Cardio Training

What is cardio training? The ability of the respiratory and circulatory systems to supply oxygen rich blood to skeletal muscles during physical activity.

It has a massive list of health benefits including better heart function, more efficient breathing, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces depression and anxiety, better sleep, lose weight.

Cardio fitness is vital to health and wellness along with enjoying everyday living. It can help prevent chronic diseases and improve quality of life. In fact it is one of the main predictors of how long of a life you will live.

Each training session should include a warm-up, conditioning, and cool down phase.

General warm up – low intensity exercise consisting of movements that don’t necessarily relate to the more intense exercise that is to follow.

Specific warm up – low intensity exercise consisting of movements that will be included in the higher intensity exercises that will follow.

Warm up should last 5-10 minutes and be of low to moderate pace.  This will get the heart and tissues ready, as well as psychologically.  Although a new client may be a longer warm up time.  Up to 30 mins.

During warm up static stretching should only be done in areas that the fitness assessment has found to be tight or overactive.  Each stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds.

A cool down should be done to prevent blood pooling in lower extremities and lengthen muscles back to normal. Goal is to bring heart rate and body temperature back down to normal, and get physiologic systems back to baseline.

Flexibility should also be included in the cool down phase. Should do 5-10 minutes of low/moderate cardio, self-myofascial release, and static stretching.

FITTE Principle

  • Frequency – number of training sessions in a given timeframe
  • Intensity – the demand an activity places on the body
  • Type – mode or type of activity selected, to be cardio it must be rhythmic in nature, use large muscle groups, and be continuous
  • Time – length of time engaged usually in minutes – adults should get 150 minutes of moderate, 75 minutes of high intensity, or an equal mix of both for the same time period each week
  • Enjoyment – amount a pleasure one gets from an activity

Training Zones

  1. Zone one – 65-75% HR, walking jogging
  2. Zone two – 76-85% HR, spinning class
  3. Zone three – 86-95% HR, sprinting

Using stage training (periodization) a client can progress from a base stage 1 to stage 2 interval work in moderate intervals to stage 3 high intensity intervals and not risk overtraining. Which is caused by improper rest and recovery.

Circuit Training

Circuit training can be a very time efficient methods to improve cardio fitness.  It can be just as effective as traditional cardio methods like treadmills, biking, and results in a higher metabolic rate and strength levels after the workout.

Trainers must keep an eye on posture during circuit training to avoid poor form and risk injury.

Flexibility Training Concepts

Most people will require some warm up and flexibility to exercise optimally. They also usually suffer from some type of posture imbalance due to sedentary lifestyle, repetitive motions, office work, etc.

Flexibility will help prevent and treat neuromuscular injuries.

Importantly some people will not be able to achieve their goals until these issues are corrected.

Flexibility – Normal extensibility of all soft tissues that allow the full range of motion of a joint.

Extensibility – Capability to be elongated or stretched.

Dynamic range of motion – Combo of flexibility and the nervous systems ability to control this range of motion efficiently.

Neuromuscular efficiency – The ability of the neuromuscular system to allow agonists, antagonists, and stabilizers to work synergistically to reduce, produce, and dynamically stabilize the entire kinetic chain in all three planes of motion.

Postural distortion patterns – Predictable patterns of muscle imbalances

Relative flexibility – A body will seek path of least resistance during functional movement patterns. Examples are a person who externally rotates feet during squatting due to tight calf muscles.  Or someone who arches their back during a overhead press due to tight lats and inability to lift arms directly overhead.

Muscle Imbalance – Alteration of muscle length surrounding a joint.

Imbalances may be caused by:

  • Reciprocal inhibition – simultaneous contraction of one muscle and the relaxation of its antagonist to allow movement to take place
  • Altered reciprocal inhibition – caused by a tight agonist which inhibits the antagonist
  • Synergistic dominance – happens when inappropriate muscles take over the function of a weak prime mover
  • Arthokinematics – motion of the joints in the boyd
  • Arthokinetic dysfunction – altered forces at the joint that results in abnormal activity and impaired neuromuscular communication at the joint

Mechanoreceptors located in the muscles and tendons help determine muscle balance or imbalance. Which include muscle spindles and Golgi tendons.

Muscle spindles – Lie parallel to muscle and sense length changes. Preventing a muscle to stretch too far or fast.

Golgi tendons are located where the muscle and tendon meet and sense tension and rate of tension.

Autogenic inhibition – process of neural impulses that sense tension are greater than the impulses that cause the muscle to contract, providing an inhibitory effect to the muscle spindles.

Pattern overload – consistently repeating the same pattern of motion which may place abnormal stresses on the body. This can be as simple as a person sitting as a computer all day which is causing a repetitive stress to the body.

Flexibility is a key component in all training programs.  It helps with:

  • correcting muscle imbalances
  • increases joint range of motion
  • decreases excess tension in muscles
  • relieves joint stress
  • improves the extensibility of musculotendinous junction
  • helps maintain the normal length of muscles
  • improves neuromuscular efficiency
  • improves function

Davis’s law – says soft tissue models along the lines of stress.

If muscle imbalances and flexibility are not addresses before resistance or cardio training then the client may be putting additional stress on the body due to improper mechanics and bad muscle recruitment. Which can ultimately lead to injury.

Flexibility, just like other modes of training should follow a systematic progression known as the flexibility continuum.

The integrated flexibility continuum consists of three stages:

  1. Corrective flexibility, to increase joint ROM, improve muscle imbalance and correct altered joint motion – self-myofascial release, static stretching – used in phase 1 (stabilization) mode of OPT model
  2. Active flexibility, to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency using reciprocal inhibition – self-myofascial release, active-isolated stretching – used in phases 2,3,4 of OPT model
  3. Functional flexibility, which involved integrated multiplanar soft tissue extensibility through full range of motion with optimal control without compensations – self-myofascial release, dynamic stretching – used in the power phase of OPT or before athletic competition. Examples include the prisoner squat, multi planar lunge, tube walking side to side, and a medicine ball lift and chop.

Video showing how to prisoner squat:

Each form of stretching manipulates the receptors of the nervous system which allow for alteration of muscle extensibility.

 Self-myofacial release applies force to a knot and realigns the fibers with the muscle while releasing tension.

IMPORTANT – Client must find a tender spot and sustain pressure for at least 30 seconds (hold till discomfort is reduced) which will increase Golgi tendon organ and decrease muscle spindle activate to trigger the autogenic inhibition response.

It is suggested to be done before stretching because if knots are present and not broken up before stretching it may hamper muscles ability to stretch. Can also be done during cool down.

Static stretching (taking a muscle to point of tension and holding stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds) should be done to decrease muscle spindle activity of a tight muscle before and after activity.

Static stretching should be avoided before a competition due to loss of some strength.  Unless there is a muscle imbalance present.  Active and dynamic can be completed before athletics.

Active Stretching – process of using agonists and synergists to dynamically move a joint into range of motion.

Suggested form of stretching before an athletic competition or high intensity exercise.  Unless any imbalances are present in which case self-myofascial release and static stretching should be done first.

Typically 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps are done while holding stretch for 1-2 seconds each rep.

Dynamic stretching – active extension of a muscle using force production and momentum to move a joint through the full range of available range of motion. Uses reciprocal inhibition and done with 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps of 3-10 different exercises.

Can be used as a warmup before athletic competition.


Fitness Assessment by a Personal Trainer

A fitness assessment will look at a clients health history, risks, posture, movements, fitness baseline, physiologic measurements, cardio assessment, and design an exercise program to safely progress to desired outcome (clients likes/dislikes, goals, needs, abilities).

What a Personal Trainer Can and Can’t Help With

Can not:

  • Diagnose medical conditions
  • Prescribe treatment
  • Prescribe diets
  • Provide treatment of any kind of injury or disease
  • Provide rehab services for clients
  • Provide counseling services for clients


  • Obtain health and exercise guidelines from a doctor, PT, or R.D.
  • Follow national consensus guidelines of exercise prescription for medical disorders
  • Screen clients for exercise limitations
  • Identify potential risk factors for clients through screening procedures
  • Refer clients who feel pain to a qualified medical practitioner
  • Design individualized, systematic, progressive exercise programs
  • Refer clients with general information on healthy eating according to the food pyramid
  • Refer clients to a qualified dietician or nutritionist for specific diet plans
  • Use exercise to help improve health
  • Assist clients in following the medical advice of a physician or therapist
  • Design exercise programs for clients after they are released from rehab
  • Act as a coach for clients
  • Provide general information
  • Refer clients to a qualified counselor or therapist

Subjective information is gathered from a prospective client to give the trainer feedback of clients personal history like job, lifestyle, and medical background.

The physical activity readiness questionnaire will help trainers identify any medical, health, or physical condition that could restrict or limit the quantity or type of exercise the client could do. It will identify any individuals that require further health testing before going further into fitness testing and training.  They may need to see a doctor first.

Things like chest pain, dizziness, medications, and other reasons someone shouldn’t jump into training.

Two areas of focus for trainers should be the clients occupation and general lifestyle traits.


If someone is sitting for long periods of time their hips are usually tight, shoulders rounded, forward head posture, and usually poor cardio conditioning.

Lots of repetitive work overhead can lead to muscle imbalances.

Dress shoes can lead to posture imbalances.

Mental stress can lead to increased HR, BP, and ventilation at rest and exercise.

Lifestyle – outside of the work life what recreational activities / hobbies does the client do?

What is their medical history?

Any past injuries or surgeries?

Chronic conditions – 75% of american adults do not engage in 30 minutes of low-moderate activity most days of the week. The CDC recommends 30 minutes of flow-moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week or more for good health. Risks go up for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, CHD, high cholesterol, stroke, lung problems, obesity, diabetes, cancer when this is not done.


  •  Beta blockers – Used for high blood pressure or irregular heart rate
  • Calcium channel blockers – Chest pain or hypertension
  • Nitrates – Hypertension, congestive heart failure, and peripheral edema
  • Bronchodilators – Correct or prevent bronchial smooth muscle constriction in people with asthma or other pulmonary diseases
  • Vasodilators – Hypertension or congestive heart failure
  • Antidepressants – Various psychiatric and emotional disorders

Effects on HR and BP

  •  Beta blockers - HR and BP decreased
  • Calcium channel blockers - HR increased, BP decrease
  • Nitrates -HR increase or stay same, BP stay same or decrease
  • Diuretics – HR no effect, BP same or decrease
  • Bronchodilators – HR no effect, BP no effect
  • Vasodilators – HR increase, stay same, or decrease, BP decrease
  • Antidepressants – HR increase or same, BP same or decrease

Personal trainers do not prescribe, administer or educate clients on medications.

Objective Information includes exercise and resting physiological measurements like BP and HR, resting anthropometric measurements like height, weight, BF percentage, circumference measurements, and specific measures of fitness like muscle endurance, flexibility, and cardio status. This can form a baseline to measure progress against after a training period looking at physiological, body composition, cardio health, static and dynamic posture assessment, and performance.

Heart Rate

Resting HR is a good indicator of overall cardio health, and exercise HR is a strong indicator to how a clients system is responding and adapting to exercise.

Pulse rate is also known as heart rate.

There are seven pulse points but two are mainly used (wrist which is preferred and neck with caution).

To find a radial pulse lightly place two fingers on right side of arm just above thumb. Count pulse rate for 60 seconds.  Average over 3 days.

Carotid pulse on the neck to the side of larynx.  Count for 60 seconds and average over 3 days.

Excessive pressure can cause problems.

Resting heart rate can vary.  Average is 70 bpm for male and 75 bpm for female.

Resting heart rate can be used to calculate target heart rate zones.

  1. Zone one builds aerobic base and aids in recovery
  2. Zone two increases aerobic and anaerobic endurance
  3. Zone three build high-end work capacity

A straight percentage method can be used to estimate max heart by subtracting 220 minus age.

  1. Zone 1 – Max HR x 0.65 to 0.75
  2. Zone 2 – Max HR x 0.76 to 0.85
  3. Zone 3 – Max HR x 0.86 to 0.95

I find the above formula to be off base.  For exercises that a client is efficient in their HR could be lower than this level.  And for something they are not accustomed to it may be higher.

A more accurate method is the HR reserve (HRR) or Karvonen method. Based on the fact that it now factors in the clients resting heart rate.  But still guesses on max heart rate.

NOTE – To be correct I think you need to do a max heart rate tests doing the specific exercise to really define target heart rate zones.

THR = [ (HRmax - HRrest) x desired intensity ] + HR rest

Example – Myself at 65% – 220 – 30 = 190 (max HR), 190 – 40 = 150, 150 x .65 = 97.5, 97.5 + 40 = 137.5

For biking which I racer cross country mountain courses my HR is about 180 max while riding.  Which brings my number more to 131. So the above formula would make my zones a little too high for that specific exercise. But the formula will get you in the ball park.

 Blood Pressure

BP is the pressure of the blood circulating against the walls of the blood vessels after blood is ejected from the heart.

The first (top) number is systolic and is pressure within the arterial system after the heart contracts.

The second number (bottom) is diastolic and is pressure in the arterial system when the heart is resting and filling with blood.  120/80 or lower is the recommended blood pressure by the American Heart Association.

Measuring BP can be done with a sphygmomanometer on the bicep and a stethoscope over the brachial artery.  Rapidly inflated cuff to 20-30 mm Hg above where pulse can no longer be felt at the wrist.  Then release pressure about 2 Hg per second listening for a pulse. Systolic will be the first observation of a pulse.  Diastolic pressure is when the pulse fades away.

It is recommended that trainers that a professional course in blood pressure assessment before assessing clients.

Body Comp

Monitoring body fat % helps:

  • Find high or low levels
  • Help client understand BF
  • Monitor changes in body comp
  • Help estimate healthy body weight
  • Assist in program design
  • Use a a motivational tool
  • Monitor changes in body composition as they relate to chronic diseases
  • Assess effectiveness of nutrition and exercise choices

There is no accepted body fat range, but generally 15% for men and 25% for women is accepted.


  • 3-5% is essential body fat
  • Athletic is 5-13% BF
  • Recommended for 34 years and younger is 8-22%
  • 35-55 years old 10-25%
  • 56 years and older 10-25%


  • 8-12% Essential
  • 12-22% Athletic
  • 20-35% 34 and younger
  • 23-38% 25-55
  • 25-38% 56 and older

You can test BF by skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, and underwater testing.

The Durnin formula (NASM uses) uses a skin fold at four points; biceps, triceps, sub scapular, and iliac crest.

Don’t use the skin fold test on obese clients.  Use a bioelectric test if available or just how clothes fit and how they look.

To calculate fat mass:

BF % x scale weight = fat mass

Scale weight – fat mass = lean body mass


A good easy to use, quick, inexpensive, method that can be used on obese clients.


  1. Neck – across adams apple
  2. Chest – Across nipple line
  3. Waist – narrowest point above hip bones
  4. Hips- feet together and measure widest part of butt
  5. Thighs – 10″ up from patella
  6. Calves – widest point
  7. Biceps – measure with arm extended to side and palm facing forward as widest part

Waist to hip ratio is a good indicator of chronic disease due to stored fat in the midsection.  Divide waist by hip measurement and if .80 for women and .95 for men and greater may put someone at risk.


BMI = [ weight (lbs) / height (inch) ] x 703

Lowest risk of disease is 22-24.9.  25 someone is considered overweight and increased risk.  30 and up is considered obese.

Cardio Testing

Most accurate is a VO2 max test.  But client and equipment are not always available or willing to do a max test.  So a submax test is often preferred.

The YMCA 3-minute step test and the Rockport Walk test are most common sub max tests.

YMCA test – Step in correct cadence on a 12″ step for 3 minutes and measure HR for a period of 60 seconds within 5 seconds of completing the test or use HR monitor and get HR within 5 seconds.

Apply to chart and it will show zone 1-3 cardio starting recommendations depending on how poorly or well they did.

Rockport is based on using the clients weight and walking as fast as they can on a treadmill for one mile then measuring HR bpm at the one mile mark


Proper posture ensures the muscles in the body are functioning and aligned properly with their length and tension relationships to allow proper joint motion and movement.

A quick static observation can provide a good deal of information.

Three basic compensatory patterns that have been found and studied are:

  1. Pronation distortion syndrome
  2. Lower crossed syndrome – hips tilting forward
  3. Upper cross syndrome – back rounded kinda like forward  head

Kinetic Chain Checkpoints

  • Foot and ankle – straight and parallel
  • Knee – in line with toes not adducted or abducted
  • Lumbo pelvic hip complex – level with spines
  • Shoulders – Level not rounded or elevated
  • Head and cervical spine – Neutral not tilted nor rotated

Dynamic posture is with movement.  Look for overactive or under active muscles or imbalances.

The overhead squat test is a good indicator of lower extremity movement patterns.

Client should stand shoulder width apart feet pointed straight ahead. Shoes off.  Raise arms overhead fully extended. Upper arm bisects the torso.

Squat to roughly chair height and return to starting position.

Repeat for 5 reps and observe from front side and back.

Single Leg Squat assessment

Assess dynamic flexibility, core strength, balance, and overall neuromuscular control.

Hand on hips and stand on one leg. Squat to a comfortable level then return for 5 reps. Knee should stay in line with toe and hip, and shoulders and waist parallel.

Pushing and pulling assessment

Stand split stance on a free motion machine and look for forward head, arching back, or shoulders elevating.

Push up test – test the muscle endurance of the upper body.  Go until exhaustion and count how many were done.  Test the same way in the future and the client should be able to do more.

Davies test – measures upper extremity agility and stabilization. Not good for people with poor shoulder stability.

  • Place two pieces of tape 36″ apart, one long piece between the two for proper alignment
  • Place hands on both sides in push up position
  • Client quickly move one hand to touch the other
  • Perform alternating sides for 15 seconds a side
  • Repeat 3 times
  • Record number of touches and repeat later

Shark skill test – Looks at lower extremity agility and neuromuscular control. Its kinda a profession from single leg squat test and may not be for everyone.

  • Client stand in center box of a grid with hands on hips and standing on one leg
  • Hop in designated pattern always returning to center each time
  • Perform a practice run with each foot
  • Perform test with each foot (four times total) while keeping track of time
  • Record the times
  • Add .10 seconds for other leg touching ground, hands off hips, foot into wrong square, foot not returning to center

Upper extremity strength assessment – Bench Press

This is mainly for select people who strength is important and not for people wanting to lose fat only.  Can be used to determine training intensities for the bench press.

  • Lie in position
  • Warm up with weight for 8-10 reps
  • 1 minute rest
  • Add 10-20 pounds and perform 3-5 reps
  • Take a 2 minute break
  • Repeat until failure between 2-10 reps but 3-5 reps more accurate
  • Use one rep max chart to estimate

Lower Extremity Strength Assessment – Squat

Figure out one rep max on squat for overall lower body strength.  May again not be suited for all clients.

  • Feet shoulder width apart, knees in line with toes, lower back in neutral position
  • Warm up for 8-10 reps easy
  • 1 minute break
  • Add 30-40 pounds and perform 3-5 reps
  • 2 minute break
  • Repeat until failure between 2-10 reps but 3-5 reps more accurate
  • Use a one rep max chart

In all tests make sure client performs with minimal movement compensations.


Human Movement Science (Boring)

Biomechanics – Science of external and internal forces acting on the body and the effects produced by the forces.

Superior – Above a reference point

Inferior – Below a reference point

Proximal – Near the center of a reference point

Distal – Away from center of body or point of reference

Anterior – On the front of the body

Posterior – On the back of the body

Medial – Near the middle of the body

Lateral – Outside of the body

Contralateral – Positioned on the opposite side of the body

Ipsilateral – Postioned on the same side of the body

Anatomic postion – Body erect with arms extended and palms facing forward.  A reference point for body positioning in science terms.

Frontal plane – A wall in front and behind person – So its movements to the sides

Sagittal plane – Walls on the side of a person – can only do movements front and backwards

Transverse – Rotations

Extension – Movement in which the relative angle between two adjacent segments increases.

Hyperextension – Extension of a joint beyond the normal limit or range of motion.

Abduction – Movement in the frontal plane away from the midline of the body.

Adduction – Movement in the frontal plane toward the midline of the body.

Internal rotation – Rotation of a joint toward the middle of the body.

External rotation – Rotation of a joint away from the middle of the body.

Horizontal abduction – Movement of the high or arm in the transverse plane from an anterior position to a lateral position.

Horizontal Adduction – Movement of the arm or thigh in the transverse plane from a lateral position to an anterior position.

Scapular retraction – Adduction of scapula, shoulder blades move toward the midline.

Scapular protraction – Abduction of scapula, shoulder blades move away from midline.

Scapular depression – Downward (inferior) motion of scapula.

Scapular elevation – Upward (superior) motion of scapula.

Muscle Action Spectrum

Isotonic – Force is produced, muscle tension is developed, and movement occurs through a given range of motion.

Eccentric – Moving in the same direction as the resistance. Decelerates the force.

Concentric – Moving in opposite direction of force. Accelerates or produces force.

Isometric – No movement – stabilizing force

Isokinetic – Speed of movement is fixed, and resistance varies with force exerted. Often seen in high end rehab labs.

Common Force-Couples

Muscles                                                 Movement Created

Internal and external obliques – Truck rotation

Upper traps and serratus anterior – Upward rotation of the scapula

Glutes, quads, calfs – Produce hip and knee extension while walking, running, climbing, etc.

Gastocnemius, peroneus longus, and tibialis posterior – Performing plantarflexion at the foot and ankle complex

Delts and rotator cuff – Performing shoulder abduction


First class – Like a seesaw with fulcrum in the middle. A nodding head.

Second class – Resistance in the middle with the fulcrum on either side. Push up.

Third class – Have effort between the fulcrum and resistance. Bicep curl.


Each system in the kinetic chain is separate, but must work together to gather information internally and externally to create and learn movements (motor behavior).  Using proprioception, sensorimotor integration, and muscle synergies to create efficient movement (motor control). With practice, as well as internal (your own body) and external feedback (from a trainer) will allow efficient movement to be reproduced (motor learning).


Eggs and Heart Disease

In the majority of U.S. adults age 25 and up, one egg per day accounts for less than 1% chance of developing heart disease.  It’s more effective to focus on major risk factors like smoking and other diet habits than egg consumption (1).

Although the more it seems you consume the risks start going up.  After 7 eggs a week the risk for heart failure goes up (2).

Based on the studies I have read so far I would say a small amount of eggs is good for you (6 or less a week).

One egg a day doesn’t really lead to a good meal by itself.  So what I suggest is adding an egg to a salad a few times a week or make an omelet with one egg yolk and 3-4 egg whites. Whether the egg should be raw or cooked needs further study. Many cases of salmonella and raw eggs have been found.

Some studies are also suggesting that egg yolks are not the issue and you can eat quite a few a day and be fine.  I personally am leaning toward the middle on this one at the moment because of so many conflicting studies.


1 –

2 –

Food Matters Documentary

Everyone should watch the Food Matters documentary. Its a great primer for nutrition and health. You can find more information at but be careful.  It seems as though they’re turning this into a business and selling nutrition courses ($4995 currently). They have many business marketing strategies at work on their website.  Email opt in to market to you, sense of urgency in their offers (see red countdown timer to make you buy), testimonials for social proof, etc.

Don’t be sold one of the current scams of “certification” going around right now.  You can find all the information in pubmed databases and your local library for free.  If you want a certification I would go to a real school and become a registered dietician, etc.

You can learn from the film Food Matters and their website.  Just be careful not to be sold anything you don’t need.


Exercise Metabolism and Bioenergetics (Boring)

Definitions of Exercise Metabolism

Bioenergetics – Study of energy in the human body

Metabolism – All chemical reactions that occur in the body to maintain itself. The process where nutrients are gathered, transported, used, and gotten rid of by the body.

Exercise Metabolism – the study of bioenergetics as it relates to special physiologic changes and demands placed on the body while exercising

Substrates – Material on which an enzyme acts. Protein, fats, carbs, are the main substrates the body uses to convert metabolic energy to be used for cellular activity and life.

Carbohydrate – Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen that include starches, cellulose, and sugars. Important source of energy and all are broken down into sugar by the body.

Glucose – A simple sugar made from carbs, fat, and some protein which serves as the bodies main fuel source.

Glycogen – Complex carb molecule stored in the liver and muscle cells.  When energy is needed it can be broken down into glucose.

Fat – Help body use some vitamins and keeps skin healthy.  Serves as energy stores.  Saturated and unsaturated.

Triglycerides – Chemical or substrate which all fat exists in the body and food.

Protein – Amino acids linked by peptide bonds hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and usually sulfur.

Gluconeogenesis –  Creation of glucose from non carb sources like amino acids.

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – Energy storage and transfer unit within the body. Used for immediate cellular energy.

Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) – A high energy compound in which ATP is formed.

B-oxidation – The breakdown of triglycerides into smaller subunits called free fatty acids which proceed into acyl-Coa and then get into the Krebs cycle and convert to ATP

Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption – the bodies metabolism is elevated after exercise.


The Cardio System (Boring info)


Atria are small superiorly located chambers on both sides of the heart.  They collect blood being pumped back into the heart as a reservoir.

The right atrium gathers deoxygenated blood coming in from the rest of the body.

The left atrium gathers oxygenated blood coming in from the lungs.

Below the atria are ventricles.  The right ventricle collects the deoxygenated blood from the right atria and pumps it into the lungs to get oxygenated.  It then goes into the left atria which transfers it into the left ventricle.  The left ventricle which has thicker walls and pumps at a high pressure sends the blood out to the rest of the body.

Blood is an important supporter of the human body by transporting oxygen, nutrients, waste products, and hormones to organs and tissues. Carries heat from the body.  Regulates body temp and acid balance. and protects body from bleeding by clotting, and has immune cells to help fight off disease.

Arteries – Vessels that transport blood away from the heart.

Structures of the Respiratory Pump

Bones – Sternum, Ribs, Vertebrae

Muscles Inspiration – Diaphragm, external intercostals, scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, pecs minor

Expiration – Internal costals, abdominals


Basic Exercise Science (Boring Stuff)

  • What is the human movement system (kinetic chain)
  • Basic functions and structures of the nervous, skeletal, muscular, and endocrine system
  • How these systems adapt and respond to exercise

Human Movement

Movement is made possible by the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems.  They must work together to create movement.  All three are known as the kinetic chain.

If one system in the kinetic chain is not working properly it will affect the entire system.  Think of a car.  If it has a flat tire you won’t be able to drive correctly.

Nervous System:

A main organ system that consists of a network of specialized cells (neurons) that communicate signals within the body.

There are two parts;

  1. Central Nervous System (CNS) - Just nerves and connects the brain and spinal cord. Functions to coordinate activity of all body parts.
  2. Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) – Connects the CNS to the rest of the body using 12 cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves that branch out, along with sensory receptors.

Three main functions of nervous system:

  1. Sensory function – sense changes in internal or external environment. A stretched muscle would be internal and walking on sand external
  2. Integrative function – Interpret the data to allow it to figure out what to do
  3. Motor function – Response to the sensory information

The nervous system functions with learned movement patterns, and makes sure every organ in the body is functioning.

Proprioception – The bodies ability to sense its positioning.

It is important to train with the proper form and learned patterns.  This will enhance movement and performance while decreasing risk of injury. Improving balance coordination, posture, and the way the body adapts to environment.

Neuron – The functional unit of the nervous system that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals. Neurons form the core of the nervous system including the brain/spinal cord (CNS) and peripheral ganglia (PNS basically). Many neurons are formed together to make up the nerves of the body.

Three main neurons:

  1. Sensory neurons – Sense light, sound, touch, etc to the brain and spinal cord
  2. Interneurons – Transmit nerve impulses from one neuron to another
  3. Motor neurons – Transmit nerve impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the effector ( The term effector is used in other fields of biology. For instance, the effector end of a neuron is the terminus where an axon makes contact with the muscle or organ that it stimulates or suppresses) sites like glands or muscles

Myelin sheath is what wraps the neurons and allows proper communications. This can be damaged and rebuilt with proper food choices.  There is also more research on stressing the brain with thought exercises can help as well.  I will add a post on this.

Mechanoreceptor – A sensory receptor that converts info to the brain and spinal cord to produce a response based on touch and pressure. Located in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules along with muscle spindles, golgi tendon organs, and also joint receptors.

Muscle Spindles – Parallel with muscle fibers an sense change in length of muscle to protect from over stretching etc.

Golgi Tendon Organs – Sense rate of change in muscle.  Located where the muscle fiber inserts into bone. Will make a muscle relax if it has too much stress.

Joint receptors – Located around the joint capsule and react to deceleration, acceleration, and pressure.  Help prevent extreme joint positions.

These three play a big role in flexibility training.

When training the beginning performance improvements are just from the nervous system learning how to deal with the exercise movements.  Think of slack lining and how a leg shakes at first.  You get improvement as the nervous system learns how to stabilize the leg.  The movements become smoother, more accurate, which leads to performance improvement.

Skeletal System

Skeletal System – The framework of the body which is composed of joints and bones.

Bones – Provide a resting ground for muscles and protects organs.

Joints – Junctions of muscles, bones, and connective tissue where movement happens (articulation).

Axial skeleton – Rib cage, skull and vertebral column.

Appendicular skeleton – Includes upper and lower extremities.

Throughout life bone is constantly being renewed through remodeling.  Old bone is removed by osteoclasts and new bone is formed with osteoblasts. Bone mass building usually peaks around someones 30s. It also responds to stress.  So it is important not to be stressing the bone in the wrong way, or it could lead to improper posture, etc.

Remodeling – The resorption and formation of bone.

Osteoclasts – A bone cell that removes bone tissue.

Osteoblasts – A cell responsible for bone formation.

Epiphysis – End of long bones made of cancellous bone, to hold marrow for red cell production.  Also locations for bone growth.

Diaphysis – Shaft portion of the bone that is hollow and good for support.

Epiphysis plate – Region of long bone connecting the two above.

Periosteum – A membrane that wraps all bone

Medullary Cavity – Runs down the center of the diaphysis and contains a yellow marrow made up of adipose tissue and serves as a energy reserve.

Articular Cartilage – Cover the end of articulating bones.

Depressions – Flattened or indented portions of the bone which can be muscle attachment sites.

Processes – Projections protruding from the bone where muscles, tendons, and ligaments can attach.

Arthokinematics – Joint motion

Synovial Joints – Joints that are held together by a joint capsule and ligaments and are associated with movement in the body.

Nonsynovial Joints – Don’t have a joint cavity.  Like the skull versus one that does like the knee.

Joints allow motion and stability in the body.  All are linked together and when one joint moves it affects the motion of others.  It is the premise behind the kinetic chain movement. So each joint needs to be working properly for optimal movement.

Ligament – Primary connective tissue that connects bones together and helps stabilize, along with inputs to the nervous system, guidance and limitation of improper joint movement. Primarily made up of collagen with some elastin in them.

Ligaments have poor blood flow and take longer to heal.  This becomes important when factoring in recovery rates in program design from high intensity exercise.

Weight bearing training is better than cardio training for building and maintaining healthy bones.

The Muscular System

The muscular system is a series of muscles that move the skeleton.

Epimysium – Layer of connective tissue that is under the fascia and surrounds muscle

Perimysium – Connective tissue that surrounds the muscle

Endomysium – Deepest layer of connective tissue that surrounds individual muscle fibers.

Tendons – Connective tissue that attach muscle to bone and provide an anchor for muscles to produce force.

Tendons also do not have good blood flow along with ligaments.  Important to take into account for recovery  needed.

Sarcomere – Functional unit of muscle that produces muscular contraction and consists of repeating sections of actin and myosin.

Actin is the thin filament and myosin is thick filament.

Neural activation – Contraction of a muscle by neural stimulation. The CNS talks to the muscle.

Motor unit – A motor neuron and all the muscle fibers it connects to.

Neurotransmitters – Chemical messengers that cross the neuromuscular junction (synapse) to transmit electrical impulses from the nerve to the muscle.

Muscle Fiber Types

  1. Type 1 (slow twitch)
  • More capillaries, mitochondria (transform energy from food to ATP), and myoglobin (allows improved delivery of oxygen found in red blood cells)
  • Smaller in size
  • Less force produced
  • Slow to fatigue
  • Long term contractions (stabilization)
  • Slow twich

2. Type 2 (fast twitch)

  • Fewer capillaries, mitochondria (transform energy from food to ATP), and myoglobin (allows improved delivery of oxygen found in red blood cells)
  • Decreased oxygen delivery
  • Larger in size
  • More force produced
  • Quick to fatigue
  • Short-term contractions
  • Fast twitch

Muscles as Movers 

Agonist – Prime movers – pecs, delts, lats, glutes, quads

Synergist – Assist primer movers – anterior delt, triceps, posterior delts, biceps, hamstrings

Stabilizer – Stabilize while prime mover and synergist work – rotator cuff, transverses abdominis

Antagonist – Oppose prime mover – posterior delt while chest press, lat dorsi while overhead press, pecs while rowing, psoas while squatting

Endocrine system – secrets hormones through hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands through the bloodstream.

Blood glucose is regulated by the pancreas.  After a meal when blood glucose rises insulin is secreted to lower back to normal.  On the other hand if it needs to be raises glucagon is released.








The Rest of Your Life Question

This comes from Dan Sullivan who has been working with business owners for over 40 years now.   Dan wondered what seperated someone who built a large successful enterprise versus a small few man operation.

What he found was that the enterprises where just extensions of the owners unique ability.

They followed that unique ability because it was their passion and found the right people to serve.  It all starts with the list.

How does one start down this path?  Here is some advice from Dan on Huffington Post:

Passion: What do you really love to do and do extraordinarily well? You would do this for free, and if you did it for the rest of your life, you would be constantly motivated, fascinated, and improving.

Hero: Who do you really want to be a hero to? What group of people would you most like to work with and help over the next 25 years?

Multiplier: Which of your capabilities, situations, and relationships have the possibility of growing, not just incrementally, but exponentially? Big games are much more motivating and attractive for everyone.

Imagine that all of your experiences so far are Stage 1 of your life and career, and now you’re creating Stage 2. What belongs in Stage 2? I encourage you to use 25 years as your horizon, so you have some time to create something really big and exciting (including the version of you that’s going to be here 25 years from now making this all happen). Your filters are Passion, Hero, and Multiplier – identify the opportunities that satisfy all three and forget about all the others. They’re just “stuff.”

With these three filters as a guide, you can begin to construct a vision for 2014 as the beginning of a permanently exciting, engaging, and focused 25-year future.


Here is an example of a rock climber Conrad Anker (article) I came across today that embodies passion for what he does.  The conclusion of the article:

“But what he really instilled in me during our first day on rock together was what it means to find something you love, and to do it every day.”

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From Conrad’s website :

“I’ve learned that these things—my family, my passion for climbing and for being a force for good in the local community and in the larger community—are the source of happiness for me,” he says. “I know that life will keep changing and keep throwing new challenges my way, but my intent is always to embrace them and explore them and find a way to turn them into an experience that’s rewarding. Even when we’re suffering, whether it’s in the mountains or because of something going on at home, trying situations are a way to understand our human condition. You have to try to rise above the adversity. I like doing that.”