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Why is Semi-Private Coaching Catching Heat?

Why is Semi-Private Coaching Catching Heat?

By Kevin Masson MSc, CSCS, CPT, USAW, FMS

When it comes to the fitness industry, a lot of people are opting for semi-private training as opposed to personal training programs. So, what exactly is the difference between the two? Semi-private training programs include a qualified trainer along with a couple, or a trainer along with 3 – 5 friends who share the same fitness goals. In such scenarios, they share their training programs, exercise schedules and divide the program cost between them.

These cost-effective sessions not only offer you top-notch training but also give you the necessary kick to get through your workout. Moreover, you start to see the results within a few weeks of following this program diligently. There are numerous reasons why these semi-private coaching sessions are becoming increasingly popular among people. Some of these reasons are listed below.

  • Customized fitness programs as per individual’s needs
  • At least eight training sessions per month
  • Creative team training
  • Cost-effective

One of the highlights of this type of training session is that helps in keeping the monotony at bay. Also, if you don’t like working out alone, you will get the much-needed encouragement from your workout buddies. This program is also ideal for people who wish to attain optimal results without having to plan it out on their own. Since the semi-private sessions are completely dedicated to helping people make some serious progress towards their goals while making their fitness journey enjoyable, their increasing popularity comes as a no surprise.

Benefits of semi-private training sessions

Most clients who attend semi-private group sessions have similar goals, like wanting to look and feel fitter, reduce body fat by a certain percentage, enhance their endurance and lead a healthy lifestyle. If you have any of these goals, then it is essential that your training program covers things such as flexibility, strength exercises that involve your core muscles, some aerobic as well as anaerobic exercises along with some hypertrophy work. Now, this sounds perfect for a lot of people, but when it comes to applying this training regime, they often feel overwhelmed or lost. Most people start off with a bang and then start getting discouraged when their training plan isn’t as supportive as they thought. Some people just join a gym and feel completely lost within the first few days or when their plan gets completely thrown off, as the equipment they need is not available owing to a busy gym floor.

This is where semi-private training can help you. There are so many advantages to going down this route that you will wonder why you didn’t think of it before. Under a semi-private training group, typically about 3-6 clients work together towards a similar program along with a couple of trainers. Mentioned below are some of the many advantages people list when they start semi-private training:

Coaching/ Learning 

All certified trainers aim at assisting their clients as much as possible to achieve their desired goals. They also make sure not to overwhelm you with intense training sessions during the initial days. So, if you are a newbie, don’t worry about being thrown into the deep end.  All good trainers will want to put you at ease first and then work toward the basics and posture before moving on to strenuous exercises. A good trainer will carefully assess where you stand with regards to your end goals and set up a training plan accordingly. These trainers will start with teaching you basic body movements like lunges, squats, hinge, etc. followed by a recovery session. Mobility can help in assessing the areas that you need to work on first before moving on to better things. BioFit Performance system periodize programs months in advance based on strength and conditioning for three different levels, (Beginner- white), (Intermediate – Green) and (Advance- Black), so everyone can participate safely and efficiently. While using the data from your Functional movement assessment, we are able to customize those programs to YOUR needs while you are in a group environment.

Constant variation

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

-Albert Einstein

This statement couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to fitness goals. You don’t want your body to get used to a routine. Once that happens, the results start slowing down. Most people fall off track with their gym schedules because they start to get boring. With a semi-private coaching program, the training sessions are so varied that you have no chance to get bored. The general layout, however, includes Release, Warm-up, Mobility/Correctives, Reactive (power), Strength, Conditioning, Recovery. 
The release part, where you will get on a foam roll and start targeting tight areas in your body. We can’t expect your body to move optimally if you are tight in some areas. Followed by a general warm-up to get the core temperature up start getting some blood flow to those muscles and get your nervous system ready for the session. Mobility/Correctives are also part of the warm-up where we target some of your personal problems and try to correct these deficiencies. We then transition onto the first part of the workout, the reactive movements, which are power exercises this will target your central nervous system and get your fired up and ready for the next part. Depending on which class you are in the main workout is either Strength or Conditioning and finally end the session with some recovery tools.
There is science behind the reason why we write each of our sessions this way but one of the main aim of bringing versatility into your training sessions is to keep you motivated and achieve result towards your goal.

They measure progress

No, not literally with the scales! And no one should evaluate their progress using these because the scales are perpetually fluctuating and aren’t important anyway. When you work with a particular trainer consistently, she/he can figure out what you can or can’t do. They can evaluate your progress based on your mobility and fitness to body composition. This is far more vital and something that counts rather than merely looking down at some numbers on a measuring scale. As your performance starts to improve, your image and bodyweight will begin to show signs of improvements too.  Once you combine your workouts with proper nutrition, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t hit your training goals.

Customized workouts

Although it’s a group workout, pretty much everything in the training session is designed to cater to your fitness needs. A good trainer, after assessing your strengths and weaknesses, will quickly develop a training program that will enhance your growth.  It’s almost like having a personal trainer without having to shell out an extra chunk of cash. The perfect trainer will conduct a fitness session, which works out great for every individual. For instance, if you have a weaker upper body and find it challenging to do pull-ups, your trainer will add some variations like ring rows. If you aren’t feeling up to it, then he/she will map out a different workout for you. Regardless of your fitness levels, rest assured that your trainer will always have a workout to make your life easy.

Finding new workout buddies and being responsible for your fitness

If you are a fitness freak like me, you are going to find it annoying to attend those boring social gatherings that circle the same alcohol-induced nonsense talks. Now I am not saying alcohol is bad but, after a while, such mediocre gatherings do get boring.  Instead, why not get together with a few mates and participate in a session that revolves around fitness. You know what they say, “You are only good as the company you keep.” If you are perpetually surrounded by people who have no interest in keeping their bodies fit, you will slowly become like one of them. Unless that’s what you want. Also, the fact that you are going to be accountable for your progress certainly helps you in the long run to achieve your goal. We love some friendly competition.

100% mapped out schedules

One of the most beneficial things about taking up a semi-private training session is that you are almost never going to feel lost. The layout session will be there for you to see much before you start your workouts. Isn’t that relieving? I mean, who has the time to plan out your work out session amidst other essential issues that take up our time like family, commitments, spouse, kids, etc.? So, having all of your 60-minute sessions mapped out by your trainer comes as a great relief. All you have to do is show up at the class. It’s far better than having to sit around in a gym, not knowing what to do next or merely relaxing in the sauna and then just heading back home. And mind you all this comes at a hefty cost too. What a waste of your valuable money and time. Instead of doing this, just take out about 60 minutes a day for your semi-private training sessions and let us take care of everything else.

Pricing

Let’s face it. Not all of us have a lot of money to spare when it comes to fitness training. And personal training can be extremely pricey. Most personal fitness trainers charge about $100 per session. Even if you take up three sessions a week, that comes to about $1200. If you have that kind of cash, by all means, go ahead and hire yourself a personal trainer.  Now some of you may argue that you can join a local gym that may offer the same for as little as $10 a month. But think about it. Even though the fees are cheap, what’s the point if you don’t show up every day or have no clue what kind of workouts you should be doing? Like a lot of people, you are going to go straight to the treadmill for an hour and wonder why you are no achieving the goals?
Semi-private training sessions, on the other hand, cost approximately $30 per session, per person. For some people, that’s still not cheap enough, but you will end up getting the same benefits that you would get from hiring a personal trainer. Now considering that, you may re-evaluate your priorities and find the price to be very reasonable.

Now that you have read all of the above benefits, I am sure there is no speck of doubt in your mind that semi-private training sessions make more sense.


Contrast Bath Therapy

Contrast Bath Therapy

By Kevin Masson MSc, CSCS, CPT, USAW, FMS

What is contrast wet therapy and how will it benefit my recovery?

Contrast wet therapy also known as “hot/cold immersion therapy”, is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in warm water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in ice water. This procedure is repeated several times, alternating hot and cold. The goals for a Contrast Bath include:

  • Decreasing pain
  • Decreasing swelling
  • Decreasing/controlling inflammation
  • Improving mobility
  • Improve muscle recovery after exercising

The cold water causes blood vessels to constrict or tighten, thereby reducing inflammation and flushing out the waste products that were accumulated during exercise. Combine this with hot water immersion which rapidly causes dilation or opening of the blood vessels that were constricted during the cold-water therapy.

This contrast in temperature immersion facilitates rapid constriction and dilation of the blood vessels. Typically, in a contrast wet therapy session you would cycle through several cycles of cold followed by warm to create a muscle pump effect via the effect it has on blood vessels.

Contrast wet therapy assist in recovery by alterations in tissue temperature and blood flow; reduced muscle spasm and inflammation; and improved range of motion. In comparison to passive recovery, contrast wet therapy is by far the superior, with studies proving results of significantly greater improvements in muscle soreness (DOMS) and reduced muscle strength loss (Contrast Water Therapy and Exercise Induced Muscle Damage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 2013).

Not only is contrast wet therapy proven to help with muscle soreness from exercise and everyday life it can also help with alleviating pain associated with arthritis and people with poor circulation.

Can I just have a bath of ice and then a warm shower with the same effect?

Yes, you can and it would still be effective in helping reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, however full body water immersion is far greater and will have an impact on the whole body and the added benefits of emotional wellbeing that goes along with it. At BioFit Performance we recommend that you use the contrast bath therapy and infra sauna to ultimately improve recovery.

So, the really important question is, do you finish off with warm or cold?

“There is no evidence to suggest that ending with either heat or cold is more effective” National Athletic Trainers’ Association. The choice is all yours, you can leave feeling warm and fuzzy or cool and invigorated.  I would advise, it all depends on when you are doing the therapy. If you are the type of person that like to workout in the morning and want to have a quick relaxing moment in the bath before work then probably end with a cold bath, that way you will feel sharp and ready to deal with your day. On the other end if you want to relax after a long day at the office or a hard workout, end with a nice relaxing hot bath or even warm sauna will leave you a cozy relaxing mood ready for you to go home and relax.

Conditions to watch for:

If you suffer from rheumatoid Arthritis then consider ending with the hot and make sure to dry thoroughly.
Another condition is if you have an acute injury or suffer from a swollen joint, only use the cold immersion on that joint.

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CONTRAST BATHS

DO NOT do Contrast Baths for any of the following problems:

  • Local malignancies
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
  • Impaired sensation
  • Bleeding and acute inflammation.
  • Diabetes and neuropathy
  • If there is a good pulse in the extremities, diabetics and those with neuropathies can benefit from a contrast bath, but it needs to be under the supervision of a physical therapy.

Again, you should consult your physician or physical therapist if you are unsure if this treatment is right for you.

What is the procedure for contrast bath?

  • Sit in the hot water (98 -110 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3-4 mins. (If swelling is present around the joint use only cold bath.)
  • Once you had a good 3 mins in the hot bath switch to the cold water (45 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 minute or until you cannot tolerate it anymore.
  • Repeat the above steps three to four more times (about 20 minutes)

References:

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. 2013. Contrast Water Therapy and Exercise Induced Muscle Damage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633882/. [Accessed 21 February 2017].

National Athletic Trainers’ Association. 1998. Contrast Therapy Does Not Cause Fluctuations in Human Gastrocnemius Intramuscular Temperature. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1320584/pdf/jathtrain00012-0042.pdf. [Accessed 21 February 2017].


Creatine
: The Most Researched Supplement

Creatine
: The Most Researched Supplement

By Joshua Dennis MSc, CSCS, CISSN, CPT

Once you got your nutrition and training dialed in you may want to consider using supplements. Supplements should be used just as their name implies; to supplement an already sound training and diet plan. Too many times novice lifters will get caught in the hype of muscle magazines and waste their money on ineffective and potentially dangerous supplements. However, there is one particular supplement that has proven itself time and time again. That supplement is creatine monohydrate.

What is creatine?

Creatine is arguably the most research tested and proven supplement available for strength/hypertrophy athletes. In fact, in over 500 studies conducted on creatine’s performance benefits, 70% have shown significant improvements, and none have seen detriment (Wells & Esgro, 2013). Technically speaking, creatine is a non-protein nitrogen-containing compound that is made from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine (Brunzel, 2003). In other words, creatine is a compound that is naturally occurring in the body. Most of the body’s creatine stores reside in skeletal muscle, although trace amounts are also found in the eyes, brain, testes, and kidneys (Kreider et al., 2008). Not only that, creatine is also commonly found in foods such as meat and fish.

What does it do?

One of creatine’s functions in the body is to buffer ATP (Feldman, 1999). This means that was your body uses ATP for muscle contractions, creatine donates its phosphate group to help sustain ATP production. Within the body creatine also functions as an osmolyte (Alfieri et al., 2006). Osmolytes help to draw water into cells. This can give your muscle “fuller” appearance and will also enhance cell swelling, a potent anabolic stimulus (Schoenfeld, 2010). Creatine may also assist in recovery from exercise if combined with a carbohydrate source. A study by Nelson, Arnall, Kokkonen, Day, and Evens (2001) found that muscle glycogen levels can be enhanced by taking creatine prior to ingesting carbohydrates. The enhanced glycogen stores will provide more energy to fuel you through your grueling workouts.

Perhaps creatine’s most widely known benefits are its ability to increase both lean body mass and strength. A recent study just reconfirmed these benefits when they saw greater strength and lean body mass in subjects how took creatine over a placebo, regardless of timing (Candow, Vogt, Johannsmeyer, Forbes, & Farthing, 2015). Although strength may seem more beneficial to a powerlifter than a bodybuilder, do not underestimate its value. The ability to lift heavier weights during your workout will result in an increased overload and volume. If periodized correctly the greater training volume will work wonders in developing muscle mass.

If my body naturally stores creatine then why do I need to supplement?

The body naturally stores about 120 grams of creatine for a 70 kg individual. However, after creatine supplementation, the body has shown to hold up to 160 grams (Buford et al., 2007). The extra creatine equals additional explosive energy and the ability to better utilize the body’s alactic (non-lactate producing) energy system.

Creatine Myths and Misconceptions

Now that we have covered what creatine does, it’s time to dispel the most common myths about creatine. The most prevalent myths surrounding creatine are: all weight gained during creatine supplementation is due to water, creatine causes renal distress, creatine causes cramping and dehydration, long-term effects of effects of creatine supplementation are entirely unknown, and creatine use is illegal. Over the years research has refuted all of these claims (Buford et al., 2007). As with any supplement, you should be an informed consumer and understand what the literature has to say about a product before you buy it.

Creatine Loading

Before creatine can express its full ergogenic effects, it must be loaded into the body. A recent meta-analysis on creatine found the typical load to be about 20 grams per day over the course of 5 to 7 days (Lanhers et al., 2015). The dose is typically split up to several smaller amounts taken during the day. Following a creatine load, a maintenance dose of 5 grams daily is common. A wash-out period for creatine is not needed because long-term creatine use does not result in suppression of endogenous creatine production after cessation of use (Wells & Esgro, 2013).

Is creatine safe?

As addressed earlier, the myth that creatine causes renal distress is not supported by research. Additionally, there have been studies conducted on individuals taking creatine for decades with no side effects (Buford et al., 2007). The only significant side effect seen with creatine supplementation is weight gain.

When should I take creatine?

Like other nutrients, there may be a benefit to strategically timing creatine ingestion. Research by (Antonio & Ciccone, 2013) showed that in resistance trained males, creatine taken post-workout was slightly more advantages in terms of body composition and strength gains when compared to pre-workout consumption. A practical recommendation is to add creatine to the post-workout shake/meal to possibly elicit synergistic benefits such as the increase in glycogen replenishment. 

What form of creatine is best?

Over the last few years, there has been a surge of novel forms of creatine coming out. The newer forms include ethyl esters, tri-creatine malate, buffered creatine, conjugated creatine, and others. The efficacy of these newer types is favorable for some and not so much with others (Wells & Esgro, 2013). From an economical and performance standpoint, it is best to stick with the basic creatine monohydrate. To date, research has not found alternative forms of creatine to promote greater retention than the monohydrate variety.

Practical Application

When taken in the appropriate dosage, creatine monohydrate supplementation has shown to be both safe and effective. Creatine can improve muscular strength, lean body mass, cell swelling, glycogen storage, and more. All of these ergogenic benefits will help the bodybuilder progress towards optimal performance. Even better is that most of the negative aspects rumored around creatine turn out to be untrue and unsupported. In the wild west supplement industry, creatine is a compound you can count on.

References

Antonio, J. & Ciccone, V. (2013). The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(36). doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-36

Buford, T.W., Kreider, R.B., Stout, J.R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., … Antonio, J.(2007). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(6). doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-4-6

Brunzel, N.A. (2003).  Renal function: Nonprotein nitrogen compounds, function tests, and renal disease. In J., Scardiglia, M., Brown, K., McCullough, & K., Davis (Eds.) Clinical Chemistry: Concepts and Applications (373 -399). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Candow, D., Vogt, E., Johannsmeyer, S., Forbes, S.C., & Farthing, J.P. (2015). Strategic creatine supplementation and resistance training in healthy older adults. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 40(7): 689-694. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0498

Feldman, E. B. (1999). Creatine: A dietary supplement and ergogenic aid. Nutrition Reviews, 57(2), 45 – 50.

Kreider, R., (2008). Sports Applications of Creatine. In D. Kalman, J. Stout, M. Greenwood, D. Willoughby, & G. Haff (Eds.), Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.

Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T.N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., … Lopez, H.L. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(18). 

Lanhers, C., Pereira, B., Naughton, G., Trousselard, M., Lesage, F., & Dutheil, F. (2015). Creatine supplementation and lower limb strength performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45(9), 1285 – 1294. doi: 10.1007/s40279-015-0337-4

Nelson, A.G., Arnall, D.A., Kokkonen, J., Day, R., & Evens. J. (2001). Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(7), 1096 – 1100.

Schoenfeld, B. (2010). The mechanisms of muscular hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(10), 2857 – 2872.

Wells, S. & Esgro, B. (2013). Creatine. In A. Smith-Ryan & J. Antonio (Eds.), Sports nutrition & performance enhancing supplements (165 – 200). Ronkonkoma, NY: Linus Learning.