Monday, August 1, 2011


The other day, someone  asked me "Hey Mark , you Incredible Fitness Warrior King, what is your favorite workout"? I said “well obviously BICEP CURLS”. Who doesn’t love big arms right? SIKE!!!!!! Really? Bicep curl? My favorite workout of all time is squats, although I did used to hate them in high school and college. I hated them because they took a toll on my body. It took all the energy I had for one simple movement. But now ask me why I love them. 

I love them because Squats are known to be the "King of All Exercises". It is considered to be the best exercise for improving quality of life because it uses multiple muscles in one movement. When performing a squat, you are activating more than 200 muscles in your body. The muscles that you are using releases testosterone and human growth hormones that help you gain muscle in the other areas of your body. What more can you ask for! We squat weather you know it or not. We sit and stand, pick up packages off the floor and even picking up your children. The true test of squatting is being in a public restroom and having to take a #2. While you’re sitting in that half squat position, because the toilet is nasty as hell and you don’t want your booty to touch that bowl, you’re actually engaging your booty, core, and quads. I bet you didn’t even know huh? Just imagine, the more squat workouts you perform, you’ll be able to hold that half squat position on the toilet longer. HAHA but I swear there are more benefits to squatting.

Benefits of Squatting:

• Injury prevention – If done correctly, squats can help with injury by strengthen the connective tissues. It’s used for treatments such as ligament injuries, pattellofemoral (patella) injuries, joint replacements, and ankle stability.
• Toning – Since you’re engaging almost 200 muscles in your body, squats are great for toning your body.
• Increasing Muscle – When performing a squat, your body releases anabolic growth hormones and testosterones into your body. This will help increase size strength and size to your upper body. Don’t worry ladies; you won’t look like a body builder if you perform squats.
• Athletic Performance – If you’re like me and still think you can make an NBA team, squats will help you get there. Okay maybe not for me since my age is considered the dinosaur era in basketball (sniff). But squats can help you with endurance training like long distance cycling, marathons, soccer, tennis, basketball, etc…Just about every sport I can think of requires lower body strength, endurance, agility and balance. The nerve fibers and connective tissue strengthens and will help in any sport you participate in. 

 Basic High Bar Squat
With this squat you will focus more on our quads.  You basically bring your feet about shoulder width apart and keep the bar high on your back.  Simply squat down by bringing your hips back first and focus your body weight on your heels.  As you come up, focus on pushing off your heels.  Make sure to pull in your belly into your spine and stand stall as you come up. 
A helpful hint to know if you're doing it correctly: Toes come off the floor.

 Sumo Squats
A sumo squat is different from your regular squats.  Sumo squats will help work the booty and hamstrings.  Bring your feet as wide as you can and point your toes out.  The bar will sit low on your back.  As bring your body down, slowly come down and lean slightly forward.  As you come up, concentrate on pushing your knees outward.  

Try to vary these squats during the week to see some gains and strength. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Make A Comeback and Reap the Benefits of FITNESS!!!

Guess whose back! Yep, that's right, after a year of absences from posting fitness tips and workouts, I thought it was time for Gym Etiquette to make a come back. Maybe A Tribe Called Quest can learn a lesson or two from my comeback or maybe not, but I really hope they do.

Anyways, since so much of us get into a rut from working out, I thought I'd share why working out can reap benefits for your health. Hopefully this will help you stay on the right track and don't stray away from it like you did in the past.

The Gym Etiquette staff writer, (which is me), suggests making physical activity a priority each week. I know we all have a busy work schedule, but maybe it's easier for you to workout during your lunch hour, or perhaps hitting the gym right after dinner is best for you. The key is to set aside specific days and times for exercise, making it just as much a regular part of your schedule as everything else. I actually have a friend who sets an alarm on his phone to remind him to eat or else he'll forget. That's actually a great idea. Remind yourself by setting an alarm so you know you'll be focused to work out at a certain time. Or maybe schedule it in your Outlook calendar so it pops up while you're working.  Pretty much, just make sure to remind yourself, so you get that body busy in the gym or wherever you choose to be active. 

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests doing moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or doing vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. ACSM also recommends doing eight to 10 strength-training exercises with eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

Remember that starting an exercise program is about more than just decreasing your waistline or getting washboard abs like the Gym Etiquette staff writer. Exercise improves your health. Check out these benefits:

• Physical activity can help stimulate various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out.

• Physical activity can help prevent or manage high blood pressure, cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

• Engaging in physical activity helps burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you will burn, helping to keep your weight under control.

• Exercise can boost your energy level by delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.