Psssssst! Just in case you noticed and thought last month's newsletter lacked some luster, let me splain Lucy. See, what happened was I was building the newsletter and inadvertently hit the wrong button and voila! The newsletter slipped through my grasping fingers and went out to all my devoted readers before it was actually finished. Hence, therefore, and thusly, it went without start and finish pictures of the exercise o' the month and no bells and whistles like nifty links and such and no new Ponder Pond. For this I humbly beg your forgiveness and vow to try really, really hard to never let that happen again. Hey, it's the first time in 23 issues (wow, that's almost 2 years I've been writing this) so I guess that's not too bad. However, I felt it was worth the mention. Okay...enough about that...on with this month's newsletter!


By clarifying its meaning we can more easily break fitness down into attainable goals.

Physical fitness may be defined in many ways. The FIVE COMPONENTS OF FITNESS and the short version of their definitions are as follows:

Cardiovascular/Cardiorespiratory Endurance - The capacity of the heart-lung system to deliver an adequate oxygen supply for sustained energy production. Also known as aerobic fitness. Example: Walking or running on a treadmill as shown below.

Muscular Strength - The amount of force that a muscle can produce in a single, maximal effort. Example: Performing one dumbbell shoulder press using the heaviest weight you can possibly lift.

Muscular Endurance - The amount of force that a muscle can produce repeatedly against resistance, i.e., performing a set of 12 repetitions of a dumbbell shoulder press; or to hold a fixed or static contraction, which is also known as an isometric contraction, i.e., holding the dumbbells over the head as demonstrated in the above picture over a period of time.

Flexibility - The range of motion possible about a joint, as I am demonstrating with the triceps stretch below.

Body Composition - The ratio of body fat to fat-free (lean) mass in an individual. In other words, the amount of fat compared to bones, muscle, organs, etc.

In order to achieve optimum health and fitness in these five areas you must incorporate consistent exercise into your lifestyle. There are a few fundamental principles of exercise that must be adhered to in order to progress safely and effectively with any exercise plan. Furthermore, it would be impossible to truly understand the definition of fitness without the inclusion of these essential principles.

The definition of fitness would be remiss without the following list and discussion of the basic fundamental principles of exercise.

  • One should incorporate a structured exercise plan that aims at a good balance of training each of the fitness components.

  • It is necessary to use progressive intensity as you train to bring about improvement.

  • It is also imperative to take appropriate time off or rest between sessions to allow recuperation and growth to take place.

  • Any type of fitness training, whether it is aerobic, strength, or flexibility training, is based on what exercise physiologists call the overload principle. To train any of the body’s systems, such as the cardiopulmonary or musculoskeletal system, we must make it work harder than it is accustomed to working.

  • A major fundamental principle in training for optimal fitness is specificity of training. In other words, each component of fitness is conditioned or trained in very specific and differing ways.

    The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that optimum physical fitness is a condition resulting from a lifestyle that leads to the development of an optimal level of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility, as well as the achievement and maintenance of ideal body weight.

    Because training is specific, as described above, an individual must participate in cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercise to achieve optimum (balanced) physical fitness.

    Now that we have discussed the definition of fitness, we are better prepared to delve further into the details of each component of fitness so that we can actually implement these principles and ideas into a safe and effective fitness plan.

    To learn more about each of these components of fitness, go to and click on the appropriate nav bar on the left side of the page.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Don't forget to check out my weekly Fitness Column in the SunConnect that comes out every Wednesday. It's called "The Trainer's Edge" and aside from the crappy, oversized picture, which I have no control over, I am quite pleased and proud to have this opportunity to write and be heard. Please be sure and check it out and tell all your friends about it! Thanks so much!!

    This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

    Everyone wants better chest development, right? Nothing puts the cut in the chest like this defining move. Just try it for a few weeks and see for yourself! :)

    Cable Crossovers
    Primary Muscle Group Worked:
    Secondary Muscle Group Worked: Biceps, Shoulders.

    To see a video of this exercise click here.

    Preparation: To get yourself into the starting position, place the pulleys on a high position (above your head), select the resistance to be used and hold the pulleys in each hand. Step forward in front of an imaginary straight line between both pulleys. Your torso should have a small forward bend from the waist. With a slight bend in your elbows in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon, extend your arms to the side (straight out at both sides with palms facing forward) in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. This will be your starting position.

    Execution: 1) Exhale as you pull your arms together in front of you keeping elbows locked in a slightly bent position and pause and squeeze your chest muscles as you cross your hands in front of you. (This move resembles the strong man or the crab pose bodybuilders use.)
    2) Return your arms back to the starting position as you inhale. Make sure to use the same arc of motion used to lower the weights.
    3) Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
    Tip: Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms and torso should remain stationary; the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
    Variations: You can vary the point in front of you where your arms meet.

    Do not bend and straighten the elbow! This allows the biceps to cheat. Keep them locked in a slightly bent position throughout. Always, always, always go slow and controlled! Remember form and technique trump heavy weights any day of the week, so keep this exercise light enough that you can execute perfect form. Choose a weight that makes the last two of 8-12 reps very challenging yet still doable in good form.

    Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

    If you have never meditated maybe this video will help you see why you should. If you already do, you will be inspired to keep it up. Enjoy!

    Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

    If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

    And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

    From my heart to your health,

    Linda Burke, CPT

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