TRAINING FOR HUMANS
Holistic fitness system allowing you to move as nature intended
Feel healthy, fix your deficiencies, address pain, get strong, increase stamina and agility, and look amazing - who doesn't want that?
THE TRAINING SYSTEM
The Isractive training for humans concept is broken down into 5 clearly defined stages. In order to move and function in the most efficient way it is important that trainees complete each stage and master its techniques with proficiency before progressing to the next level.
READ MORE ABOUT THE STAGES OF TRAINING BELOW
The TRAINING FOR HUMANS concept re-focusses the mis-used term 'functional training' into a fitness program that brings out the best possible movement, endurance and integrated strength abilities and performance of the trainee. This is achieved by re-assesment and activation of human biomechanics of the trainee via a range of corrective exercises and multi-planar movement routines.
"...a teacher is someone who just repeats to you information that was repeated to him. A coach knows how to find the best way of developing his trainee with that information. For every client that method of coaching is unique. Let me coach you and find the best way of guiding you to bring out the best in you..."
Patience and perseverance for perfect performance
Consider if your choice of exercise is going to help improve your primary function as a human. If not question whether it will actually hinder your progress.
Protect your joints by ensuring all routines are performed from a bio-mechanically safe and efficient positions and movement patterns. If in doubt, check with a professional.
Volume over loading. Perform quality repetitions of an exercise many times in place of heavy reps of an exercise less times. Use equipment to complement not control your workout
Prevent the creation of new deficiencies by keeping muscle and fascia tissues supple and flexible by using massage and stretching techniques.
Investing 20 minutes practicing an exercise accurately will help you progress quicker than a 2 hour badly performed heavy or messy workout.
Peak into the Isractive training style in gallery below
'if it looks like it's effortless then you're doing something right'
The ISRACTIVE fitness coaching ideology addresses the often forgotten purpose of a training program which as the name suggests should primarily be about being fit, healthy and efficient. Traditional and 'old school' systems are failing fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike by rendering them injured or impaired rather than improved and empowered.
Whilst growing up in the UK I was always an active person, swimming, cycling, running, and constantly monkeying around climbing on and jumping off of whatever I could find. At a young age natural movement patterns were organically formed and agility and abilities gained freely with ease. After qualifying as a personal trainer at the Wingate Institute of Sport in Israel and starting to work in the fitness industry I soon realised that there was a serious flaw in the way traditional fitness programs are administered. With reference to my education in Human Anatomy, Kinesiology I started to understand that hypertrophy through muscle isolation is taught and emphasised as the main goal for those participating in any exercise program. With this in mind most gym-goers and personal trainers are following programs that don't fix a persons de-ficiencies, and focus only on 'getting big'. I observed that trainees with 21st century deficiencies through excessive inactivity were then becoming injured from following these outdated and ignorant training methods. From this point I immediately decided that the only way to help people to achieve healthy, efficient and functional bodies is to build a training system that enables them to gain the natural movement patterns that have helped me stay in top shape - capable, agile, strong, and efficient.
Analysis and Correction
Rotation, anti rotation and gait cycle
Going 3D - Multiplanar movements
The PUSH for endurance
Feedback and implementation
'Training for Humans' - a bespoke fitness system for those wishing to perform at their best, pre-hab their bodies, recover from injuries and handle all that life throws at them.
THE 5 EXERCISES YOU SHOULD BE DOING WHILST S(H)ITTING ON THE TOILET! The perfect way to utilise your toilet time and ensure that your feet get the love they deserve
As you may already know if you’ve encountered any of our previous blogs, we’re all about movements at Isractive | ישראקטיב, but don’t be fooled and think you’re about to read a piece about your gastro health. We’re going to assume for a second that all is well on that front, which is useful, because you’ve just allocated yourself the perfect moment to deal with another element of your human efficiency. Lets talk about your feet.You’re thinking, ‘what could possibly link my toilet time and my feet?’ , ‘They’ve totally lost it now!’. Fear not, we’re of sound grounding. One of the most common rebuttals to any of our ‘quick fix tips’ or workouts of the day is that finding the time to look after your mobility, and then another session for some cardio health, and a gym workout to keep strong, and some peace and quiet for meditation is near on impossible with long days at the office followed by family time and all the other usual demands on our energy. So here’s our gift to you - a few minutes serenity, locked in a box, poor phone signal (and lets be honest, if you’re taking your smartphone to the toilet – eww), and only the walls to keep you entertained – and most importantly an opportunity to right the wrong of our last two centuries of isolation, compression and oppression of OUR FEET.Whether it be through in-activity, high fashion, mis-information and marketing of sports brands or just habit of being heavily shod, its likely your ankles (and therefore calves, shins knees and hips) are paying the price. So take this 5 minutes of looking for something to play with and re-unite yourself to your little pinky. No not that one, the ones on your feet damn-it!Prevent unstable ankles, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, shin splints, ACL stresses and a whole host of other irritations and injuries that can happen to us regardless of our level of fitness, whilst improving your control and balance by following our top 5 exercises for your feet.
Top 5 Benefits of Functional Fitness on Mental Health The significance and links between functional physical fitness and functional mental headspace
Most of us know that exercise is good for our well-being, especially physically, but it’s also essential for our mental health. Functional fitness, like its unique physical benefits, also has its own positives when it comes to our mental well being. If you’re looking for any further reasons to give functional fitness a try, here are the top five mental health benefits that come from function fitness. 1 - Confidence Exercise gives you confidence. Not only do you feel good from your accomplishments but overcoming challenges boosts your confidence and perceptions of yourself. Additionally, functional fitness, when done properly, helps bring you back to the basics of your natural movement by improving your posture and stance in order to move as we were intended to before we were forced into offices, desks, chairs, and couches. One of the benefits of a good posture is an improvement in confidence. Studies have found that when task are performed with good posture the person felt more competent at performing that task versus those who were slouched. So you get a double whammy of confidence if you used functional fitness in your exercise regime. 2 - Stress ReductionScientists noted that moderate exercise increases blood circulation to our brains and creates a reaction that reduces our physiological reactivity to stress with as little as 30-45 minutes a few times a week (provided you’re not sitting for the remainder of the day). Stretching every day and maintaining your functional mobility also helps in muscle tension and reducing stress. 3 - Reduces Anxiety and DepressionExercise has a multitude of positive outcomes for the brain. It release endorphins which help reduce and prevent both anxiety and depression, especially with functional aerobic exercise, as well as improvement in treatment and in prevention in relapses. One study saw a 26% risk decrease for major depression for those that took the time to run for 15-minutes a day or walk for one hour. Additionally, participating in a group or social settings has been reported to help depressive and anxious symptoms further and exercise also been shown to help those with mental illness reduce their social withdrawal symptoms. 4 - Mood and Mental AlertnessYour body releases endorphins when you exercise and this chemical makes you feel great. These same chemicals have also been found to help improve cognitive functions, concentration, stamina, increased energy levels and alertness. Exercise also helps to stimulate the growth of new brain cells help you stay sharp as you age. 5 - Better Sleep Exercise naturally fatigues you making it easier for you to fall and stay asleep. Research has shown an increase in perceived energy levels with an regular exercise regime. One of the additional benefits offered by functional fitness is its capacity to reduce or eliminate pain. Pain or discomfort is a major cause of sleep-loss but with a functional fitness exercise regime it can help realign your body for better a better performance and for a better night’s sleep.
FITNESS EQUIPMENT AND EXERCISES THAT ARE A WASTE OF YOUR TIME - AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD Ensure sure your gym time is about building a better you rather than breaking you!
Not all exercises and equipment are created equally, so if you’re looking to maximise your time working out (to be honest, who isn’t?) then it’s worth your while to know which movements are the most effective. Most machines focus on isolating muscles, which initially sounds good, but the reality is that our bodies and muscle groups rarely work in isolation and that functional exercises that create efficient human movement patterns are much more effective. Here’s just a few of some of the major exercises to avoid the next time you hit the gym along with some more functional suggestions. Abductor/Adductor Machines (aka the Gynaecologist Machine) These machines are not all that effective but people continue to use them because they’re believed to help tone and isolate the inner thigh and reduce fat, but the fact of the matters is that you can’t spot treat areas. More importantly than just how ineffective the machines are, is the dangerous pressure that the pads isolate onto the knee joint. Since when were we made to take a sideways force of ten’s of kilos on our knees?What to do instead: Lunges. Whether forwards or backwards, we recommend taking a short step and hinging fully into your hips. This helps keep the natural human movement pattern through the hips and knees whilst strengthening the glutes, hamstrings and quads (and even your ankle complex) with proportion to each other. Lying Leg Curling Machine This machine is highly non-functional in terms of our natural movements. When would we ever need to move our hamstrings in isolation like this? This exercise also doesn’t engage other main muscle groups throughout your body – the ones that all play a crucial part in landing and avoiding injury. What to do instead: Single leg deadlift. This exercise activates the whole backside of your body while also engaging the core (all what constitutes our abdominal muscles) and challenging stability. Single leg deadlifts are also intuitive as they mimic real life scenarios in which we would need the strength and balance to do everyday activities like picking up items, climbing stairs, and landing whilst walking and running without collapsing. Related: Is your fitness functional? Crunches/Sit Ups and Ab Machines Isolating your abs to get them in a six pack shape sounds great but crunches and ab machines are just not effective and that’s because they don’t require the use of our spine to keep us stable. Research has shown that crunches and ab exercises that don’t use our spines for stability are less effective in activating abdominal muscles. What to do instead: Planks. They activate more muscles in the abdominal area and (when performed accurately) they won’t put strain on your back. They’ll also bring the awareness and control of a neutral spine posture which is useful for the rest of your workout. With a large variety of exercises that incorporate the plank position, you should never resort to crunches again. Leg Press Machine While this machine may seem safe, when you start to add the weight on you’re missing out on the stability that comes by performing a squat without assistance. Generally, people have poor form on these machines from adding on too much weight and in a study done by the American Council on Exercise, it ranked the worst out of eight different leg exercises that targeted the glutes. Additionally, the leg press machine can present a huge and often damaging shearing force across the knees, significantly increasing the potential for ligament injury.What to do instead: Step down slowly off a high box. You’re targeting your legs in a functional and natural movement that creates more stability and will reduce the chance of injury. Behind the Head Lat Pull-Downs The angle of this exercise is not at all natural and puts strain on our shoulders as they move in a direction they weren’t designed for, and is especially wearing on your rotator cuff. Similarly it puts strain on your spine and encourages a kyphotic posture as you have to drop your head forward in order to get the bar behind your neck. What to do instead: A shrug and row movement using a rowing machine or suspension trainer (like TRX straps). This way you increase your strength whilst gaining a useful control for improving your posture and integrated strength.
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE? And what can we do about it?
Skipped your workout today? Or spent too much time dawdling on the internet instead of writing that essay or work report? Procrastination affects all of us and for some on a daily basis. It takes up space in our thoughts that would otherwise be used for productive means and yet it feels like an unstoppable force. Why do we delay the things we want to do and know are best for us? Procrastination is the act of deliberately putting off decisions or actions and is often a learned behaviour that disrupts self-regulation. While many think procrastination is a result of poor willpower, there is actually a lot more science to it.Negative emotions fuel procrastination. For example, working out is strenuous and you may not enjoy the discomfort it brings or perhaps you have psychological barriers like anxiety, perfectionism, or fear of failure/success that you have to overcome every time you step into the gym so your brain actively attempts to avoid feeling this way. This aversion has also shown up in medical images too. For example, mathphobes actively avoid doing math because even just thinking about doing math causes the pain receptors in the brain to light up. We rely on our self-regulation and motivation, which is usually fuelled by some form of reward to get us through many tasks in our daily lives but these negative feelings can overwhelm this sense of reward. Especially with fitness as the reward is often times far into the future. Mental and physical exhaustion, which many of us feel after a long day at work or with kids, makes this process even harder. These types of negative emotions interfere with our decision making, self-regulation, and motivation.Procrastination, obviously, has been linked to poor grades and job/fitness performance but it is also surprisingly linked to our health. Your physical health is affected if you’re putting off exercise but procrastination also increases stress levels which then impairs immune function and your mental health. So what can you do about it? Procrastinators can change their ways. Figure out when, why and how you procrastinate - You can’t fix what you can’t identify.Have clearly defined goals - Be sure of the specifics of what you want and how you want to get there and define how important your goals are to you. They should be both meaningful and achievable.Create a plan of action and figure out techniques to combat your procrastination - Such as keeping yourself accountable with additional rewards, changing your thought pattern on the task, using visualisation of your future self (this is especially helpful for fitness related goals) and by acknowledging and analysing your negative feelings.Make it easier to get started and harder to avoid - Such as turning off the wifi, putting your phone in do not disturb mode, or wearing your workout gear to bed for a morning workout etc.Have someone to help keep you accountable - Find a friend you can rely on to help keep you accountable. For fitness, get a workout buddy. Or better yet, get a personal trainer. There is a reason why so many people reach out for a personal trainer and it’s because this access to assisted accountability really works. Not only that, a personal trainer can help you maintain your own motivation and improve your self-regulation by creating lifelong fitness habits.
WHY DIET IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS EXERCISE You can’t out run a bad diet regardless of how fit you may think you are or look
Food is wonderful. Food is social. Food is culture. Food is fuel. Food is a multifaceted need and a major focal point of enjoyment in our lives. However, overindulging in the wrong types of foods lead to all sorts of health related issues. One of the main problems in modern society is the easily accessible, cheap, and highly processed foods that make it hard for our sugar and carbohydrate evolved bodies to say no to. There is nothing wrong with eating these foods within moderation but if you choose not to eat well the majority of the time under the guise that you exercise, you’re doing yourself a severe disservice. “I exercise so I can eat what I want.” Maybe you have friend that talks this way or maybe this is how you justify and fuel your next workout. Not only is this a horribly negative and all-or-nothing approach on food and exercise, this type of overindulgence is not good for your health. Exercise is important but if your main reason for doing it to justify eating however and whatever you want, you’re not only missing the point, you’ve also created a destructive perception about food and health. Related: It’s Time To Shake Up Fitness Exercise alone is not enough to shield you from the health issues that are related to eating poorly. Ask long-time Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray who has run all his life with 140 marathons and eight Ironman triathlons under his belt, yet in his mid-60s he found himself with coronary artery disease as a result of his poor diet and family history. A bad diet will catch up with you eventually either in excess pounds, heart disease, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and more. Recent studies even say that 1 in 5 deaths can now be contributed to unhealthy eating.A poor diet also means you’re more apt to injury, have reduced breathing capacities, lower energy levels, longer recovery times from workouts, and a sub-par immune system. Eating a balanced diet not only makes you mentally and physically feel better, you’re also likely to find a new level of athleticism and energy you didn’t know you had. Related: Thinking of going vegetarian or vegan? If reading this makes you feel sad about your dietary prospects, start with small changes and work towards the majority of your diet consisting of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and proteins. Excessive restrictive eating causes just as many issues as over indulgencing and if you eat well the majority of the time that post-workout burger and fries can be enjoyed moderately. The important thing is to try and rework any negative connotations you’ve created or associated with food. Look to establish positive reinforcements with a balanced diet that revolve around feeling good and performing well versus an attitude that revolves around strictly trying to maintain a certain physical appearance.
HYBRID TRAINING - WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Everyone knows somebody who has tried or has tried to sell you an online fitness program. They’re all the rage as many of them advertise getting fit at home or seeing results in a short number of weeks without the perceived added cost of a personal trainer. Maybe you’ve even tried one yourself? While the programs themselves aren’t necessarily bad, the fitness plans are generic and offer no guidance, so most people cough up the money for the program and either never make use of it, injure themselves, or only find short-term success with it. What if you had an online program that was catered to you and offered expert advice and motivation through the whole process? This is hybrid training. What is hybrid training?Hybrid training is an adaptable style of personal training meant to fit the needs of staying active in today’s world with the aim of creating functional and healthy active lifestyles. It’s personal training with an online element. What makes this training special is that you can do it anywhere in the world and still have one-on-one guidance from a trainer. By connecting over a video chat service, a trainer can discuss and see where your current fitness levels are and come up with a catered fitness plan specifically for you. Trainers can then can show how to do certain moves and can watch and guide you through your workouts as well. The trainer can also see, through an app, if you’re keeping up with your suggested training. This method enforces accountability but still ensures that your trainer is with you throughout the whole journey. Related: Is your fitness functional? Why is hybrid training the right choice for me? Hybrid training is right for everyone because it’s personal. In working with a trainer online they help to reshape your functional basics like standing, walking, and running so that you’re moving in the most efficient way possible. It’s not easy reshaping these foundations and a trainer can help you to perfect these movements and make sure that you’re doing the exercises properly and to challenge you in ways a standard online training program cannot offer. From there, the training can then be focused on things like mobility, strength, cardio, running, nutrition etc. Through the personalised exercises with the use of the app and appropriate guidance (not micro-management), hybrid training creates personal accountability which leads to long term commitment (to oneself, better results as well as a healthier lifestyle. Related: Why aesthetics should be a bi-product of fitness. Is hybrid training cost effective?Hybrid training is more cost-effective and efficient than your standard personal trainer who just shows up once a week and takes you through one rigorous exercise routine and that’s it. While it might initially seem more than that 8-week online training program a friend recently recommended to you, hybrid training offers results that are likely to last long term and actually create a healthy lifestyle you’ll want to commit to. It’s clear to see which one would be a better use of your time and money when it all stacks up. Isractive offers the best in hybrid training with monthly training programs offering a variety of options and add-ons to get you to your functional fitness best. Contact us to get started!
MY CRANE ANALOGY - AND WHY STRUCTURALISM WORKS
As the first of many blog posts to come I decided that I would tell my story of the building site crane. It's an overly simplified analogy comparing an immensely strong machine that we see active on construction sites all over the developing world to our muscular-skeletal system of the human body. I bring this story into conversation early on with new clients when helping them into understanding the process of building real applicable strength and stability into their bodies, and why a precise, controlled and patient work(out) ethic necessary in order to achieve this.Mechanics is everywhere. It is so common to the point that the majority of us don't even pay attention to mechanics at work. The obvious examples that spring to mind might be the cars we drive, or appliances in our houses such as washing machines or heating units. But how often do we appreciate the reason why our buildings don't fall down or how the brackets holding our TV to the wall are so strong. When was the last time you considered how electricity cables don't pull down pylons or how bridges span distant expanses without collapsing? This is before we even look into the natural environment (where incidentally many man made structures have been designed based on support systems inspired by nature).So going back to the good old crane. For simplicity just imagine a standard high rise crane with one vertical leg and a long arm across the top. It is designed to haul loads of thousands of tonnes high into the air with ease. Now just for one minute imagine that the leg of that crane had a kink half way up and the arm at the top was moved off centre. It doesn’t take a huge amount of understanding to realise this is a recipe for disaster and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the crane as soon as it comes under load or tries to move.At this point I want you to imagine that our bodies are that crane, our spine is the leg, and our arm is the arm. When we know how to stand well, to control and maintain a neutral spine position and structural integrity from the ground up our bodies can be incredibly strong, powerful and efficient. But introduce that leg kink (as a bend in the spine), or an off set lifting arm (a shoulder joint that is permanently internally rotated) then we immediately lose our integrity and our potential power and strength is significantly diminished. Load up your body whilst in this state and you’re asking for damage, and the pain and weakness that follows.Whilst biomechanics is an infinitely diverse and complex subject, with more varied parameters and environmental influences to take into account, it still easy to understand why structural integrity is so important in order to maintain an efficient and strong body.One school of thought says that physical therapists, personal trainers, chiropractors and osteopaths should all be working with the same goal in mind. To restore or maintain the natural function and ability of the human body in order that we are able to live as strong, capable, and pain free as possible contributing to overall healthy lifestyle.I have seen time and time again that by correcting peoples movement patterns and eliminating damaging habits and dysfunctions that clients are able to workout, perform well in sports and enjoy a happy and healthy life. For this reason I urge you to embrace structuralism within your training program in order to see the most effective and longest lasting results .
Is Our Poor Mobility and Hip Instability as Big as the Rise of Diabetes in the Modern World?
So what if you can’t touch your toes? Everyone over the age of 30 has a groaning sore back, knee or hip, right? Our poor mobility has long been brushed off as unimportant as we just don’t associate this lack of mobility, especially in our hips, as causing any major health issues. However, science shows that restricted hip mobility has strong correlations to back, spine, hip and other musculoskeletal issues in the lower extremities that can stretch up the kinetic chain of our bodies. Additionally, it also impacts athletic performance as this inflexibility can cause early muscle fatigue. Hip instability also throws us out of our natural movements by displacing our posture and throwing our bodies out of balance. Related: The importance of staying in motion. This instability in our hips is the bi-product of our sedentary lifestyles, specifically sitting. The long standing repercussion of this immobility means that we become more prone to malaise and other conditions associated with being sedentary putting this type of issue on par with the rise of conditions like type-2 diabetes. People every year visit their doctor’s and look for prescriptions and treatments to alleviate all sorts of pain and issues without actually addressing the issue itself, poor mobility, posture, and hip instability. Related: Has sitting become worse than smoking? For example, anterior pelvic tilt is a change in posture that is a common cause of lower extremity pain, misalignment, and injuries. Anterior pelvic tilt happens when certain muscles in your hips shorten and other lengthen causing the pelvis to rotate forward as well as rise.
Has sitting become worse than smoking? Prolonged sitting has become the crisis of our modern age
Smoking is undeniably bad for your health and wellbeing but over the last 30 years this knowledge has become common sense so that more and more people are abstaining from this dangerous addiction or are taking the tough but worthwhile road to quitting. However it seems that one crisis has been replaced by another and you’re likely doing it right now. Sitting. Lounging. Relaxing. Call it what you will, our modern world of sitting and being inactive for extended periods of time is proving to cause a number of alarming issues.Sitting is not our natural state. As humans, we are meant to be walking and in motion and prolonged sitting is seriously stressing our physiology in a number of ways. Not only does it create issues with our mobility, sitting has been shown suppress insulin production as well as the enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that’s turning bad cholesterol into good cholesterol. This explains some of the reasons why sitting is associated with an increase in diabetes and heart disease. An additional study even found that those who spent the most time sitting faced this string of deadly statistics: “112 percent increase in diabetes, a 147 percent increase in death from cardiovascular events, a 90 percent increase in death from cardiovascular causes, and a 49 percent increase in death from all causes.”Related: The Importance of Staying In Motion EverydayThe comparison between smoking and sitting came from an Australian study done in 2012 that suggested that an hour of sitting shortens a person’s life by 22 minutes, whereas one cigarette reduces a person’s life by 11 minutes. This study created a media craze that brought further attention to this much needed topic. However, this hype also prompted further studies that ultimately determined that smoking and sitting cannot objectively be compared but that both are invariably bad for you, with smoking likely being much worse. What the media craze did bring attention to however, is that sitting is now the health epidemic of our time, especially when you think about the fact that not everyone smokes but everyone sits. What’s more is that even those who are reasonably active are still at risk. As some studies suggest that regular exercise it isn’t enough to offset the extensive amount of sitting that we do. So what can we do about it? Sitting, relaxing, or bingeing on your favourite Netflix show doesn’t have to be a death sentence if it’s done sensibly. The recommendation is to move every 30 minutes as well as keep up with a regular exercise regime in order to counter the effects of prolonged sitting. Something as simple as getting up and going for a brief walk or stretch can help, unless however, that walk is to go out for a cigarette. Related: This One Activity Should Be Your Biggest Daily HabitChange is gradual, just like our attitudes towards smoking, so an attitude shift needs to take place on a personal, corporate, and cultural level in order to fully address these issues. If you work at a desk, see where you work stands in terms of taking activity breaks or looking into exercise items likes walking treadmills or standing-desks. Look into starting a functional fitness training regime that will help with your mobility and fitness activities. You can also start by making individual choices to move more, like take a walking-meeting or lunch, taking the effort to walk to bathroom furthest away from your desk, walk over to your co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email, or even just standing up an stretching at regular intervals. Any additional movement you add to your routine will help in establishing lifelong healthy and functional habits.