Archive for June, 2009

Do This Only If You are Serious about being Fit

One of the most overlooked exercises for building the upper body, back and core strength is the pull up. It requires a very simple piece of exercise equipment, a chin up bar. Pull ups can be performed wherever there is a doorway. Of course, you can go to the gym and use an elaborate piece of equipment that is free standing, but either way there is no excuse for ignoring this exercise other than fear of failure.

Unfortunately, most people and athletes ignore this simple exercise during their regular strength training routine. However, this exercise is a “must do” exercise no matter your fitness level.

How to do the pull up!

The pull up bar should be at a height that requires you to jump up to grab it; your feet should hang free.

  1. Stand below the bar with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Jump up and grip the bar with an overhand grip. The palms of your hands should be facing away from you. (Another variation is and under hand grip where your palms are facing towards you. This is considered a chin up).
  3. Bend your knees and cross your ankles for a balanced position.
  4. Pull yourself up so your chin is level with the bar.
  5. Lower yourself so your elbows are almost straight. Do not fully extend your elbows and hang as this is very stressful on your shoulder joint.

Repeat the movement without touching the floor.

In general, you should move through the entire movement in a somewhat slow and controlled motion. Complete anywhere from 1-20 repetitions depending on your fitness level and strength. Once your form deteriorates, it’s time to stop and take a rest or you may risk injury.

But I can’t do even 1 pull up yet!

If you can’t do one full pull up yet, there are several ways to build up your strength so you can start doing pull ups.

• Machine Assisted Pull Up
Begin by using a pull up assist machine. You’ll have to go to a gym for this, but it’s a good way to start developing the strength required for the pull up.

• Human Assistance
Have a trainer, coach or spotter “assist” you. Keep your knees bent and ankles crossed. Your partner will provide a gentle lift while gripping the tops of your feet. This small assist helps offset your weight as you pull up.

• Negative Pull Ups
Use a box or step to lift yourself into the pull up “finish” position and hold your chin at bar level for several seconds. Slowly lower yourself in a controlled motion, stopping and holding at several points along the way. When you get to the bottom, repeat the process. This is considered an eccentric, controlled lengthening of the muscle, contraction and it will help you gain the most strength in the least amount of time.


June 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Don’t Listen to This If You’re Still Believing That

Does saturated fat negatively affect your health and physique? Much of the blame for diabetes, heart disease and obesity have been based on high fat intake. Research has however shown that women who maintain a diet that includes a high saturated fat intake have very little plaque buildup in the arteries and achieve better balance between their HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. Adding saturated fat to the diet while reducing refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta and rice as well as trans-fats seem to be key in managing weight and having a healthy heart. This is quite contrary to what many of us have believed.

Much of the challenge in achieving our health goals centers on getting the right information about fat, calories, exercise and weight management. One great way to get on a course toward improving or maintaining your health is to set a goal to eliminate processed carbs, fast foods, and trans -fat laden frozen foods.

The following saturated fat sources are also an excellent way to get your daily calories:

1. Olive oil, canola oil or flax oil
2. Nuts such as almonds or walnuts
3. Flaxseed
4. Fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, herring or trout
5. Avocado
6. Dark chocolate (in moderation)
7. Soy

June 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Ideas for Creating Your Sacred Space and Building an Altar


Candles: Creating a dinner setting with candles can affect the ambience of a room tremendously. Similarly, using candles can also create a mood of intimacy and discovery in worship. Click here to read more about “Ideas for Creating Your Sacred Space and Building an Altar” by Dale Rolle in the May – June issue of LiveLiving Christian Health and Wellness eMagazine.

June 24, 2009 at 3:22 am Leave a comment

The Exercise that Gives You the Look of Confidence

Do you want to have that look of confidence? Yes, true confidence comes from within, but there are some exercises that can help in creating this look. The push ups! Have you been doing your pushups?

A few weeks ago, I challenged you to begin pushups because of their effectiveness. Now I am going to throw a twist into your regular pushup. I want you to add a stability/ Swiss ball to the standard pushup for more of a challenge.

Begin by finding an exercise ball that is the correct size for your height.

Lie with your abdomen on the stability ball and walk your hands forward on the floor until the ball rests under your thighs. For more of a challenge, let the ball rest under your lower leg and ankles.

Pull your navel in toward your spine, and bend your elbows, lowering your chest and face towards the floor. Breathe in when you lower your body. Breathe out when your push your body up.

After lowering your body toward the floor, hold the position for 3 seconds. Do not let your stomach sag in the middle. Keep your spine in a straight line.

Push through your arms straightening your elbows. Do not lock out your elbows.

Keep your head in line with your spine and your abdominals engaged. Repeat the move for 15 reps. Rest for 1 minute between each set, working your way up to 3 sets.

Now stand up and make sure your abdominals are pulled in, your buttocks tucked in and your chest up. This is the stance of confidence.

June 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

7 Great Health Tips


Do you feel sleepy after eating?

Usually one of two things can cause sleepiness after eating, either you are consuming too much simple sugar or your portions are too large. Try reducing the portion size and / or simple sugar content. If you still experience drowsiness consult with a physician.

Would you choose fruit or juice?

Fruits usually contain simple sugar but many have lots of fiber to slow down their digestion. That is not the case with juice. Choose wisely by opting for pieces of fruit over juice even for breakfast.

Want to gain 10 years?

That is just what you will do if you exercise. Research shows that at the cellular level you will be 10 years younger if you remain physically active. (Source: Archives of Internal Medicine)

Are you serious?

If you are serious about your health then you will appreciate the need to plan in advance. Plan your meals a week in advance to achieve the best results. Doing so will help you to know exactly what to shop for and put you on the right path for each day to be a little easier to manage.

Did you know muscle can help you handle that?

Most people with muscle tend to be immune to stress. Why? The leaner you are the faster your blood pressure will regulate following a mentally stressful incident. The body will actually get rid of sodium faster and thereby help your heart and arteries during stressful times. Source: American Journal of Hypertension

Are you still boiling?

Boil your vegetables and as much as 75 percent of the nutritional content will be poured down the drain. The best way to eat your veggies is raw if possible. You risk losing valuable nutrients when you cook them. Try steaming rather than boiling.

Want a flat stomach?

If you desire a flat stomach or just weight loss your success may depend on your willingness to cut back on alcohol consumption. Each gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. Drinking alcohol encourages carrying a higher than average body fat.

June 19, 2009 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Vegan Honey Bread

Vegan Bread and Infused Olive Oil - SANY0151

Put first 4 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree until thick and uniform in texture. Add last 3 ingredients and process until incorporated. Click here for more of this recipe by Chef Praylani Henry in the May – June issue of LiveLiving Christian Health and Wellness eMagazine.

June 17, 2009 at 11:26 am Leave a comment

This is for all those Fathers Out There!

Through many years of observation, during my workouts at the gym, I have discovered that men love to train two body parts: their chest and their biceps. You can see the same person at the gym all week long and each time you see them they may be doing a different exercise, but I can almost guarantee you it is for one of those body parts.

The bad thing about concentrating on one specific body part all the time is that you disturb the muscular balance in your body. For example, if you only train your chest, then the chest muscles–pectoralis major and minor, become very tight. If these muscles are tight all the time, (because of their insertion / attachment to the shoulder) it results in rounded shoulders. In return, if your shoulders become rounded, pulled forward, the back muscles become over stretched and weak. Weak back muscles and a forward posture lead to a kyphotic hump in your thoracic spine. Not a very pretty picture and often very painful after a period of time.

In this blog, I am challenging everyone to do new exercises. Don’t find yourself in the gym day after day, and week after week training the same muscle. Train so that your muscles are well balanced.

Challenge 1:

Chest press / Seated Row
Machine Chest Press for the Chest:

1.Sit on a chest press machine, keeping your back flush against the back pad, head up, chest up, and shoulders back and down.

2. Pull your abdominal muscles tight.

3. Under complete control of the weight you have chosen, push the weight out while focusing on bringing your elbows together and extending your arms straight out. Do not lock your elbows.

4. Stopping just before your elbows are locked out, reverse the motion back to the starting position, very slowly for the eccentric contraction.
5. Keeping control of the weight, stop when your elbow joints are in line with your shoulder joints, then begin pushing back out.

6.Do 12-15 reps. Muscles Benefited: Pectoralis major and minor, triceps, and deltoids.

Challenge 2:

Seated Rows
Seated Row Machine for the Back:

1.Sit on the rowing machine with your chest against the pad, head up, shoulders back and down, and the natural arch in your spine / low back should be maintained throughout the exercise.

2.Keep your abdominal muscles tight.

3.Under complete control of the weight you have chosen, pull the weight back while focusing on bringing your shoulder blades together.
4.Stop once your elbow joints are in line with your shoulders. Reverse the motion back to the starting position.

5.Begin to lower the weight slowly to get the eccentric contraction. Stop just before your elbows become completely straight and locked out.

6.Do 12 – 15 reps. Muscles Benefited: Deltoids, erector spinae, latisimus dorsi, rhomboids.

These two exercises are performed as a circuit. Do three to four rounds of the circuit during your workout. Remember it is all about balance and alignment throughout the body.

June 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

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