Swim For Improved Heart Health

By Todd M. Cambio | August 26, 2014

Swimming has been known as a great way to exercise for many years. The benefits include physical fitness and excellent cardio conditioning. But swimming also provides an excellent way to improve heart health, allowing a person to have a strenuous workout without stressing their heart. How does that work?

Lowered heart rate in the water. Heart rates in the water stay around 13% lower than on land – about 17 beats per minute lower. There are a number of theories about why this occurs, including the lessened impact of gravity, and the cool temperature of the water. The net effect for the swimmer is that they can exert the same effort as on land, but the heart has to work less. Over time, going for a swim will keep a person healthy, while helping their heart stay in better shape. Here are some more resources with additional information:

The heart works better. Any muscle you work out will get stronger, and that includes the heart. Swimming provides an aerobic workout, which makes the heart pump more efficiently, leading to improved blood flow to the rest of the body. That benefit affects the rest of the body, because the better blood flow means improved circulation, better breathing and lower blood pressure.

Lowered risk of heart disease. It’s a stark reality that heart disease is the number one killer in America. Many of the problems related to heart disease are caused when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow, and if a large blood clot gets stuck, it can cause a heart attack. If the blood flow gets completely cut off, the part of the heart which is blocked begins to die. Swimming is easy on the cardiovascular system, which lowers the risk of heart disease problems. People who are undergoing rehabilitation for heart problems will likely have a faster recovery time.

A recommended starting workout. For people new to workouts, a typical recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Swimming will be taxing for someone new to it, so a good target is 12 to 20 minutes of light lap swimming to begin. Get the workout going successfully, and let endurance build later. Start with a crawl stroke, and don’t overdo at the beginning. The goal is to build and support the heart, not to overwork it at the beginning of a new routine.

Check with the doctor. If you’re new to swimming, check with the doctor to make sure you’re cleared for an exercise routine.

Ramp up the exercise. For someone who has been exercising for a while, swimming can take them as far as they want to go in building their fitness. Remember seeing Michael Phelps in the Olympics? Yes, his level of condition is out of the range of most people, but it’s sure a goal to reach for. Just like with running or gym workouts, a swimmer can set personal goals and work from that point to improve their fitness.

Stress reducing. Swimming can lower stress, which will add to the benefit of lowered blood pressure, and give a person an overall sense of calm. The lightness of the water, combined with the almost meditative process of a swim stroke, will allow a swimmer to walk away from the pool feeling more relaxed and less worried about whatever was bothering them.

Swimming is a great way to work out that will also be beneficial for the heart. Just give it a try, and see how you like it.

by

Guest Blogger Kaitlin Gardner.  Kaitlin started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.

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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Sleds

By Todd M. Cambio | August 23, 2014

Here we are at week 5 and I decided to shake things up a bit and bring the sleds out!  Sleds are such a graeat tool to really work on overall strength and muscular endurance.  You can push sleds, pull sleds, hook up TRX’s and do rows and chest press as well as many other things!

Our workout today focused in on leg drive! Keeping the sled moving.  If you have never pushed a sled on grass, in our case wet soggy grass, what a difference. You hardly need any weight at all, very tough to push, so we used my kids and sandbags as weight!

My kids had a blast getting pulled and pushed!  :)

WEEK 5′s workout was 5 reps x 5 sets in “I GO U GO” format:

  1. Warm Up: laps and dynamic flexibility
  2. SLed Pulls with TRX rows mixed in
  3. Partner Hamstrings
  4. Sled Pushes
  5. Sandbag Farmer’s Carry
  6. Ropes: Jumping Jacks x 20:20 x 5
  7. Stretch & Refuel

I also hadn’t written a post in a few weeks so I decided to post this recap of the last couple weeks…

WEEK 4 – Spartan SGX Relay Races

WEEK 3 – Spartan SGX Socks (Crazy 8′s) - This week was all about the socks and making the capes fly:

Nutrition Tip: Have a Cheat Meal!  Why not, you deserve it!

Until next week, our last week, Spartan Up!

Todd

www.ToddCambio.com

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Tactical Strength Challenge

By Todd M. Cambio | August 11, 2014

WHO is in???  I will be competing again October 4, 2014…will you?  What are you training for?

Sign up today at http://www.strongfirst.com/tsc-rules/

The Tactical Strength Challenge (TSC) is a strength competition consisting of three events:

The Tactical Strength Challenge tests the three primary types of strength; absolute strength using the deadlift, bodyweight-relative strength with pullups, and cardiovascular endurance through kettlebell snatches. The three events test a unique trade-off between these abilities. While larger participants may have an advantage in the deadlift, lighter participants have an advantage in pullups, and the kettlebell snatch tests all participants equally.

The rules are simple, the training is hard, but the opportunity to say you faced the Tactical Strength Challenge and survived makes it all worthwhile.

Looking to improve on last years numbers!  Open Division.  455 DL, 7 Pull Ups and 120 Snatches.

CLASSES OF COMPETITION

There are six classes of competition:

Men’s Open Division/Men’s Masters Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 24kg kettlebell.

Men’s Elite Division
A max deadlift, pullups with 10kg of added weight (22 lbs), and snatches with a 32kg kettlebell.

Men’s Novice Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 20kg kettlebell.

Women’s Open Division
A max deadlift, bodyweight pullups, and snatches with a 16kg kettlebell.

Women’s Elite Division
A max deadlift, pullups with 5kg of added weight (11 lbs), and snatches with a 20kg kettlebell.

Women’s Novice Division
A max deadlift, flexed arm hang, and snatches with a 12kg kettlebell.

The TSC must be held and completed in a single day. Masters competitors will be over 50, not the more common over 40. Masters lifters should lift in the same flights as other competitors. The weights used for pullups and snatches vary by competition class as described below.

The events are performed in the following order: deadlift, pullups, snatches. Each competitor must be given at least 15 minutes of rest between events but 30-60 minutes is recommended.

Any competitor that places in the top 3 in the Novice division is no longer eligible to compete in the Novice division, and must register in the Open or Elite class.

HOW EACH EVENT IS SCORED

Deadlift The competitor who successfully lifts the most weight wins.

Pull-ups The competitor who does the most repetitions wins.

Snatches The competitor who successfully performs the most repetitions wins.

Scoring is based on participation. 1 point for 1st place and 2 for 2nd and so on. In the event of a tie, the pull-up goes to the heaviest person and the deadlift will go to the lightest. A tie in the snatch test will stand.

EQUIPMENT

Deadlift A standard Olympic bar and plates. A competitor may use his or her own weightlifting or powerlifting belts for the deadlift event.

Pull-ups A pullup bar tall enough so that all competitors can use it without bending their legs and sturdy enough to handle heavier competitors and additional weight of kettlebells.

Snatches A 12kg, 16kg, 24kg, or 32kg kettlebell and a timer or stopwatch. A weight belt with an attached chain is used for weighted pullups in the Men’s Elite Division.

Lifters may not use gloves, knees wraps, supportive clothing, or any other lifting aids

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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Sandbags

By Todd M. Cambio | August 3, 2014

Week 2 of our summer Spartan Group X (SGX) program was a tough one!

On Monday Coach Pinto put everyone through another variation of his Hurricane training! Hurricane Pinto II: 30:30 x 4 per exercise

On Thursday Coach Cambio put everyone through a MetCon Circuit!  The goal was to work hard on the movements that will prep us for an Obstacle Course or Mud Race. We started off with a 5 minute run to get the blood flowing then we went into:

  1. Animal based Warm Up: Spartan A, B, C’s (Ape, Bear Crawl and Crab Walk) plus other dynamic flexibility movements
  2. MetCon Circuit: ARAP in 30 minutes

I also wanted to incorporate a new toy: the Ultimate Sandbag!

Like any new thing, there is a learning curve.  Those sandbags are tough so we will work on perfectiong that form!  Great job for your 1st time guys!  Here is a little technique help to look at until we give it a try again!

Our Nutritional Task of the Week is to add some FRESH FRUIT to your Plain Yogurt.

Think of fresh fruit (organic, in-season is best) as nature’s vitamins!

They are loaded with vitamins and minerals that will help your recover quickly from exercise by bringing down inflammation, re-hydrating you and supplying you with much needed electrolytes!  Yogurt is a great place to add your freash fruit because it is loaded with bone build calcium and muscle building protein!

Check out more stuff by Todd at: www.ToddCambio.com

Spartan Up,

Todd

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Spartan SGX Mohegan Sun Round Two

By Todd M. Cambio | July 31, 2014

After a great first time around at Mohegan Sun, Mike and I have been asked back for a summer Spartan Group X (SGX) training program!

So welcome new comers and welcome back our returning Spartans!

Since we had so many returning Spartans, we were able to jump into it a little faster.

Day 1 – Hurricane Pinto! 30 seconds work : 30 seconds recovery per station

Day 2 – 5 minue Burpee Test and Spartan Body Weight Test

  1. After a few laps around the field we went into a full dyamic flexibility routine
  2. Spartan Burpee Test!
    1. Max number of Burpees in 5 minutes
  3. Spartan Body Weight Test – 1 min work : 1 min rest each – go for your max number of reps with great form!
    1. Prisoner Squats
    2. Push Ups
    3. Equalizer Body Rows
    4. Jump Lunges
    5. Flutter Kicks
  4. Full Body Stretch

Nutrition Tip of the week: Eat some Chia Seeds

Add it to your shakes or your yogurt or to your salad!

Known as “Mayan Mega Fuel”, chia seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. A three tablespoon serving has more than twice the iron as a cup of spinach, as much potassium as a banana, twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal, and the antioxidants of a serving of blueberries

Keeping balanced levels of blood sugar is important for both health and energy. Blood sugar may spike after meals, especially if you eat high-starchy foods or sweets. This can lead to ‘slumps’ in your day where you feel tired and out of energy. By balancing your blood sugar, you not only lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, but you also ensure steady, constant energy throughout your day.

How does the Chia Seed help with this? Both the gelling action of the seed, and it’s unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.

 All Nutrition info on this post was shared via Spartan Food of the Day.

Spartan Up!

Todd

www.ToddCambio.com

“Sweat Happens When Muscles Cry!”

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How to Squat

By Todd M. Cambio | July 2, 2014

Here are some tips for the beginning position of a back squat:

Squat Technique:

• Spread the floor apart with your feet. This will activate the hamstrings and gluteals requiring the production of torque.

• Squeeze the bar. Squeezing the bar helps to recruit the upper body into the lift. Having a strong upper back and activated triceps supports the weight and helps protect the spine. Squeezing the bar allows for more muscle activation.

• Sit back and down. Begin the squat by lowering the body as if sitting down on a chair or a bench.

• Sitting at least parallel is a recommended goal.

• Keep a neutral spinal alignment. Neutral spinal alignment is the natural alignment of the spine from the coccyx to the base of the skull. A common mistake is the tendency to not maintain a “flat back.”

Spinal flexion can be a sign of loading too much weight or because a weak core prevents spinal stabilization. A flat or slightly arched lower back can help produce more power than if the spine is overly flexed.

Also, looking forward instead of up with the head will help neutralize the cervical spine.

• Push the hips through. When at the bottom of the squat, standing up properly is the next objective. This means they move the hips back to front instead of up and down. The gluteals must fire and allow the hips to “pop” up and forward. Trying to push the hips underneath the bar is the goal.

• Push through the heels.

• Hips and shoulders rise at the same time.

A great variation to the back squat id the front squat.

Hope that helps,

Todd

www.ToddCambio.com

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Strength Camp for High School and College Athletes 

By Todd M. Cambio | June 16, 2014

 

Goal: GET STRONGER!

Nobody ever said they were too strong… Simply working to get stronger will improve athletic performance and will have a profound effect on your durability through a 4 month season. Think of this as “armor building”…

“Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai… worshipped strength… Because it is strength that makes all other values possible.” (Enter the Dragon)

We will work to learn and improve (test numbers):

While also introducing:

EVERYTHING done in camp will be individualized for YOU! Prior to the first day (July 7th) you will have to schedule a time to get in and test with Coach Carroll.

In order to judge progress at an end point we must know where we are starting. This pre-camp testing is vital.

When: July 7th – August 15th, M/W/F 8:30-10

Where: Precision Fitness, 39 High Street (lower level) Westerly RI 02891

Cost: $150 for six weeks (12 person limit) 

Contact Coach Carroll at (401) 241-8890 or bbcarroll54@yahoo.com to reserve your spot and schedule your pre-testing. 

 

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Spartan SGX Week 9 – Rain Run and a Hurricane

By Todd M. Cambio | June 13, 2014

Torrential Rain and a Hurricane Is No Match For a Spartan!

This week was about turning it up again to another level.  While we amped up the training with a hurricane workout (No, we didnt workout in the middle of a real hurricane!) we also worked on prepping the mind by doing our whole workout in the rain!

Monday’s Workout: After running about 2.5 miles in the pouring rain with well over 100 Burpees, we still made time to stretch…in the rain of course!

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These Spartan brothers and sisters walked in the the gymnasium thinking that it would be a normal workout inside. Nope. Not tonight!

A Spartan must be ready for anything!

What happens if it rains at a race? Are you going to stay home? Heck NO! You race. You adapt. You conquer. These guys did that! Attitude and readiness were exemplified. Well done guys! Aroo!

SpartanMiserableBoethius

Thursday’s Workout: Hurricane Pinto!

ON this day, Coach Pinto put everyone through one of our favorite obstacle course race training workouts…the Hurricane!

This style works the athlete’s full body in every plane of motion incorporating strength, speed, agility, core and stamina!  This is a metabolic monster of a workout!

The idea is to go all out for 30 seconds while your partner is breaking.  We did 3 stations for 30:30 x 3 sets = 9 minutes a round x 3 rounds.

Nutrition Task: COOK your own meals!

Get that grill fired up for lean meats and veggies.

Use healthier condomints, marinades and dressings!

Still think ONE-Ingredients whole foods!  Grill your meats and veggies and put them over salad greens!

SpartanCookaMeal SpartanMustard SpartanOliveOil

Aroo, Aroo, Aroo,

Todd

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Spartan SGX Week 8 – Metabolic Madness

By Todd M. Cambio | June 6, 2014

This week is all about upping the intensity, getting out of the comfort zone and starting to really increase the work capacity in the training program.  We are going for an overall improvement in our efforts!

Monster Kicks

Monster Kicks

Metabolic conditioning has several meanings depending on who you talk to.  For us, I want to do full body movements that recruits lots of different muscle groups and gets those muscle groups working hard and fast at the task at hand.  

Then rest between tasks or exercises so that you can attack the next task hard.  

So basically I am incorporating longer circuits with minimal rest in between exercises. Keep in mind that the intensity of the set should remain as high as possible throughout the specified work duration.  In order to elicit the desired response, the body must be pushed in terms of performance. 

Such high intensity during the session leads to a higher resting metabolism for the next few hours according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Monday we went outside and went for the full “Crazy 8′s” Burpee/run combo after a great full body dynamic warm up led by SGX Coach Mike Pinto.

The fast explanation is we do 1 x 100′ run, then 1 burpee.  Then 2 x 100′ runs then 2 Burpees…all the way to 8 runs/8 burpees.  Since its “Crazy 8′s” we work our way back down from 8 runs/8 Burpees …to 1 run/1 Burpee!  1…8, 8…1

Goal is to improve time and Burpee form each attempt at this workout.

Thursday we did one of my Spartan Round and Round Workouts!  Basically you move station to station and complete 20 reps of each exercise.  Each round is 100 reps.

Goal: Get as many rounds as possible (with great form) in 30 minutes.

Workout:

  1. TRX Low Row or Pull Ups x 20
  2. Slam Balls x 20
  3. Burpees x 20
  4. Shuttle Runs x 20
  5. Wall Mountain Climbers x 20/leg

Nutritional Task:

Add those healthy ONE-Ingredient Foods together to make something even more healthy!  Like Guacamole, fresh salsa, hummus, etc.

SpartanAvacado SpartanGarlic SpartanGuacamole SpartanSpices

Spartan Up,

Todd

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Spartan SGX Week 7 – Wood Carry

By Todd M. Cambio | June 2, 2014

With only one day this week, we had to make in memorable!

So after our warm up, we did some sprint work, our Spartan A, B, C’s and then onto a short jog over to the wood pile!

WHY you may ask???

To move the pile of course!

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After a moving the wood pile, then moving it back, we went on to our workout of:

  1. Burpees x 20
  2. Band Rows x 20
  3. Push Ups or Band chest press x 20
  4. Knee to Chest Abs x 20
  5. Lunges x 20

Goal = 5 rounds = 500 reps

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Nutrition Task = Eat at least one piece of fresh fruit a day!

SpartanFruit

Think organic, in-season fruits as much as you can.  We have already discussed berries, now add some other selections of fresh fruit!    Pineapple, oranges, honeydew melon, mangos, apricots and more!

Spartan Up!

Todd

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