Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts by LaRue: Think Opposites for a Great Workout!

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since my last Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog. Sorry for the delay, but here it is! This blog will help you develop or maintain what we all are looking for in our exercise routine – BALANCE! Please enjoy, and as always, feel free to share this link with your friends.

In Health,



Think Opposites for a Great Workout

Presented by LEC Fitness, LLC

This Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog will expand upon a concept that I introduced in an earlier blog.

Everyone has their favorite exercises or their favorite body parts that they like to exercise. Whether it’s an area of our bodies that we think is weaker, or needs more work cosmetically, the truth is that we often fall into the habit of working on the same areas workout after workout.  But, the secret to a great workout is to pay attention to those ‘other areas’ as well! Here’s a simple way how to do this and to help ensure that your body is getting a complete workout. Work opposites!

Just take a look around your gym the next time you’re working out. Chances are that you’ll see someone working feverishly on, for example, chest press, leg extensions, or bicep curls, and then move on to something else working those same muscle groups, leaving their poor ‘opposite’ untouched. So, what I recommend is an occasional technique known as ‘Super-Setting.’ This technique entails your exercising a muscle and then its opposing muscle in successive exercises. By exercising in this way, you ensure yourself that both sets of muscles will get some attention – thereby helping to ensure a complete workout, and helping to maintain or develop muscle strength symmetry (i.e. helping our body to maintain its proper relative strength).

One word of caution:  Super-setting can lead to faster muscular fatigue since you are essentially working the same body part in successive exercises, so take it slow!  See how your body reacts to this form of exercise, and if you find it too difficult, simply perform exercise for these opposites later in your workout but not necessarily in succession as described above.  Ok, that’s it!  Go forth and exercise, and of course Have Fun!

As always, check with your physician before undertaking the exercises described in this Fit Fact, or any other exercise to help ensure that it’s proper for you.

As a certified personal trainer I strongly recommend that you meet with a certified trainer or other fitness professional to help you plan your program so that you can make safe and effective changes to your exercise program.

This Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog is brought to you courtesy of LEC Fitness, LLC

Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts: Teachable Moments – Look For a Trainer Who Will Teach, Not Just Train

Hi everyone! This latest Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog will hopefully help you take charge and become proactive in improving your own health and fitness. Enjoy!


Teachable Moments: Look For a Trainer Who Will Teach, Not Just Train

Presented by LEC Fitness, LLC

“If I train my client, I’m in control I have “THE POWER!”  If I teach my client, I have transformed them into a person of action, someone who can take ownership of their own health and well-being.” (LaRue Cook)

One of the things that I love about what I do is having the opportunity to help others by serving as a source of useful fitness, health and wellness information. One of the ways that I do this is by serving as a contributor to several fitness professional list serves and blogs – counseling and advising other trainers and fitness professionals.  I recently responded to one trainer’s question about the role of a personal trainer. I responded that I see a major part of what we as trainer do (or should do) is to teach.  I truly see this as way that I can have a positive influence on my clients’ health and well-being now, and in the future.

After answering the trainer’s question I started to think about this a bit.  My answer and the quote above goes to the core principles of how I work with my clients – I view a major part of what I do as TEACHING.  Early on in my career I realized that the true value of what I can provide to my clients is the art of designing effective exercise programs for them, and the science of helping them understand how the human body functions.   After all, clients don’t need me – or any trainer for that matter – to simply stand there and COUNT 1, 2, 3, 4… as they perform one of the many exercises that I prescribe for them that day. What a waste of my time and their money.  You can pick-up a book or magazine with photos of exercises and count to 10 or 12 by yourself.  The real value lies in teaching the WHY – the science – and not just the how.

I LOVE my role as a teacher! I LOVE my role as a motivator!  I LOVE my role as a trainer!  So, I thought that I’d devote this Fit Fact to a couple of  basic facts about how our bodies work – the kind of basic teaching that I like to give to my clients to help empower them to take some ownership of their own workouts and exercise.

Make no mistake about it there is tremendous value to your having a trainer.  Exercise programs that are designed specifically for you, that are scientifically based, that are effective, and perhaps most important – that are safe, are all great reasons for using the services of a trainer.  But, I think that the real value of your trainer, beyond the art of programming – is using the science of exercise science to teach, to empower and to create a level of independence.  This is what is lacking from some client-trainer relationships, and is definitely lacking when you get your exercise advice from a generic workout or list of exercises that you might find in a magazine or book!

So here are a couple of simple lessons in exercise science.  Stay with me here because although these facts will be basic in nature, they will be also be a useful reminder of how your body works, and instrumental in helping you create some basic exercises for yourself.

Back Muscles

Here’s a very simple, yet very effective lesson:  Our back muscles PULL.  That’s it!  So, how can you use this information?  If I’m working with one of my clients and assuming that we have worked together long enough that she now has an index of exercises at her disposal, I can give her a homework assignment of doing an at-home workout before our next session together by saying something like “do 3 back exercises at home tomorrow,” and my client can design her own workout for her back.  She immediately knows to START PULLING SOMETHING!  Not only does this allow her to workout at home and be better prepared for our next workout together, but it also gives her some basic knowledge of how her body works.

With this information, she can develop exercises as simple as tying a rope to a locked and secured door, sitting on the floor and pulling herself across the room toward the door (an exercise that you’d have to see first to fully understand, but one that I use with some of my junior athletes), or it could be performing a single arm bent-over rowing motion with a full gallon milk jug.


Opposites ‘Contract’

Our bodies are a wonderfully-designed machine!  We are created in a way that there is a natural symmetry (or at least most of us are born with one) to our bodies; when one muscle stretches its opposing muscle contracts.  So, for example, if I perform a bicep curl exercise (i.e. contracting my bicep), my opposing muscle (triceps) elongates or stretches.  So how can you use this information?  Use it by making sure that you understand the need for exercising and stretching a muscle AND its opposing muscle – this will help you maintain or develop symmetry.  Biceps-triceps, hamstrings-quadriceps, abdominals-lower back are all examples of this concept.

So there you have it!  You’ve just learned two simple, yet important facts about how your body works!

Good luck and have FUN!

*** As with all exercise, always check with your physician to ensure that your exercise plan is appropriate for you BEFORE undertaking any exercise. ***

This Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog is brought to you courtesy of LEC Fitness, LLC

Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts: Overload

Hi everyone! Here’s our latest Fit Fact on the importance of OVERLOAD to your exercise program. Enjoy!


Presented by LEC Fitness, LLC

Have you ever reached a point in your workouts where you seemed to be stalled – seem to no longer be making progress in your fitness?  Or, you simply find yourself bored with your exercise routine?  If so, or if you want to avoid this before it happens, please READ ON.

My mantra to help you avoid these stall points or boredom in your workouts is “Overload to Avoid Plateau.”  The Overload Principle is a simple principle that allows your body to make fitness advances by working at an exercise-intensity greater than what is accustomed to.  In Plain English this translates to, for example, increasing the amount of weight that you normally lift.  But, this principle does not only apply to strength training, aside from strength, this principle can also be applied to other fitness components such as flexibility and even your cardiovascular fitness.   Here’s how this might work for you.

If you think back to when you first started exercising, certain exercises were probably more difficult than others.  For example, if you walk for your health, you may have started out walking a mile.  You may have found yourself huffing and puffing along as you walked your mile.  If you stuck with it, as you continued your walking routine throughout the days, weeks, months you may have found walking that same mile easier and easier.  Here is where – if you want to continue to challenge your cardiovascular system to improve – you may want to overload your cardiovascular workout to keep your fitness gains moving forward.  You can overload in a number of ways:  increase the distance you walk, decrease the time that you walk that same mile (i.e. walk faster), or a more advanced method such as wearing a weighted vest or carrying some external weight while walking that same mile.  The same principle applies to your strength training:  lift more weight, increase the number of repetitions you perform with the same weight, or decrease the amount of rest you take between exercises.  All of these are examples of overload, and of how you can continue to challenge yourself to make advances in your fitness.

By safely incorporating the overload principle into your workouts you will not only find yourself avoiding the dreaded plateau, but also keeping your workouts interesting and challenging!

One word of caution:  Overloading is not something that should be undertaken without planning because, if done improperly, it can lead to injury.  Generally speaking, you should NOT increase more than one exercise factor at a time (e.g. time, distance weight).  As a certified personal trainer I strongly recommend that you meet with a certified trainer or other fitness professional to help you plan your program so that you can make safe and effective changes to your exercise program.

This Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog is brought to you courtesy of LEC Fitness, LLC

Yours in Health and Fitness

Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts by LaRue: Proper Hydration


Hello everyone! With the first month of 2012 under our belt the New Year’s eve “charge” towards better health and fitness continues for many of us. Here’s some “common sense” advice on a health topic that oftentimes goes unnoticed – proper hydration – just click on the link above to read this Fitness, Health and Exercise Facts blog.   Enjoy, and “keep drinking!”

In Health and Fitness

Healthy Employees Equal Simple Math

CEO’s, Executives, Business Owners and Managers:

Healthy Employees = Happy Employees
Happy Employees = A Healthy Bottom Line

DID YOU KNOW? That surveys show that the top 5 Reasons that successful companies offer Workplace Health Promotion programs are:
1. they attract and retain good employees
2. they keep employees healthy
3. they improve employee morale
4. they improve employee productivity
5. they reduce employee health care costs

LEC Fitness is owned and operated by an experienced corporate wellness professional with experience managing and directing employee wellness, fitness, and health programs at a local college and for a large corporate fitness center.

There are many employee wellness options available for any size employer and for any budget. Check out our attached summary for just a few of our programs:  LLCWebsite2CorporateProg