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Function and Fitness Blog
Function and Fitness Blog
Coach Jess
5:00 AM

TRX Newbie

Before I started at FUNction and FITness my only knowledge of TRX was “those strap things that you can do a ton of exercises on.” I had never touched the straps, had no idea what exercises could be done with them, and definitely didn’t have a clue as to how to adjust them. In every sense of the word, I was a “newbie.”

And to be honest, despite the fact that I work with them every single day, I still kind of consider myself a newbie - but at least one that knows how to get into the foot cradles… kinda.

As explained on the TRX website, the TRX Suspension Trainer is “a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete hundreds of exercises.” It’s those hundreds of exercises that make me feel like “newbie,” and why I continue to be impressed by what the TRX straps can do for both my training and your training.

We can talk at length about bodyweight training (and I’m sure we will in a later blog post), but the TRX straps are one of the most effective tools out there when it comes to this form of training. You can literally set it up anywhere (just check out Coach Ara training in the park), and you can also train every part of your body on it - from arms, to legs, to core, and everything in between - including all those joints in between. From TRX Chest Presses to TRX Oblique Crunches, you can get a full body workout with one tool. Let’s not lie, that’s kind of awesome.

So if you’re still on the fence about “those straps,” or if you still don’t know how to get in “those straps,” let any of us know. As always, we’re here to help!

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Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Putting the “YOU” in Positive Self-Talk

It might sound silly, but during that next workout try “YOU can do it” instead of “I can do it.”

According to a study that was published online in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2014, talking to yourself in the second person when you are giving yourself encouragement in the gym may actually boost your performance more than using the first-person.

As the study’s co-author Dr. Sanda Dolcos, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explained, “People are used to receiving and giving advice in the second-person, and they seem to prefer using the second-person pronoun to psych themselves up before engaging in action.”

How the study’s authors arrive at this conclusion? They asked 143 undergraduate students at the University of Illinois to write down advice for themselves before working through a series of anagram puzzles. Half of the 143 students were asked to use first-person while the other half wrote in second-person.

The students who wrote in second-person completed more anagrams and appeared to have a more positive attitude when working through the anagrams. “We were not surprised and had previous research showing people spontaneously use ‘You’ in situations that require high levels of self-control and action,” said Dolcos, “as well as situations following a negative event.”

So next time you need a little more encouragement try “You” instead of “I” - and also trust that all of your coaches will be encouraging “YOU” too!

PSST! Here's your chance for 5 extra tickets in our monthly drawing: mention the catch phrase "Positive Self-Talk" to any of the coaches! 

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Coach Jess
5:00 AM

What’s With These Single Leg Exercises?

As I’ve noticed in our gym, a lot of us dread doing anything on a single leg - our balance is thrown off - we fall - and generally, we just kind of feel silly or that we look stupid.

So if everyone hates single leg exercises, then why do we put them in all of the programming we do? Because, they’re super good for you, of course!

Single-leg training is awesome for developing balance, coordination, and even optimal for developing strength.

Here are some examples of the single-leg training we do in the gym:
  • Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts
  • Rear-Foot-Elevated (either on a bench or in TRX straps) Squats
  • Single Leg Cable Woodchops

Mike Boyle (one of our fave gurus in the gym because a lot of what he says just, bottom line, makes sense) believes, "You do almost everything in sports in a split stance, or by pushing off one leg from a parallel stance, so it just makes sense to train your body that way."

Training on a single-leg allows you to sprint, change direction, and produce force equally from both sides of your body while also developing stabilizers and small muscle groups that are critical for injury prevention. We love injury prevention!

Additionally, Boyle believes that "[Single-leg exercises] promote great muscle growth and great muscle strength because they work more muscles." For example, you engage three more muscles in a Single-Leg Squat than in a traditional two-legged Squat. Boyle notes that if you train one leg at a time, and then try a traditional Squat, you’ll most likely hit a new personal squat record.

So, while we know that you hate the idea of standing on one leg (especially when that other leg is in the TRX straps) it’s going to help your balance - and also make you stronger! And that’s something we can all stand behind.

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Coach Jess
5:00 AM

“I Could Barely Walk It Was Such a Good Workout”

We’re all programmed to think that soreness = a great workout. People tell their gym “war stories” with pride. “I worked out so hard the other day I could barely move for the next few days.” Uh…

Let’s get something straight right here, not being able to move for a few days after a workout does not mean that it was a good workout. It actually most likely means that it was too hard for you, or it wasn’t designed well. As The American Council on Exercise explains, “An appropriate workout creates a sense of mild soreness, where you can feel that the muscles experienced a challenge; it should not be a debilitating, painful soreness that lasts for several days.”

And going to the gym when you are still in super pain? Not such a great idea. You want to fully recover - to the point where there is almost no soreness at all before working those muscles again. This is why we always tell beginners to exercise to ease into it. This is also why we always advise that you roll or stretch after a workout, and why we always include a little cool-down stretch after every team training.

As your exercise level increases, the soreness will decrease and you’ll start finding that you aren’t nearly as sore as when you started your exercise routine. You might also find that adding supplements (and as always, having a great nutrition plan) will help increase your body’s ability to repair itself so you have less of those “I could barely walk days.”

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Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Do You Need to Workout Every Single Day?

Someone recently asked me if they needed to workout every day to see results.

Honestly, it’s a hard question to answer, and here’s why:
You need days off - especially if you are weight training. You actually don’t build muscle while you are lifting - you build it when you are recovering. As The American Council on Exercise explains, “The workout is the stimulus, while recovery and improvement is the physical response.” Basically, you work the body and your muscles hard during your training, and the body rebuilds and responds to that work during your rest.

But does that mean you shouldn’t do anything (a.k.a. be a complete couch potato) on your “rest days”? Again, I’ll throw it to The American Council on Exercise: “A rest day is really any non-training day—a day where you remove the challenge of hard exercise.” “Hard” being the key word here. A rest day does not mean you get to just be a lazy-sweat-pant-wearing-couch-laying-sloth (sorry!) Sure, you shouldn’t be going all out on your rest day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move. Use your rest day (and the hour not spent in the gym) to go on a walk, golf, play hide and seek with the kids, or even engage in a lighter type of workout, like a light yoga class or light stretching - essentially anything where you aren’t lifting weights or going to your all out max. All of these things will help you feel less sore, and also keep your body moving - which is something you should always do.

So do you need to workout every day? No, but you should definitely get off those old bones and move every day!

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