Companies have made millions over the years by selling this equipment and convincing people this was the best way to workout. For the females out there, Curves is a big center that runs off of circuit training where the participants move from machine to machine presumably working each body part individually. Many other gyms and fitness centers use similar programs for their members. Read the rest of this entry »

Dan John, in his book “Never Let Go” mentioned this quote at least a couple of different times. Simple, yet such an interesting concept. He
goes on to say that if it’s not important, then don’t do it at all.

If we think outside of exercise, this rings true every day, doesn’t it? Is going to work important? If eating important? Is spending time with friends and/or family important?

But since I like to talk exercise, I’m going to stick to exercise. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t pick up the kettlebell while I’m in the gym. I may not pick one up every day, but every day I go into the gym I do. So how do you make it work to do the same things day in and day out? Don’t the experts say you’re supposed to mix things up so as to allow your muscles to recover in between workouts? Read the rest of this entry »

This article was written for my Exercise Physiology class while I was in college as a research paper. It is the start of a new series of articles you’ll start to find here. I plan to write more about athletic and orthopedic injuries in the near future. Expect to see a couple more ACL articles in the next week or so.

Over the past several years, athletic participation by female athletes has skyrocketed and there has been a coinciding increase in injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Myer, Ford, and Hewett claim that female athletes are at a 4-to-6-fold increased risk for ACL injury than male athletes who participate at a similar level in a similar sport or activity. There are many factors as to why this would be true and there are probably factors that have not been fully considered as of yet. One of these potential factors is the menstrual cycle and its fluctuation of hormones in the female body causing possible laxity of the ACL as well as other ligaments. The intent of this paper is to explore research that examines how
the menstrual cycle may influence ACL injury rates.

Read the rest of this entry »

Exercise is good for everybody, but not everyone can afford a gym membership. I was looking it up yesterday with one of our members
where I work: our prices have not gone up since 2005! We were both pretty surprised by that, but my point for today is although they haven’t gone up, it’s still a good chunk of money to shell out. More and more people are starting to purchase the equipment so they can workout at home. Each program that one finds is going to require different pieces of equipment, but I have included a list of things I consider essential for the home workout. Also, I have tried to provide at least one alternative that may be something you already have!

Lacrosse Ball

A lacrosse ball is a hard rubber ball that is great for self-massage! I don’t think anybody can claim one of these is too expensive for the home gym. You can buy these balls off the internet for just a couple of bucks. An alternative would be to use a tennis ball or a baseball. I don’t think either of these are as good as a lacrosse ball, but chances are you have at least one of them laying around the house. My lacrosse ball is carried in my kit for work, but I have balls laying around the house as well.

These are great for working on massaging your calves, your feet, your shoulders, etc. Really, you can use them on the bigger muscles as well, but I like them for little areas of the body. Many of us develop knots in our fascia and muscles over time due to posture, daily activities, and exercise. We use these tools to work out those knots.

Foam Roller

A foam roller is used for much the same as well the lacrosse ball, but I prefer it for the bigger muscles. There are a variety of them out there and they can be had for about $20 or you can get much more expensive items if you choose. If you look online, you can find all sorts of programs designed for these. Mobility is key to our daily activities and these self-massage tools are just one way to keep your muscles and fascia ready to go! I’ve heard of using a baseball bat or PVC piping, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that myself..


As featured in my “What is THAT” article, you’ve probably figured out I like the kettlebell. Personally I do believe this is the best piece of equipment I own. Yeah, that’s really not saying much since I don’t have a ton of equipment at home, but I use these all the time. I actually bought my sister one for Christmas; who knows if she actually uses it or not?!?!

I have a 31-pounder for using at home. Goblet Squats, Swings, Snatches, etc—you can do all sorts and with this weight, I think it’s perfect for at home. I use bigger ones in the gym sometimes, but 30 pounds is pretty good for most. The kettlebell is easily portable and takes up little space. For the number of exercises you can use with this thing, I think it’s definitely worth it! Dumbbells are an alternative if you can’t afford a kettlebell and have dumbbells sitting around. I don’t do many exercises that would call for dumbbells so I don’t have them at home, but I started my kettlebell training using a dumbbell.


Mini-bands are cheap rubber loops that are excellent for body-weight activities. Monster Walks and lateral movements are a great use for these things. Look, you’re going to pay more for having these things shipped than you will for the product themselves! They come in 3 or 4 different strengths and colors. These are great for working on those glutes! I promise you: you need to work on your glutes!

Stretching Straps

Flexibility is another crucial part of every workout. I guess I wouldn’t consider this a mandatory piece of equipment, but I find I get a much better stretch with one. The one I have at home is called a Stretch Band and it is about 3”

wide and has some elastic webbing. There is also the Stretch Strap which is smaller webbing with multiple loops for putting your foot into as well as grabbing ahold of the strap. Without these items, you could use a towel, a belt, or a bedsheet to get the same benefits!


Personally I use the GymBoss interval timer for many of my interval workouts. Otherwise a stopwatch will work just fine. I know the Ipod and Iphone all have apps now that can act as interval timers and you can also find them online. I like the GymBoss because I can customize the time and it’s easily portable.  A regular stopwatch works, but then you have to watch the time so you know when to switch exercises!

Simple list of some simple pieces of equipment for you to use at home! Definitely not an all-inclusive list and nowhere near everything I
use for my workouts normally, but definitely a good start for the home user! With the exception of the lacrosse ball, all of my fitness tools have come from—I don’t think you can go wrong there!

Don’t Do That

June 26, 2011

Don’t do that—I’m sure you’ve heard that many times before. Mom telling you not to do it. Maybe a teacher, a coach, etc. I’m sure you’ve also heard it plenty of times coming into a fitness center. “Doing that will make you bulky” or “Squatting hurts your knees” and on and on.

I guess maybe the better question is how often do you actually listen when you’re told these things? Why do people spread these mistruths anyway? I just have to shudder sometimes when I read things online or hear things in the gym because so much of it is wrong. On the other hand, some of the research is actually starting to disprove some of the exercises so many people partake each day. But oftentimes people are quick to shed that advice because “they’re researchers; not users.”

One example from work yesterday: I was showing a new member around the gym and she and I were talking about some different exercises. She said she had done crunches on the decline bench the day before and that it hurt her back during and after the activity. Well, research is now basically throwing out the crunch as a good exercise because it has minimal benefit and wreaks havoc on the lumbar spine. Personally I’m glad to see the research shoot it down—I hated crunches anyway!

So next time somebody tells you not to do a certain exercise, don’t be afraid to ask them WHY! If they don’t have an answer, maybe their advice is not credible..


June 22, 2011

Many people probably call it different things, but my workouts have definitely stalled over the last couple of weeks. Really I guess I’m probably at close to a month since I’ve really rolled with my workouts. It’s not like I’m not working out because I am still 3-4 days a week, but I just don’t feel the same lately.

One reason is I seem to be beating myself up these last few weeks. I’ve had days before where I’ve been sore and certain movements would bother me, but over the last two weeks I’ve struggled to do my normal exercises. It seems like every exercise I do is causing pain in another area of my body! I tried to take a few days off last week, but I only lasted two days. After that, it was driving me nuts and I had to get back into it!

I think one thing I need to do is to get back onto a steady workout plan. Over the last few weeks, I’ve just kind of chosen workouts when I show up and just go through the motions. This also means that I sometimes cut my workouts short or continue them longer than maybe I should.

Just frustrated and maybe floating around some overtraining… 😦

Chris Hebel

June 19, 2011

People talk about enjoying high school because it’s the best time of your lives. They say to enjoy your senior year because you only get one. Well, not everybody gets a senior year of high school. Not everyone gets to be a senior senior football player.

I had a teammate who missed his senior football season not because of grades, or an injury. Chris was on his way to football practice that June morning like many mornings before and summers before. 7:30 weights and conditioning Monday, Wednesday, Friday every week, every summer. June 19, 2006 my teammates lives, my coach’s lives, my classmates’ lives, and Chris and his family’s lives were changed forever. He fell asleep at the wheel on his way to practice and the minivan he was driving crossed the yellow line into the path of a tractor-trailer. The truck driver did everything he could to avoid the collision even rolling his semi, but the collision was of such force that it is believed Chris was killed on impact. Pictures of the scene showed the engine of the minivan not in its normal spot in the front of the vehicle, but in the back seat. He didn’t stand a chance.

We found out 2 hours later while we were doing some drills. A school social worker showed up at the practice field and wanted to talk to our
coach. After a brief discussion, our coach told us to pack it up and head back to the weight room. When we got back inside, we were told of the accident.

Waterloo High School, the Class of 2007, and the Waterloo Bulldogs football team honored Chris throughout the 2006-2007 school year. The Bulldogs wore Chris’ #50 on our helmets and Chris was buried wearing his black home jersey. His mother, Cheryl, wore his white #50 throughout the entire season.

The WHS Class of 2007 donated a memorial in the form of a stone that now sits on the grounds of Bulldog Stadium, the new home of the Bulldogs, at the new Waterloo High School. The memorial was dedicated in September, 2010 with a pre-game ceremony and then the Bulldogs went on to defeat the Carbondale Terriers. Chris watched over us in 2006 as we started a new tradition in Bulldog Football and he continues to watch the Bulldogs compete today.

Coach Dan Rose (middle) with Chris Hebel’s parents and family.

Chris is missed by many and will be remembered always. #50 holds a special place in our hearts.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is not new. It’s been around for some time, but I think it is starting to make a come-back once again. Many people think that HIIT is not for them because they are not athletic. They would rather just do regular cardio for a long period of time and that’s what is going to help them lose weight. Research is starting to show that is not the case. Instead, research is leading toward HIIT as an excellent way to lose weight. Although I have not personally seen the weight loss due to HIIT, I do believe in this form of exercise as being one of the best workouts available! Read the rest of this entry »

Winners take chances

Like everyone else, theyfear failing, but they refuse to let fear control them.

Winners don’t give up.

When life gets rough, they hang in until the going gets better.

Winners are flexible.

They realize there is more than one way and are willing to try others.

Winners know they are not perfect.

They respect their weaknesses while making the most of their strengths.

Winners fall but they don’t stay down.

They stubbornly refuse to let a fall keep them from climbing.

Winners don’t blame fate for their failures, nor luck for their successes.

Winners accept responsibility for their lives.

Winners are positive thinkers who see good in all things.

From the ordinary, they make the extraordinary.

Winners believe in the path they have chosen even when it is hard, even when others can’t see where they are going.

Winners are patient.

They know a goal is only as worthy as the effort that is required to achieve it.

Winners are people that believe in themselves.

They make this world a better place to be.

~~ Author Unknown ~~

Workout June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

5 sets of 6 reps each: Front Squat


4 rounds of Front Squat (10 reps each)

4 rounds of Kettlebell Swings (13 reps each)

Finished the workout with 3 sets of:

Kettlebell Swings (10) immediately followed by Box jumps (10)

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