Powerlifting consists of three exercises. The squat, the deadlift and bench press. Most CrossFit coaches and Personal Trainers believe these core movements to be the base from which all great movements can grow. Gaining strength in the squat, the deadlift and bench press will build the foundation for increasing bone density, improving speed and positively affecting the body's engine or metabolism.
Building a strong base is essential for all movements, especially dynamic movements such as the Olympic Lifts (the clean, the snatch and the jerk) that one commonly sees in a CrossFit class or workout. Technique aside, a person doesn't move up to any significant load (weight) on any of these lifts without having a strong squat or deadlift. The majority of power for an Olympic Lift is generated through the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and glutes. Heavy squats and deadlifts are essential in building strength in these areas. The bench press has the same effect but on the opposite end of the body. Focusing on the chest, shoulders and triceps, gains in the bench press are essential for strength in pressing and overhead movements.
Powerlifting should not be limited to workouts in the gym. Our personal trainers have many clients who wish to improve their activities outside of the gym as well. For example, one member competes in numerous races in Los Angeles throughout the year and was hoping to finish with better times than she had previously. Her personal trainer had her build strength in her legs through sets of heavier squats and deadlifts which resulted in her demolishing her previous scores. Her speed improved immensely as well as her ability to maintain a faster pace for a longer distance.
The squat, the deadlift and bench press are not the end-all-be-all movements for building a strong base. There are many other strength building exercises out there in the fitness world that have positive benefits and effects. But establishing a sturdy foundation of strength is beneficial to any fitness-related goal, from building muscle, to burning fat and losing weight.
It's the age old battle that seems to ramp up every January when resolutions are in excess and motivation is in overdrive. I want to lose weight. I want build muscle. I want to be fit. Listed below are a few fail safe methods for sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
1. CLEAN EATING
Most experts will tell you time and again that an extremely important element of maintaining a healthy body weight relies on what we put into our mouths. The word diet usually means a prison sentence to most people so let's just call it a new and improved way to look at food. The term clean eating has made quite a splash within the fitness community with it's focus on eating lean proteins, good fats and fiber rich vegetables. Cutting back on simple carbohydrates (starches) and sugar rich foods is a must when trying to achieve optimal health and wellness. The USDA defines lean proteins as having less than 10 grams of total fat per a 3.5 ounce serving. Some good examples would be the white meat from a chicken, most types of fish (also rich in omega-3 fatty acids) and cuts of beef that meet the standards for lean meat. Unsaturated fats when eaten in moderation can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Some of the best unsaturated fats are avocados, walnuts, and olive oil. Substituting unsaturated fats for processed carbohydrates will lower insulin levels. They can also quell your appetite, cutting the amount of calories you eat per day, while improving your metabolism. Fiber rich vegetables or whole carbohydrates are unprocessed and contain the fiber found naturally in the food. Some fabulous whole carbohydrate options are broccoli, spinach, green leafy lettuce, apples, berries, yams and sweet potatoes. If you switch to a clean eating regiment, you can lose up to 10 lbs in one week. The members at our West Los Angeles gym noticed significant changes in their bodies after they cleaned up their eating habits.
2. Calories In vs. Calories Out
Once you adopt a clean eating regiment into your daily routine, you will automatically cut your calorie intake. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you limit your calorie consumption by 500 per day, in 7 days you will have lost a pound of fat. It is pretty simple math. What is not simple is the fact that different foods can have different effects on the body. Only focusing on the calorie content of foods and disregarding the metabolic effects of certain foods can be a disadvantage. All calories are not created equal. For example, a 100 calories of fructose (soda, candy, sweetened yogurt) will have completely different effects on the body than a 100 calories of lean protein. There is really no nutritional benefit from eating 100 calories of fructose so you are likely to stay hungry and eventually consume more calories. Therefore adopting a clean eating lifestyle will automatically reduce caloric intake and ensure beneficial effects on the body. A good personal trainer or nutrition coach can help you determine the most nutrient rich foods to include in your diet.
3. Strength training / Building Muscle
The human body burns more calories each day when you have more muscle mass. Image muscle as firewood, the more firewood you add the bigger the flame. When strength training, your body continues to burn calories during the reparation of damaged muscle tissue. That recovery process and increased fat burning can continue for 72 hours post workout. Cardiovascular training is essential for heart health and building endurance but when it pertains to losing weight you only burn the calories you expended during that period of training. A good CrossFit workout that includes strength exercises like a Squat, Deadlift or Strict Pull-Up could have you burning calories for up to three days post workout. Finding a knowledgeable personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach or CrossFit gym will optimize your fitness goals.
These three tips are integral for consistent weight loss and ideal health.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding hundreds of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.