Proper Breathing During Strength Exercise

When exercising, it is important to select the appropriate resistance, use proper posture, and select the correct number of sets and repititions. To obtain the best results from your exercise routine, these are required. One important topic that often is overlooked for best results is properly breathing during your strength exercise routine. Proper breathing during strength exercise can, however, improve overall performance, safety, and results.


Before we look at the positives of proper breathing during your strength exercise routine, let’s take a look at the negatives of improper breathing and how it can affect your health and safety. The greatest mistake is to hold your breath throughout your exercise. Some individuals are naturally inclined to hold their breath while straining to lift a heavy object. Without proper breathing, they can experience lightheadedness, dizziness, a dull headache, or in more extreme cases, they may lose consciousness. Holding your breath while lifting a heavy object triggers a reaction in the body that causes blood pressure to increase rapidly. People that hold their breath while lifting a heavy object become red in the face due to the pooling of blood as they strain themselves.


Let’s address what we can do to avoid the negative health effects while also getting great results from our strength exercise routine. The solution is simple but can take time to master. As a personal trainer, I have some clients that understand and utilize proper breathing techniques quickly and others that struggle with the concept. Here is what you want to do: when exerting yourself (concentric phase), breath out, then breathe in as you come back to the starting point of your exercise (eccentric phase). Exhaling during the concentric phase will help avoid drastic swings of blood pressure, and inhaling during the eccentric phase will assure that your muscles receive enough oxygen and will not fatigue as easily during your workout.


When lifting a particularly heavy object, it may also be appropriate to use a technique called the “Valsalva Maneuver.” This technique slightly delays the exhale on your repetition to help create more force. You may hold your breath for the first half of the concentric phase of the repetition while breathing out once during the second half to complete the repetition. The breathing is slightly delayed, but you still must exhale on the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric phase.


Use these breathing techniques while doing your next strength exercise routine and notice your results. I’ve seen several clients notice that their exercises seem easier now than they did when they were not breathing correctly. This can lead to increases of exercise resistance or volume and better overall results.



ACE Health Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer, AFPA Nutrition Consultant, CHES


Want to work with and learn more nutrition, exercise, and how to improve your health? Contact Rick to set up a free consultation now

3 Types of People That Work With A Personal Trainer

Consulting and using a Personal Trainer can be a great way to help meet health and fitness goals. A Personal Trainer helps people exercise and improve their health and can assist you in a gym, outdoors, or even meet you at your home for a workout. There are many reasons that someone may hire a Personal Trainer. Let’s go over a few types of people that would work with a Personal Trainer.


  • Are you brand new to exercise or the gym?

Walking into a gym can be intimidating when you do not know how to use the equipment. There are machines, free weights, and bands that all have specific uses. Each exercise should be performed with proper posture and technique to work the intended muscles and to reduce the risk of injury. A Personal Trainer can teach you how to use all of these types of exercise equipment with safe and proper technique.


  • Do you struggle with motivation?

To reach your health goals it is important to stay consistent with your healthy habits. This means you have to keep yourself motivated long term to stay consistent with your physical activity. For certain people this can be difficult. Starting and stopping your exercise routine will only lead to plateaued results in the long run. Working with a Personal Trainer can help you maintain accountability and motivation in the long term, which will help you reach your goals.


  • Do you find your exercise routine boring and your routine stale?

Maybe you do exercise consistently but you find the same exercise routine dull after months or years. Working with a Personal Trainer can bring ideas to help keep your exercise routine new and interesting. Maybe you are used to using machines and doing body weight exercises but have never tried exercise bands, free weights, plyometrics, TRX, etc. A Personal Trainer can open up new ways for you to exercise that you may have never tried before.



There are many reasons why you would work with a Personal Trainer. If you are currently searching for a Personal Trainer try to find one that makes you feel comfortable, is open to help you reach your health goals, and provides the best service possible. A Personal Trainer can be a great tool to assist you in losing weight, build muscle strength, or help maintain strength into older age.


Contact Rick Adams Health Coaching for Personal Training to meet your health needs.




CHES, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


No Wrong Way to Get Started

We all have our own unique motivations for living a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to exercise, there are many ways people become active, like sports or training with a friend. There is no wrong way to get started being physically active. I had a fairly unique beginning which grew to much more over time.


As a young child, I played sports like baseball and hockey; I never saw that as exercise, and I never trained outside of those sports. I quit playing sports while I was still young and remained inactive for several years. I put on weight and was quite out of shape. (The required one mile run in gym class soon became my nemesis) What lead to my return to being physically active was actually more accidental than intentional.


I was recently asked what inspired me to make exercise a priority in my own life. Honestly, I could not remember how I started being active on a regular basis, but after a day of dwelling on that question, the answer came back to me. In eighth grade, I was a huge sports fan and would watch ESPN as much as I could, especially in the morning before school. ESPN was channel 25, and ESPN 2 was channel 27. I would flip back and forth between the two channels to watch as much sports coverage as possible. As I flipped between ESPN and ESPN 2, I would often see a flash of a bright, beautiful beach that caught my attention. It was channel 26, and I eventually decided to stop and see exactly what it was.


Channel 26 was Lifetime, “Television for Women.” It was Denise Austin’s morning workout show. Whether I stopped for the beautiful beach or the pretty woman, I can’t really seem to remember. I watched it in little bits during ESPN commercials and I began to say to myself, “I can do this.” So I did. I started slowly doing body weight exercises in my bedroom before school. This was the beginning of my regular exercise routine. To this day, some of my favorite core exercises are ones I learned from her shows. After following along in my room for a few episodes, I started to feel stronger and began to look more toned. Probably not how most teenage boys start a regular exercise regimen.


So why share this funny tidbit about my life with you? There is a very important lesson to be learned from this story. As I stated, the beginning of my regular exercise routine was different than many other teenage boys my age. That is exactly the point of this story. There is not a wrong way to get started with your exercise routine as long as it is done safely. Whatever type of exercise you start with is OK, there are so many types of exercise and ways to get started. Whatever way you decide to start can lead to more success down the line. You just have to get started.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


4 Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise

Whether outdoors, in a gym, or at home, exercise can be performed almost anywhere. To be more specific, exercise can be broken down into two basic groups: cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise and strength (anaerobic) exercise. Today we are focusing on cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular means cardio (heart) and vascular (veins). It is your “heart vein” system, you could say. Cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio” for short, can be done through a variety of exercises like running, cycling, jump rope, etc. These exercises require consistent breathing; after all, aerobic does mean “with oxygen”. Let us look at a few of the benefits that can be acquired from cardio exercise.


Improved Heart & Lung Function

The lungs bring in oxygen and the oxygen is then transported into the bloodstream. The heart then pumps the oxygen filled blood to the rest of the body. Improving cardio exercise improves the function of both the heart and lungs. With improved heart function, your heart can work much more efficiently. This often leads to improvements in heart rate and blood pressure. With improving cardio exercise, the lungs can take in and deliver oxygen to the bloodstream, as well as remove carbon dioxide more efficiently. Simply, your heart and lungs can do the same work with less effort and strain.


Weight Loss/ Weight Maintenance

A greater amount or intensity of cardio exercise means more calories burned. The body first uses glucose from carbohydrates as its source of energy. After that source is used, the body begins to use fat stores as energy. This helps the body shed excess weight or maintain a healthy body weight. Burning fat stores usually comes with extended cardio exercise sessions (usually about 20 minutes in a session). Also, some individuals begin their day with cardio exercise before eating breakfast to begin burning fat more quickly into their session. However, you may feel less energetic performing cardio exercise on an empty stomach.


Improved Sleeping Habits

Abnormal quantity or quality of sleep can cause issues in personal and professional life. Cardio exercise puts physical stress on the body, and our bodies use sleep as a time to recharge. The amount of exertion through cardio exercise can help us reach a deeper level of sleep. For some, exercising in the evening can help them fall asleep (I fall into this category). For others, it may energize them and make it difficult to fall asleep. If you have a hard time sleeping after exercise, make sure to plan your cardio exercise for earlier in the day.


Reduced Risk of Injury

Cardio exercise has long been associated with building lean muscle. If you see a runner or cyclist, you may notice they usually are not bulky but do have defined muscles. Cardio exercise helps produce stronger and more flexible muscles that can hold up better without strains and tears. Cardio exercise can also lead to a stronger core (abdominal and back muscles). These muscles control and protect postural muscles. Strong core muscles make it easier to rotate the trunk of your body and avoid a hunched-over posture.



As you can see, there are a wide variety of benefits from cardio exercise. I forgot to mention that you also just might enjoy your cardio exercise as well. As mentioned before, there are a wide variety of exercises that are considered cardiovascular. Find which options you enjoy best and slowly work into it. I am sure you will see some of these benefits, if not more, once you build a steady cardiovascular exercise routine for yourself.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


3 Tips for Anxious People New to Outdoor Group Exercise

With the weather improving in much of the U.S. many Americans will find themselves wanting to get outside and be more active. During Spring and Summer it is easy to find fun events like 5K runs, group biking, or outdoor sports leagues. This can definitely be a great way to get active and meet new people. The problem is it can be difficult getting yourself to participate in these events when not having participated in one before. Some people may struggle with interacting with people they may not know or may be self-conscious they will look foolish if they try something new in front of others. Let’s go over a few ways to get over these barriers.


Bring A Friend

Going to an event alone can be somewhat nerve wracking when you may not know anyone else there. A great way to ease this stress is to bring a friend or family member along with you. There very well could be someone close to you that wants to get more active who would be willing to go with you. Let others know your interest in going to an outdoor event and ask them if they would be interested in coming with you. This also allows you to have accountability with your friend. Building accountability with others helps both of you to follow through with actually going to the events and to push each other to do your best.


Be Humble

If you have to go it alone make sure to keep an attitude of humility at these events. You may not know what to expect the first time at a 5K run, maybe you will not be able to run the entire time, which is OK. It is not necessary to do everything perfectly. Often we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and fear the worst will happen. No one is going to stop and laugh at you. If you meet other people at the event, let them know you have never done this before and this is a brand new experience for you. Often others will help you and give you advice. Take it as a learning experience, be humble, and enjoy yourself.


Just Do It

Overthinking any situation can be detrimental to your success. There will be reasons you tell yourself why you should not go and justify it in your mind. You might feel you are not ready to be physically active around other people or you do have the best equipment, so why bother going. The key is to just get out there and do it. Make sure you understand what you are signing up for and be generally prepared, but do not make it any bigger than that. I understand how it feels to try new activities and feeling nervous about how others may judge or what they might think about me. We often make things much worse in our minds than they are in reality. So just get out there, sign up for that 5K or team sport, and give it a try.


Whatever the outdoor events that you are interested in, get out there and try it. You may find something that you want to continue long term or may encounter a new workout friend. There is a lot to benefit from and little to lose.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Nutrition & Exercise Myths

It can be easy to confuse what exactly are the best foods to eat or exercises to do. There is an abundance of information available online that can both aid and impede the ability to understand the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Different sources you find may even contradict each other. Let’s set the record straight on some common misconceptions and myths in the nutrition and exercise world.


Eggs are Very Bad for Your Cholesterol

The yolk of an egg is high in cholesterol, and that is where the confusion begins. For this reason, eggs were thought of as a food that should be absolutely avoided to have good cholesterol. Later it was found that cholesterol in food does not impact your own cholesterol as much as it was once thought. It is easy to see how this myth was perpetuated for so long. The main dietary culprit of poor cholesterol levels is saturated fats which cause your body to produce more cholesterol. Feel free to have an egg or two in the morning without the worry of damaging your health.


No Pain, No Gain

When exercising, whether it be cardio or strength exercise, it is not uncommon to feel soreness in your muscles after working out. This is especially true of individuals new to exercise. Pain should never be a part of the equation. Pain in your joints during or after exercise is a sign that your form is incorrect or you are trying to lift too heavy of weight. This can cause both short term and long term injuries if not corrected. If you experience these types of pain, try to decrease the intensity of your workout and focus on having the best form possible. Avoid the pain, get the gains.


Sports Drinks are the Best Drink During/After Exercise

Watching commercials and reading ads online would lead you to believe that sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade would be the absolute best drink to have while in the middle of physical activity. In reality, these drinks are more or less glorified Kool-Aid. These drinks do contain the three electrolytes, Potassium, Magnesium, and Sodium, which are depleted in the body through exertion and sweat. Advertising can make it seem that electrolytes need to be replenished much more often than they actually do. The best source of hydration, of course, is water and it has none of the sugar.


There is a lot of confusion for multiple different reasons when it comes to a wide variety of health topics. The main goal of my blogs is to give my readers a better sense of what they can do to live a healthy lifestyle. With so much information available, especially online, try to take the advice of respected, experienced, and reputable professionals. This way, you will be able to understand and control your own health.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant

resolutions podcast

Rick Adams Health Coach on the Evansville Podcast

Enjoy my segment on the Evansville Podcast from January 2017 where we talk about New Years resolutions and important tips to improve your health.

Evansville Podcast



Improving Energy Levels

People often tell me they want to be more active, get more done, and feel better on an average day. However, many say they do not have the energy that they wish they did. If you feel that way, what can you do to boost your energy levels and feel better than you do right now? Let’s break it down.


Our bodies are mostly made of water, and many of the body’s functions require water. If you are not properly hydrated, then your body will not function properly and your energy levels will be low. Recommendations range from 64 ounces a day to half your body weight in ounces a day. Another important factor to consider is not just how much liquid you are drinking, but WHAT you are drinking. Certain liquids may not hydrate you as much as you may think. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means the body flushes out liquid by causing you to urinate more often. Coffee, soda, and tea can be poor choices for staying hydrated. When I was younger, I would drink three to four sodas a day. My energy levels were up and down throughout the day, and I often had trouble sleeping at night. Overall, my energy levels improved when I cut back on the soda (sugar and caffeine) and began to just drink water.

Eating Habits

What you eat can be just as important as the liquids you drink. Certain foods can lead to improved energy levels, while others decrease energy levels. Dark leafy greens offer many energy boosting vitamins and minerals, such as iron. Protein rich foods help keep muscles strong when combined with strength exercise. Certain foods like simple carbohydrates can leave you feeling bloated and tired throughout the day, especially when overeaten. Try focusing on fruits and vegetables early in your meals to fill up more on high-quality foods before your regular meal.


To improve your energy levels, you also need to take into consideration your exercise habits. Being physically active leads to having strong bones and muscles as well as an improved cardiovascular system. Resistance exercise makes your body physically stronger, allowing you to support weaker areas of the body (lower back, knees, and hips.) Cardiovascular exercise helps improve the efficiency of blood flow throughout the body. This means that blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen flow to muscles and organs will improve. The cardiovascular system can now function more efficiently and with less effort. Also, exercise early in the day has been shown for most people to improve energy levels throughout the day.


All of the improvements I have listed above may not matter much without the proper sleeping habits. Most people need the recommended seven to eight hours per night. Everyone is different (I knew a man that only needed four hours a night!), so pay attention to what makes you feel the most rested. Make sure your sleep is as consistent as possible; not only does your body expect the same amount of hours per night but also the same timeframe (Example: 11 pm to 7 am). Lack of proper sleep can lead to general fatigue, lack of energy to perform exercise, mental fogginess, and even increased hunger.


As you can see, there are several areas you can work on to improve your energy levels. I would suggest working on one area at a time. Also, work on the easiest area first. If it might be hard to work on the exercise and eating habits, then focus on the sleep and hydration first. Once you feel it has become a consistent habit, move on to the next area you want to work on. With some dedication you can be more energetic, more productive, and happier.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Health Coach Review: Yoga

This is the first article in a periodic series where I will give my honest opinion on exercises, eating habits, and other health-related activities. These articles will be about activities that are new to me personally and I will share my thoughts on them as a health professional.


Over the summer, I went to a free, outdoor yoga event at a local baseball field. It was a light-intensity workout that lasted about 45 minutes, and I enjoyed it very much. While I was there, I received a certificate for a free week of yoga at a local studio. Since the certificate was good for the rest of the year, I decided to use it in December when the weather became cold.


About a month ago, I started with the intention to try the different yoga classes and attend more than one a day, if possible. They had 30 minute, 45 minute, and one hour classes. The classes were based on yoga basics, power yoga, and Baptiste Power Vinyasa. I noticed quickly how much of a challenge yoga can truly be. Even simple poses like “Upward Salute” were fairly intense when following the correct technique (stretching hands towards the sky, lifting through the torso, shoulders back, and fingers spread apart). It focused not just on improving flexibility, but also strengthening the entire body as well.


Even with just one week of yoga, I could feel specific benefits. I am already a flexible person, but I did notice a slight improvement. I also noticed an improvement to my balance. Yoga can put you into unorthodox positions in which good balance is required. It can be easy to forget that yoga is a form of strength exercise and is a great tool to make your entire body stronger and more structured. Also, I enjoyed the end of our classes were we took a few minutes to lie down on our backs and relax with a lavender water-soaked facecloth resting on our eyes. It was a nice way to calm down and relax after a fairly intense workout before leaving class.


After my week was finished, I realized there are great benefits that people of all ages and abilities can receive from yoga. I believe that people who are not comfortable lifting weights or enjoy conventional gyms would benefit the most from this type of exercise. Due to the amount of stretching, holding poses, and the body strength required, it is also great for improving posture and relieving joint pain by improving joint-supporting muscles. While you are unlikely to bulk up through yoga alone, it will definitely help you become leaner.


Overall, I greatly enjoyed my classes during that week and continue to practice at home on my own many of the poses that I learned. I hope to return soon because I liked having instructors giving feedback in a small group environment. I already have a new yoga mat for when I get the chance to return. If you have an interest in yoga or want to improve your physical activity away from the gym, then have an open mind and give it try.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant


Keeping Up Cardio When the Weather Gets Cold

During the Summer, the days are long and the weather is warm. Going for a walk, run, or bike ride can be a great way to enjoy a beautiful day and perform cardiovascular exercise. It is easy and convenient during that time of year. As we move into Fall, the days become darker earlier and the temperature begins to drop. Many people struggle to keep their cardio consistent during this time of year. Here are some tips to bridge the gap until the weather warms up again.


First, let’s quickly address the simplest solutions. At home, you may have an elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill. While some people may not enjoy using these types of indoor cardio equipment as much as being outdoors, they are convenient ways to keep your cardio routine consistent. If these types of indoor cardio exercise equipment are not available at home, then another option is looking into a gym that does have them. When looking into gyms, always take into consideration the cost, equipment available, and how often you will be able to make it to the gym. If these options work for you, then look no further, you have found a simple solution to your problem!


However, it may not be that simple for many others. Home equipment can be expensive and gyms may be too far away, too costly, or your time is too limited. There are other options available that can be done at home to keep up your cardio routine. Some options include the use of light equipment such as a jump rope or aerobic steps. Other, even simpler, options may require nothing but using your own body. Try burpees (AKA “Squat Thrusts”), mountain climbers, or the classic jumping jack.


The main point is that no matter how dark, dreary, or cold it may become outside, there are many options to still fit in cardio exercise. I often see people who achieve their goals (weight loss, being more active, feeling healthier) when they can be active outdoors just to see them lose those results when darker and colder weather comes in the Fall and Winter. Keep these options in mind this season and continue your routine consistently to reach your goals.



CHES, ACE Health Coach, AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant