Fit 178: Measure Your Glass, Portion Control and Bench Press vs Shoulders!

In this episode: Check your it half empty or half full? More portion control tips! The bench press and your shoulders: four tips to better bench press and healthy shoulders!

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Return and review your glass!  Is it half empty or half full? Do you appreciate where you are right now and how you have gotten there? What life lessons have you learned that you could share with others? I share my fitness and life lessons as part of my personal coaching programs! Here's what I want you to do: Make a daily list of the items, qualities and triumphs that fill your glass! No matter how big or small, every item takes space to make your glass half full! If you find that difficult, enlist the aid of a friend. Sometimes we don't see our positives as easily as others do!

Portion control part two.

1.  Choose Foods You Desire. 
When hungry, connect with your body and identify what you are actually craving. Choose healthy foods that you truly desire and will enjoy eating. If you have enough Vitamin P (pleasure) and E (enjoyment) in your meal, you feel more satisfied with a smaller quantity. Remember, the foods you desire are the ones that make you have more energy, feel good about yourself and improve your mind and body!

2.  Eat with Awareness!
Notice the colors and aromas of your food before you eat. Pay particular attention to the food’s flavors and textures. Eat slowly and savor the flavors as you eat. This will activate your body’s earliest digestive phase and improve your overall digestion. You'll feel more satisfied with less food!

3.  Chew. 
It's been said before, thoroughly chew each mouthful of food before swallowing! This is especially true for carbohydrates. Proteins tend to be chewy and take longer to eat, however, carbs tend to go down quickly! Be aware and chew slowly on your carbs!  This is among the most powerful strategies for natural portion control because it simultaneously slows down the pace of your eating, improves overall digestion, and allows for the extraction of the highest level of nutrients in the food!

The bench press is an extremely popular weight training exercise. Look around the gym and compare the number of trainees working out on their own who perform bench presses vs those who squat. Nuff said!  The bench press is so popular that many people perform the exercise several days a week, year-round. To be clear, the term “bench press” is meant to include the variations such as Incline, decline and flat.  Whenever there is a lack of balance in muscle strength and flexibility, overuse injuries are likely!

Many shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff impingement and tears, and shoulder dislocations and separations are a result of accidents, some due to overuse, and some are simply a result of poorly designed workouts. Common culprit: the bench press!

First, lets talk about how to train around shoulder injuries or problems, while you rehab the injury. This is the time to work on other areas of the body that could be weak, such as the legs. Although pressing movements may be out of the question for a while, you may be able to handle pulling motions, enabling you to do specialized work on the upper and mid-back muscles. Balance between the chest and back muscles, (ie front and back of your body) is critical for shoulder alignment and proper posture. You should always train your back with more sets than your chest! The back is complex and includes smaller muscles such as the rhomboids, trapezius, rear deltoids along with the larger muscles the teres and lats.

When you are ready to resume chest training, use these tips from olympic coach Charles poliquin for your program:

1. Perform only 20 percent of your training volume from pressing exercises in a supine (flat) position.

2. The other 80 percent should be from an incline, decline (least stress on shoulders) or other position.

3. (Half of your exercises) 50 percent of presses should be performed with dumbbells. Dumbbells provide a more natural movement pattern while challenging the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder.

4. Make structural balance a priority. Structural balance refers to the strength ratio between two muscle groups, such as back and chest. An unbalanced ratio makes you more prone to injury. For example, if the strength of the pectorals is significantly greater than that of the external rotators of the upper arm (teres minor and infraspinatus), this could result in a sharp pain in the superior anterior portion of the upper arm (ie front shoulder). Make the muscles that externally rotate the shoulders and those that pull the shoulders backward, a priority.

More on that in the next podcast!

If you happen to hear a jingle or a bark in the background of this and future podcasts, the likely source is our new friend PeeWee. Here she is with my daughter beginning our road trip from Florida to Massachusetts!

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