Archives by: Jeff Tomaszewski

Jeff Tomaszewski

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About the author

Jeff Tomaszewski is owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake. He is a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. Visit maxstrengthfitness.com or call 440-835-9090.

Jeff Tomaszewski Posts

What’s Your Fitness Motivation?

Fitness January/February 2018

Brace yourself. Nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first six months, according to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Exercise Psychology Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.

The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking with a fitness routine that causes so many people abandon it?

Most people don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it.

Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.

Unlock your motivation

Bryan Reece was told by his doctors that he was minutes away from a heart attack. So Bryan decided to fight back. Even though he had not been in a gym in 30 years, he turned his life around and eventually became a finisher in the Arizona Ironman competition. You can read his story in the book, “You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon,” by Jacques Steinberg.

You do not have to be part of that 50 percent of people who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong. It is all about finding what motivates you personally.

Here are some possible motivators:

  1. Do it for your health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do for your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia, and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is possible to age without decay, and the key to this is exercise and eating well.
  2. Do it to look better.
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Exercise with a Purpose

2017 Editions Fitness November/December 2017

Fitness

Strength Training

I’ve been at this game called “exercise” my entire adult life, and it is my ever-growing certainty that no matter the issue, no matter the benefit sought, no matter the disease to be addressed or the problem to be surmounted, strength training seems to be the answer.

Want to look better in your clothes (or out of them)? Want to address diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other diseases?

Are you about to enter into chemotherapy? Are you suffering from depression? In almost all of these situations, strength training is the most effective measure you can take on the road to good health. Numerous studies in recent years have proven this.

Get Started

When it comes to strength training, I have definite opinions on the best and most efficient way to perform it, but those opinions are not as strong as my belief that you should perform strength training in almost any form. Muscle has evolved over billions of years and is the most adaptive and plastic tissue in our body. As such, strength training can be incredibly simple, precisely because muscle is so complex.

There are many different ways to train, and skeletal muscle will adapt to them all. My only concern is when improper training techniques pose an injury risk. As training expert Arthur Jones once said, “It won’t matter if you have 20-inch arms if you injure your back.”

In the past 10 years, scientific literature has exploded with studies that uncover benefits to strength training that we never imagined. Much of this is linked to myokines, the hormone-like substances released by exercising muscle that benefit other body tissues.

Like my lifelong focus, most of this literature centers on the why of strength training. As the why becomes more accepted and obvious, the focus will begin to shift to the how.

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Move It. Gain Flexibility Regardless of Age

Fitness September/October 2017

Many people exercise, and they do it for a variety of reasons.

Most tend to focus on cosmetic reasons, but the No. 1 thing that I’m interested in as an exercise professional is a functional ability — the ability to carry out everyday tasks with ease. You name it: walking, getting up from a chair, lifting, climbing stairs or participating in your favorite activities.

Senior Techniques

Those most affected by losses in functional ability are the elderly. However, with targeted strength training, they can see a rapid reversal of this condition.

Strength training stimulates skeletal muscular strengthening. All reasonable expectations from exercise are accessed through the skeletal muscles — the only window into the body — by strengthening them. Expectations should include:

  • Improvements in bone density and balance
  • Vascular and metabolic efficiency
  • Joint stability
  • Muscular strength
  • Cosmetics

The elderly are just as capable of performing productive exercise as anyone and stand to gain as much, if not more, from strength training.

Research has shown that exercise programs for elderly patients have a role in preventing illness and injury, limiting functional loss and disability, and alleviating the course and symptoms of existing cardiac, pulmonary, musculoskeletal and metabolic disorders.

Of course, exercise safety is paramount when discussing training programs for elderly populations.

It is crucial to abide by preliminary exercise considerations. Attempting to stimulate physical improvements would not be worthwhile if someone gets hurt doing it.

Strength Training 101 for the Elderly

  1. Choose only one to two days per week to do strength training. All of the “good stuff” happens while we recover from exercise, and this can take three to seven days. Recovery periods may need to be even longer as we age or become more advanced in our exercise performance.
  2. Choose the minimum number of exercises that produce the greatest effect.
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Vacation

Fitness Health & Wellness May/June 2017

Fitness

Rejuvenate Yourself

Get an Energy and Productivity Jumpstart

By Jeff Tomaszewski

 

Four hundred and thirty-eight million: That is the number of vacation days Americans failed to take last year, more than any other industrialized nation, according to Harris Interactive Research Group.

Here’s the result: America ranks first in both depression and mental health issues.

Americans are burned out. Our productivity and creativity are dropping, relationships are failing and our rising stress is leading to record levels of heart disease, stomach ulcers and depression.

All Work, No Play

We’re judged by how much we work. We’re afraid of being replaced or left behind, and we’re addicted to busyness. It’s not only destroying our mental and physical health but also our creative productivity.

This is especially true in our global economy, where our future lies with our ability to think creatively, innovatively and productively.

Rest and recovery are vital to looking and feeling your best. Unfortunately, it’s viewed as a weakness rather than as an integral aspect of growth and sustained performance.

We become flatliners mentally, emotionally and physically by endlessly spending sufficient energy without recovery. We slowly wear down and become ineffective.

Taking a break might be difficult for some of us. Consider these tips:

Reframe it: Instead of calling it time off and thinking we are slackers, reframe it as “rejuvenation time.” This sounds more purposeful and meaningful, doesn’t it? This might be mental manipulation, but we’ll take whatever works.

 

Schedule it: What gets scheduled gets done. Like any critical appointment, you have to plant your time-off flag on your calendar and defend it. Take a break from email. Put your phone and other electronic devices aside.

 

Declare it: Don’t feel guilty or try to keep it a secret. Lead by example and show others how to make rejuvenation part of an overall health plan.

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Strength Training

Fitness March/April 2017

Fitness

The Few, the Long-Lived … The Strength Trainers

Strength training is the way to live better longer.

Yet, few people do it. It’s hard to understand.

Over the past decade, researchers have demonstrated the benefits of strength training for strength, muscle mass and physical function, as well as for improvements in chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, lower back pain and obesity.

Only about 9 percent of older adults do strength training at least once a week, according to one study — a small fraction of people but higher than researchers expected.

The researchers in one study followed the respondents for 15 years. About a third of the respondents had died within the time period. The remaining who trained at least twice a week had a 46 percent lower risk of death than those who did not do the training. They also had 41 percent lower odds of cardiac death and 19 percent lower risk of dying from cancer.

Significantly, after the researchers controlled for physical activity levels, people who did strength exercises lived longer than those who did only physical activity.

The study is strong evidence that strength training in older adults has benefits beyond improving muscle strength and physical function.

Jeff Tomaszewski is owner of MaxStrength Fitness in Westlake. He’s a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist. Visit maxstrengthfitness.com or call 440-835-9090.

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Look Good Feel Good – Jumpstart Your Routine to Slow Down the Aging Process

Look Good Feel Good – Jumpstart Your Routine  to Slow Down  the Aging Process

Are you as old as you feel? Does your chronological age match your biological age? We’ve all met people who seem much younger than their age and have boundless energy. We’ve also known people who look and act much older than their age.

As we age, our metabolism slows, making it tougher to lose weight. After 40, our biological age starts to speed up, and we age faster than our chronological age. It doesn’t need to be this way. You have more control over the aging process than you think. You have the power to slow aging and prolong your youth.

TRY STRENGTH TRAINING

When we add strength training to an exercise routine, we can stimulate our muscles to unleash a powerful flood of muscle-strengthening, fat-burning and anti-aging hormones to reverse the aging process and greatly slow down both biological and chronological aging.

Stimulating and exhausting all of our muscle fibers is the key that will cause the other metabolic processes and organs of the body to respond better.

In order for a strength-training workout to produce results, sufficient rest and recovery time are necessary to allow growth. If we provide a sufficient stimulus to the body and allow for rest and recovery, the body will respond in a positive way with the desired physical and metabolic changes.

 

GET WITH THE (STRENGTH) PROGRAM

When you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine, you will:

• Re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body to start burning body fat.

• Reboot the endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth-enhancing hormones so you can get infinitely more energy and replace flab with lean, strong muscle.

• Fortify your body by regaining bone density and building a solid foundation.

• Boost your brainpower, enhance memory and improve cognitive function.

• Improve functional ability, making daily activities easier and more enjoyable.

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Beyond Daydreams: Think, Imagine, Do

Fitness January/February 2017

Visualization, done right, can be extremely powerful in achieving any goal. As you think about your goals for the New Year, consider using your imagination to see yourself already in possession of your goal.

Picture yourself with the healthy and fit body you desire, and literally feel what it is like to have it. You cannot achieve anything in your “outer world” until you first see it in your “inner world.”

IS VISUALIZATION REAL?

In one of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports, Russian scientists compared four groups of Olympic athletes in terms of their training schedules:

GROUP 1 had 100 percent physical training

GROUP 2 had 75 percent physical training with 25 percent mental training

GROUP 3 had 50 percent physical training with 50 percent mental training

GROUP 4 had 25 percent physical training with 75 percent mental training

The results showed that Group 4, with 75 percent of their time devoted to mental training, performed the best. The study showed that using mindfulness — actually focusing on mental images — can boost physical achievement.

Creative visualization is distinguished from normal daydreaming in a key manner. Visualization is done in the first person and the present tense, as if the visualized scene were unfolding all around you. Typical daydreaming is done in the third person and the future tense.

Using affirmations that begin with “I am so happy and grateful now that …” is an excellent way to begin programming your subconscious mind to move toward your goal.

Visualization is another tool that Olympic athletes use to get their minds in shape for competition. In this technique, athletes mentally rehearse exactly what they have to do to win. Sports psychologists say that visualization boosts athletes’ confidence by forcing them to picture themselves winning. It also helps them concentrate on their physical moves, rather than on distractions around them.

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An Attitude of Gratitude – The Mind Matters When it Comes to Health

An Attitude of Gratitude – The Mind Matters When it Comes to Health

As much as some of us (me included) would like to control every aspect of our lives, we can’t. What we can control is our attitude toward what happens to us.

We all experience and continue to experience trying times in our lives. The what in these situations is less important than the how.

CUT THE NEGATIVE ATTITUDE

How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their effect on our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Up to 40 percent of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. We tend to focus on our problems, especially during trying times. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative things happening in our lives.

What would happen instead if we switched that focus to the many good things that happen to us each day?

What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives?

EXAMPLE GRATITUDE JOURNAL ENTRIES

• I am grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and that I can help others do the same.

• I am grateful that I devoted time to my strength-training routine today.

• I am grateful for my family and friends.

INCREASING HAPPINESS

Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research. Studies show grateful people:

• Report higher levels of positive emotions

• Have greater life satisfaction

• Experience greater vitality

• Are more optimistic

• Are healthier

• Build strong relationships

• Handle adversity better

• Experience lower levels of depression and stress

 

People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspec – tive of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful.

Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

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