprit for less enjoyment and injury among runners. Maybe they would enjoy running a little more if they knew the proper techniques. Here are a few tips to help you pick up your pace and stay injury free:

Breathing – Take big, deep inhalations and exhalations similar to the way you yawn. This will help you receive the oxygen your body needs. Too many people breathe too shallow when they run, causing a hyperventilation effect. Slow down the running pace if you need to, but concentrate on your breathing.

Stride and Foot Contact – When jogging, open your stride but lean slightly forward to a point where you will land closer to the middle of your foot – not the back of your heel but the middle of your foot – and roll across your foot, pushing off the ground with your toes. But not flat footed! Many people run flat footed, back of heel strike, or on their toes causing stress on their feet, lower back, hips, knees and ankles. You can eliminate this by following the simple audio test. If you can hear your feet hitting the ground when you run, then you are running wrong. It should sound like your shoes are rolling on the ground quietly. Comfortable running shoes will also aid in prevention of injuries. Truly – it depends on if you are sprinting or jogging. If you are sprinting you will run more on your toes and when jogging you want a roll of the foot off the mid foot / top of heel (not bottom of heel).

Arm Swing – You should have a relaxed arm swing but very pronounced. Swing your hands from about chest high to just past your hips. The term “hip to lip” is a good way to remember this when you are running. Your arms should be slightly bent but not flexed. Run limp wristed. It is impossible to flex your arms with a limp wrist.

Relaxed Upper Body – You should relax your fists, arms, shoulders, and face. Too many people clench their fists and grit their teeth when they run. This causes the oxygenated blood that you need to go to your legs to also go to your upper body. The only things that need to be working when you are running are your “lungs and your legs.”

Start slowly and warm up – Do not stretch your legs until you have warmed up your body by jogging or biking slowly for about 5-10 minutes. Run every other day if you are just beginning and only add mileage to your run as you feel comfortable.

Running is statistically one of the most potentially dangerous exercises you can do, but it does not have to be as long as you remember to do everything in moderation and follow these running tips. So, do not be one of 50% of runners nationwide who injure themselves this year by running too often and incorrectly. Good luck and enjoy probably one of the best weight loss plans known to man.

Especially if you are overweight by 20-30+ lbs – running can be downright dangerous for long distances / even sprints. So pick a non impact aerobic activity as you lose weight to avoid the extra impact on your hips, knees, shins, feet, lower back. All of which are susceptible to impact injuries even if not over weight.

See this Beginner Running Plan that will slowly take you from walking to running.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

15-Minute Workout from Stew Smith

Here are some ideas for those of you who only have a few minutes a day to exercise. Regardless of the hours you keep, here are some options for you to get in quick workouts that are both affective and will wake you up whether it is done in the AM or PM after dinner.

Wake up with Crunches – Here is an exercise that is JUST a little harder than sleeping and it WILL wake you up by doing simple movements:

Do a complete crunch cycle complete with the following:

Regular Crunch – 10-20 reps – Just lift shoulder blades off the floor

Reverse Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift hips off the floor

Double Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift BOTH hips / shoulders off the floor simultaneously

Left Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right elbow to the left knee

Right Crunches -10-20 reps – Take left elbow to right knee

Bicycle Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right/left elbow to left/right knee by bicycling the legs

Plank pose – 30-60 seconds

Stomach stretch – 30 seconds

This takes about 3-4 minutes to complete. Refer to this Lower Back Plan PDF provided by Stew Smith for detailed explanations of these exercises.

Jumping jacks / Pushups – Do 10 jumping jacks / 10 pushups and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times, depending on your fitness level.

This takes 3-5 minutes if you push all 10 sets.

Jumping jacks/ Squats – If you want to add in a leg workout, try replacing pushups in option #2 with squats.

Multi-Joint Dumbbells (MJDBs) Exercises – With a set of dumbbells, mix in a few exercises into one movement:

Bicep curl, military press, tricep extensions – do 10-15 reps

Squats, bicep curl, military press, tricep extension – do 10-15 reps

Squat thrust, pushup x 5, stand up, bicep curl military press, tricep extension – 5-10 reps

If you select one of these to do, it only takes about 30 seconds per set. Mix in a few sets of each exercise and you have completed a challenging and effective full-body workout cycle. Visit Stew Smith’s website for detailed photos of how to perform these MJDB exercises.

Cardio option – You can skip all the above and just run, bike, walk, elliptical glide, or row for 15-20 minutes or you can add in a quick burst of cardio for the remaining time you have.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.