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The Running Company

At Emperor Fitness we know how crucial it is to own a good pair of shoes to train in. Time and time again we’ve observed recurring niggles, aches and pains in people that wear generic footwear, rather than something appropriate for their foot and ankle.
I’d personally love to wear “minimal” training shoes everytime I train, but I know that with my body I need a more stable and supportive shoe to run longer distances without pain.

If, like millions of others, you have any sort of irregularity with your foot, ankle, knee, hips or lower back, you need to be training in a shoe that is specifically designed to support you, a alleviate undue pain and stress on your joints, ligaments and muscles.
Training is pointless if you’re only slowly degrading your body to point where you won’t be able to run, jump, squat or even walk without discomfort.

Our friends at The Running Company will take the time to observe the tread of your foot and prescribe you a shoe that will give you the support you’ll need to train safely and effectively.
Check out their website and pop in to have a chat, they are an awesome team that are super passionate about what they do.

http://www.therunningcompany.com.au/

Help Us Raise Money and Awareness for LIVIN

Mental illness is something very close to us at Emperor Fitness and we really want to do something to help out and we need your help too.
We have teamed up with the charity LIVIN who are doing incredible work breaking down the stigma that surrounds mental health in Australia.
Over the month of April, Dave and myself will endeavour to deadlift an accumulated total of 100 tonnes of weight. To make it more challenging we are putting the restriction on it that we can’t count any lifts under 160kg. This is going to be a hard month of training but something we are really wanting to achieve.
We NEED your support in the form of donations for LIVIN so they can continue doing their wonderful work.
All donations can be given a receipt for tax purposes. No donation too small and certainly not too large.
Inbox us for details on how to donate.
Visit livin.org.au for more information on this hugely important initiative.

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Meal Tip of the Week: Spinach and Tomato Omelette

With all the constant talk in the media about super foods, it gets confusing to figure out what foods actually are that good. There’s one that stands to us as the ultimate food source. Eggs. They are packed full of goodness containing a long list of vitamins and minerals. They are high in protein and are also a great source of omega 3′s which protect against heart disease and autoimmune disorders.
There’s many ways to cook eggs but one of our favourites is in a very simple omelette with spinach and tomato.

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Ingredients
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped baby spinach
- 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes
- 1 Table spoon of water
- 1 Table spoon of butter
- Salt and pepper

- Put 2 eggs, water, and salt and pepper into a mixing bowl and lightly whisk until well combined.

- Using a non stick pan melt the butter on a medium heat until sizzling.

- Pour the eggs into the hot pan and tilt until the mixture covers the base. Using a spatula gently lift and stir the mixture until the base starts to set (the top should remain slightly runny).

- Once the base is golden, add the spinach and tomato with a pinch more salt and fold half the omelette over the other. Allow to cook for another 45 seconds or so then gently serve onto a plate.

The preparation time for this meal is about 5 minutes and cooking time about 3 minutes so it makes for a perfect hit of nutrients to start your day or any other meal you choose. Enjoy.

Why Girls Need To Lift

The words “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to look like a body builder” are spoken far too often by females at training sessions everywhere.
To put it bluntly, this isn’t going to happen.
Being a female you are naturally short on the muscle building hormone, testosterone. The small amount that females produce makes it very hard to pack on muscle mass the way your male counterparts do.
Now you have this knowledge and assurance, you should be lifting weights no matter what your goal is. The benefits of resistance training run far and wide for females.

- Increased muscle mass promotes fat burning through a higher metabolic rate.

- You’ll increase your bone density lowering the risk of osteoperosis.

- Most importantly you’ll feel better about yourself.

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Don’t go lifting only light weights either, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t work up to lifting heavy loads on a gradual level of progression.
Aim for 10-12 reps with the last few being a real battle. Once that becomes easy, it’s time to increase the weight.
So here are the rules.
You want to lose weight? LIFT WEIGHTS!
You want more energy? LIFT WEIGHTS!
You want to be healthier? LIFT WEIGHTS!

If you need any advice or a personalised resistance program, head to our contact page and we’ll be more than happy to help out.

How to Squat

A lot of basic movements are not as “basic” as they may seem. A lot of bread and butter exercises that we regularly have our clients perform at Emperor Fitness group classes require a strict adherence to technique, which is precisely why we don’t like to rush through our workouts in a traditional CrossFit style. Many exercises that you see being done for speed are more effective when done a touch slower, with more focus on engagement of the target muscle groups as well as controlled and consistent engagement of areas like the core and scapula to protect your body and maintain your posture.
Today we want to talk about the Squat, one of the most important exercises (second only after the deadlift) and also one of the most difficult to perform safely and effectively.

Squats are one exercise that is still often performed incorrectly, even by trainers and athletes. It’s a simple movement at face value, but there is a host of technique points to keep in mind when performing a safe and effective squat.

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If you are using a barbell you have a choice of positioning the bar higher on the upper-back, at the base of the neck. This is the position favoured by bodybuilders because having the bar further away from the apex of the movement creates a slightly greater range of motion, which places the muscle fibres under tension for longer.
A weightlifter/powerlifter would usually opt for the lower bar position, sitting it on the upper back, using the posterior deltoids as a cradle. This position, while difficult to adjust to at first, grants you the potential for far more strength and power and, as we know, the more weight you can lift with good from and in great volume, the greater the response from the body. The low bar position requires a certain level of mobility too, which must be earned.

Hand placement is usually subjective, with some lifters opting to place their hands at the very ends of the bar. However, for core and posterior chain stability, placing your hands closer to your body helps you lock in your upper back, creating a more solid torso.

Foot placement is also dependant on your body type, your goal and any injury or immobility to you may have. For maximum range of motion, placing your feet just outside shoulder width, with your toes angled only very slightly outward will allow for maximum range. Placing your feet wider with the toes pointed out on a greater angle, also known as a Sumo stance, will place greater emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteals but will limit the range of motion, which can be more ideal for powerlifters.

When you begin the movement, whether you have a barbell on your back, or are holding a barbell, kettle bell or medball at the front you must stand with your hips locked and straight, chest high and eyes looking forward.
If you have barbell on your back, as in a traditional squat, force your elbows forward to raise your chest. If you are attempting a heavy weight, take a huge breath in, expand your ribcage and hold the breath.
Squeeze your core in as tight as you can.
As soon as you stick your butt out to unlock the hips you must begin your descent. Imagine you are moving to sit on a very low chair, sticking your butt out and placing a lot of weight on the heel of the foot. This will ensure your knees don’t travel too far forward over your toes and place undue pressure on the knees. Keeping your chest high and shoulders pinned back as you descend will ensure that your spine stays straight, and doesn’t round.

Descend until your hip has passed the heigh of your knees, keeping your head up, elbows forward and midsection locked in as tight as possible. Then apply force from the heel, up through your hamstrings and into your glutes and push upward. As you push up, apply force through your upper back, shoulders and arms too – remember the squat is a whole body movement, not just a leg exercise.
As you ascend force your knees outward slightly, this will help engage your glutes.

As you reach the top of the movement force your hips forward and lock them, squeezing your hamstrings and butt as tight as you can.

Be sure to not let the weight shift onto the toes, and when you push up avoid favouring the front of the foot. On top of knee stress this will also radically shift your weight forward, completely sabotaging the concentric part of the movement, and puts you at risk of losing balance completely.

Never let your eyes drop – if you look down, your head will soon follow and your shoulders after that. You must performing as squat like you are being held up by a puppeteer.

Mastering the squat is one of the most important things you can do, whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle or just improve your strength and athletic ability. Mastering the mind-muscle connection during a squat will make it much easier to do on other movements and once you are truly engaging and isolating your target muscle groups during these compound movements your training and your physique will improve by leaps and bounds.

If it’s your first time squatting, start with little to no weight and perform the reps very slowly and in high volume. If you are an experienced exerciser, apply these points to your current squat and observe the improvement in the connection and engagement you have with you entire body.

For more information of training, nutrition and all things fitness, visit out homepage!

ARTICLES

3 Ways To Break Through A Training Plateau

So you’ve been training for a while and you have had some good results to date. You’re feeling stronger, moving better, maybe lost some excess kilograms, life is essentially better. You are officially in the exercise honeymoon period. As wonderful as this time is, it will always come to an end. Results will become far less frequent and progress will slow. The zest for getting out and training will dim and it will become more of a chore. This is a cycle that every exerciser will go through at one stage or another. Fear not though as there are a few highly successful ways to continue on your path without as many slow periods.

1. Progressive Overload

No matter your style of training, if you’re not increasing the load or intensity, your body will adapt to that level of effort and will no longer be forced to change to keep up. If you are regularly making your body work harder in small increments, it doesn’t have time to plateau as it’s always trying to improve so it can handle the rigours of your next workout.

New to Emperor Fitness? Get a month of FREE training on us!

2. Periodised Training

So many people give 110% everyday of every week for really long periods of time. While some people get away with it, most people will find they become lethargic and more often than not, injured. Putting timelines on your training can be highly effective. A simple example would be to train incredibly hard for 6 weeks then have 1 week of a lighter load. You don’t need to have an entire week of rest, just a week of lower intensity training.

3. Variation in Training

In the same way that progressively overloading your muscles works, varying what they are doing will shock your muscles and force them to try and adapt. It doesn’t have to be massive changes either. If you always run sprints of 100 metres, try lengthening them out to 150 metres for a while. Trick your body by changing things up regularly. If you always do the same thing you’ll never get a change.

Try any of these options if you feel you’ve hit a bit of a plateau and I’m sure they’ll go along way to getting you back in the direction you’re after.

New to Emperor Fitness? Get a month of FREE training on us!

The Simplest Guide to Weight Training for Beginners

Starting out at a gym or beginning a new exercise routine can be a daunting task for a lot of people. Some questions I’m frequently asked are:

  1. Where do I begin?
  2. What exercises should I be doing?
  3. How much weight should I be lifting?

These questions, plus a heap more, are very hard to answer for most people.

So let’s try and clear that up a little.

Where Do I Start As A Beginner To Weight Training?

First and foremost, the question you need to ask yourself is, “what do I want to get out of training?”

Are you looking to improve health? Increase strength? Lose weight?

These objectives will have an influence on what you need to be doing as you progress.

The other part of this stage is accessing what exercises your body/mobility will allow you to do. This is where a training session can be a good first step, as they can run you through some screening. Ultimately, this assists training to suit your body type and achieve results in a shorter period of time.

Find out if a training session is for you with our FREE 15 minute evaluation.

If you don’t go down the route of getting a trainer, it’s important to extensively research training techniques, and also to listen to what your body is telling you when you try an exercise.

Which Weight Exercises Should Beginners Do?

Assuming you’ve found you mobility to be extensive, the number one thing all beginners (and long term users, for that matter) to resistance training should be doing are compound movements. A compound movement is an exercise that recruits multiple muscle groups. Squats, overhead presses and bent over rows are examples of these.

Movements like these will give you far more bang for your buck than isolation exercises such as bicep curls, as you’re training more muscles in a shorter period of time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to throw some isolation exercises in at the end of a workout, but the main focus should be compound movements.

The other thing to remember is to train what is hard, don’t avoid it. People tend to find an exercise they’re good at, and overtrain that muscle it as a result. This lets other areas slip behind. Train everything regularly.

How Much Weight Should Beginners Lift?

This is something that is completely different for everyone. Pay no attention to how much someone else can lift, because lifting too much too early can cause injury.

They best way to find your weight is to start light and work your way up.

I use the following steps when I’m working with people who are new to weight training:

  1. Start with a weight you can do an easy 15 reps on
  2. Next set, increase the weight and do 12, which should be a bit tougher.
  3. Then, go up slightly and aim for 10-12 reps with the last 4 being fairly intense.

Just remember, you DON’T have to be the strongest person in the gym on your first session. Start light and work your way up.

Find out if a training session is for you with our FREE 15 minute evaluation.

HOW TO APPROACH WEIGHT TRAINING IN A GROUP CLASS

If you’re a regular at Emperor Fitness classes you already know that we love weight training and we firmly believe that no matter what your goals, the majority of the time resistance training should be a priority. But it’s important to understand how and why you should be lifting weights in a group class.

For the sake of shocking your body into constantly adapting we will always be mixing up the style of resistance training. Sometimes we focus on high volume (lots and lots of reps at moderate weight), sometimes we focus on time under tension (holding, pausing and super slow reps) sometimes we focus on power (explosive movements, heavy weight) but combined all these techniques are working toward the same things: building lean muscle, building strength, power and endurance and boosting your metabolism.

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Here are some important things to remember when you pick up a kettlebell, dumbbell or barbell in one of our classes:

- it’s vital to make a mind-muscle connection. As you lift the weight, envision the target muscle stretching out and then contracting. Try to feel it happening. When doing a row or upright right, really focus on the muscles in your upper back broadening and shortening as you work through the reps. This is absolutely vital.
Unless the trainer tells you specifically to perform the reps at speed, do them at a steady pace with a focus on the engagement of your muscles.
If you’re unsure which muscle you are supposed to be targeting with a movement, just ask the trainer!

- your posture and positioning is crucial. If your knee, hip, shoulder or lower back is hurting then you may have set up incorrectly. Take your time when setting your feet, engaging your core and pulling your shoulders back. Not only will bad positioning cause problems and pain, but you won’t be able to effectively target the muscles and get that mind-muscle connections.

- it’s important to pick a weight that actually challenges you and pushes you to the point of muscular failure. If you get to the end of a circuit station and feel like you could easily do another 10 reps you’ve either chosen a weight that is too light or your range of motion has been too small.
If you are using a weight that is maybe a little too light, focusing on the squeeze and stretch can make a 5kg kettlebell feel like a 20kg kettebell in no time. If it’s not hard, make it hard!

- If we are doing explosive sets, be explosive! When performing something like a Kettlebell Swing our main goal is to boost your metabolism and build explosive power while developing the key movers like the glutes, core and upper back/shoulders. You need to attack these reps, not do them in a laboured or lazy fashion. The majority of the time when you pick a kettlebell up for a set o swings and decide “nope, that will be way too heavy. I better grab a lighter one” – it probably isn’t! You’ll be amazed at how much you can lift if you ATTACK the reps. Get angry and lift that weight!

If you have any questions regarding weight training the team at Emperor Fitness is always here to help. For more information head to our blog!

Should You Always Be Sore?

We all love being sore after a workout, and if you don’t love it you should! It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you’ve pushed yourself, put your body through its paces and forced it to make changes. But as satisfying as the feeling of soreness is, it’s not actually indicative of how hard you’ve trained or how much your muscles are likely to grow and your body improve as a result.
What I’m saying is: don’t beat yourself up or feel short changed if you’re not hobbling around the office the day after every session!

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The big misconception is that how sore you are directly correlates to how much you have damaged your muscle fibres. Of course, “damaging” muscle fibres is in essence exactly what we’re aiming to do when we are training for hypertrophy (muscular development). Resistance training causes micro-tears in the muscle and with recovery and the right amount of nutrients your body patches up the muscle fibres to be denser and larger.
But how sore your muscles get from training is not a sign of how much damage you’ve done to them but rather how conditioned the pain receptors IN your muscles are. The more frequently you smash yourself, the less sore you’re going to be. You’ll still have days of agony, but they won’t happen all the time.

I’ve got clients and friends that have literally never, ever had been sore in certain body parts yet they have grown and strengthened consistently with every other part of their body. I myself have had sore shoulders maybe three times in my entire training career, yet they have taken shape and grown more than any other muscle on my body.
You would be hard pressed to find a sprinter or a competitive cyclist that gets super sore legs on a regular basis, just like most professional rowers would seldom get cripplingly sore lats and arms.

Soreness is great, but it’s not the be all and end all. You should be proud of sore muscles, but you shouldn’t curse yourself for being able successfully get up and down from the toilet after leg day.

Dave