Category Archives: resistance training

Cardiovascular Workouts

There are 3 components in a comprehensive fitness plan.  They are: Cardiovascular exercise, Resistance Exercise, and Flexibility.  All 3 components have different risks, and injuries that can happen, but, fortunately, when a well thought out and intelligent approach is used following a fitness program is very safe.  Lets begin by discussing cardiovascular exercise and the best way to do it.

When you are doing cardio, you are trying to do 2 things.  #1 you are strengthening your heart, lungs, the rest of your cardiovascular system, and improving how your body utilizes oxygen.  #2-you are burning calories.  The key to your cardiovascular workouts is to do intervals.  Why intervals?  Let me use an example to illustrate.  Picture yourself driving down the freeway.  The speed limit is 70 and you’re crusin.  In terms of gas mileage you’re getting highway miles, right?  Your car is running efficiently, so it’s not using a lot of gas.  The same thing happens with YOUR body when you are doing cardio at a moderate, constant intensity.  Your body hits what is called your steady state heart rate.  This is where your body is running efficiently.  You’re up to speed and your crusin, generally, it’s a comfortable spot to be.  Training in this fashion is better than doing nothing, but there are better, smarter, more effective ways to spend your time exercising.  So if you were to go back to our theoretical drive down the highway and instead of crusin at 70 you were to speed up to 70, then slow down to 35, then speed up to 80 then slow down to 35 then speed up to 90, etc. you’d use a lot more gas right?  This is the perfect illustration to show why intervals are the smartest, most effective way to do the majority of your cardiovascular workouts.

For my next post, I will give some more specific information on how to use intervals to get the most out of the time you spend doing cardio.  The reality is that most people who exercise do too much cardio.  More on that in my next post, thanks for reading!

The Top 5 stupid things I see people doing at the gym

I know a lot about exercise, fitness, health, nutrition, and motivation,  I know my stuff!  It’s no wonder that when I go to the gym to workout I see people doing stupid stuff.  The scary thing I see is Personal Trainers doing stupid stuff with their clients.  If you ever see a Personal Trainer doing behind the neck pulldowns with a client, steer clear.  Some practices are more dangerous than others, and I’m trying to list the most common and dangerous things I see people doing at the gym.  Check it out!

1. The first stupid thing I see people doing at the gym is not dangerous, but it sure is a waste of time.  It is very common however.  It’s doing long duration, moderate to low intensity cardio in the belief that it burns more fat because if you up the intensity you’re only burning sugar.  Hogwash!  Only do 1 long duration (40+ minutes) workout per week, and do 2-3 moderate duration (20-30 minutes), moderate to high intensity cardio workouts per week.

2. Using too much weight or not enough weight.  Men generally use too much weight, and women don’t use enough.  Never sacrifice proper form to complete repetitions, doing so is asking for injuries.  You do need to push yourself though.  Keep track of your repetitions and try to do a few more reps each workout.

3. Not warming up.  All it takes is 5-10 minutes of cardio to warm-up which will greatly decrease the chances of injuring yourself.  Always warm-up prior to resistance training, stretching, and doing any type of high impact activity, believe me, your joints will thank you in the long run.

4. Doing pointless isolation exercises-some isolation exercises (exercises that primarily work only 1 muscle group) have merit for various reasons, examples are: rotator cuff exercises, transverse abdominis contractions, calf raises, and rear delt exercises.  Instead of wasting your precious time on isolation exercises such as bicep curls, and tricep extensions, make the most of the time you spend resistance training and train the big, functional muscles.  This requires doing compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, pull-ups, and push-ups.

5. Doing too much when beginning a program.  Making yourself so sore that life is, quite literally, miserable is no fun and pointless.  Excess soreness is associated with high dropout rates, so it is best to avoid it.  Start slow, do higher reps, work on your form, and only do 1 to 2 sets per exercise for the first few weeks.

It is always important to remember that if you hurt yourself while working out, you won’t be able to workout.  If you can’t workout, you won’t reach your goals.  Be smart, and avoid these mistakes and you will be on your way to leading a injury free healthy lifestyle.


Top 5 exercises to do at home

While it’s nice, and recommended, to have a gym membership it’s not a necessity if you want to be more active.  There are plenty of exercises you can do with little to no equipment.  Here is a list of the Top 5

1. Some type of Squat-there are a variety of options, and ANYONE can do them.  You can do wall sits (lean up against a wall, squat down as far as you feel comfortable and hold), sumo squats (just squat down and hold it), standing squats (put your hands behind your head), chair/couch squats (just sit down and stand up, and dumbbells squats where you place the dumbbell between your feet.  Start with 1-2 sets and try to do a little more each workout (do squatting exercises 1-2X per week)

2. Walk you Stairs-a great way to get in some cardio and work your legs.  Start at the bottom and walk up, then down your stairs.  That’s one trip.  Keep going until you are winded.  Keep track of your time and how many trips you took.  You can try to go faster (be careful), or you can add trips as your cardio improves.  I do stairs with ALL of my in-home clients.

3. Push-ups-a simple easy exercise you can do anywhere.  You can do wall push-ups, knees down push-ups, or knees up push-ups depending on your upper body strength.  Perfect Push-ups are highly recommended when you are doing push-ups (go to for Perfect Push-ups) because they take a considerable amount of pressure off of your wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

4. Pull-ups-this is the only exercise that requires equipment.  I recommend a removable doorway pull-up bar (go to for doorway pull-up bars).  Most people aren’t capable of doing a full pull-up.  You will have to use a chair or bench to do your pull-ups.  Your legs will assist.  Shoot for 10-15 reps.

5. Planks-No list of exercises to do at home is complete without abdominal exercises, and planks are the bomb.  Most people will have to start out with a front plank.  You can make it harder by using a exercise ball or balance disc’s (go to for both), and by doing a side plank.  Planks are among the best and safest abdominal exercises you can do and require no equipment.

There you have it.  You don’t have to go to the gym and deal with driving, parking, waiting for equipment, and confusing contracts.  You also don’t have to spend a ton of money on a home gym.  The only piece of equipment you really need (to work all the major muscle groups) is a removable doorway pull-up bar, and there are plenty of pieces of exercise equipment that you can get for cheap.  If you’d like to learn more, please send me an e-mail at ian@BodyBalanceHealthy Living, I’m here to help!

Top 5 exercises you can do in your motel room

Not all motels have stairs or workout facilities, so at times you may have to resort to working out in your motel room.  Here are the Top 5 exercise you can do in your motel room.

  1. Wall sits-sit on the wall and see how long you can hold out for (time it).  Lower yourself down as far as you feel comfortable (don’t go below parallel) and be sure that you have stepped far enough out so your knees aren’t over your toes.  Do 2-4 sets.
  2. Sumo Squats-take a little wider than shoulder width stance, and squat down as far as you can (don’t go below parallel) and hold it.  Once again, make sure that your knees aren’t over your toes.  If they are, try to concentrate on dropping your butt straight down as you lower yourself and not forward.  Do 2-4 sets.
  3. Push-ups-push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises you can do.  There are three types of push-ups so anyone can do them.  You can do wall push-ups, knees down push-ups and knees up push-ups.  If you have wrist or shoulder problems, try bringing a set of perfect push-ups with you.
  4. Front or side plank-The front and side plank are among the best and safest ab exercises you can do.  For a side plank (which is harder than the front plank) you prop yourself up on your side with your elbow and the side of your foot.  If your shoulders are weak, you may feel them when doing a side plank.  Stop if you feel it more in your shoulders than your abs.  The front plank is easier on the shoulders, lie flat on the floor and prop yourself up on your elbows and toes.  Keep your butt down, you want your body to be a straight line.
  5. Marching or jogging in place-2-5 minutes of marching or jogging in place is a great way to either warm up for resistance exercises or get in a little cardio.  If you’re looking to get in some cardio, try marching or jogging in place for 1-5 minutes, rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 2-5 sets.

There you have it, no excuses, even if the hotel you are at doesn’t have any fitness equipment, you can still exercise and reap the benefits of it

Rochester, Mn Personal Trainer

If you have been looking for a personal trainer in the Rochester Area please contact me at 507-313-0248 or e-mail me at: ian@BodyBalance  My name is Ian Finch and I run Body Balance Healthy Living, and personal training is what we do best.  I have been certified thru ACE (American Council on Exercise) for over 10 years.  I’m experienced, professional and good at what I do.  Whatever your fitness goals are, I can help.  I’ve trained a variety of different clients, from people who just want to exercise and be more active to athletes who want to improve their performance.  However, the vast majority of my clients are looking to lose weight and improve their health.  Many of my clients have been told by their doctor that they need to exercise more and eat better.  If you have high blood pressure, are diabetic or pre-diabetic, have high cholesterol, have heart disease, or any other disease that allows you to exercise, you should contact me.  I’ll get you set up on a comprehensive fitness program, and train you as often as you would like (generally 2X per week is recommended).  It starts with a consultation which is free and there is no obligation, just call and we’ll schedule the consultation.  Lastly, I train most of my clients in the comfort of their homes and no equipment is necessary.

So if you’re looking for an experienced, professional personal trainer, please contact me, I’d love to help.