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Proper Techniques and Benefits of the Warm-up and Cool Down

There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down will improve your level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training.  As a result, we encourage you to regard the warm up and cool down as an essential part of both your training session.

Warm Up

Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.  Warming up should at least consist of 5 to 10 minutes jogging/rowing (to increase body temperature) and 10 to 15 minutes dynamic stretching exercises which reduces muscle stiffness (explained below)

Performance may be improved because an appropriate warm up has the following benefits:

  • Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Expedited oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
  • A specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
  • Increased blood flow through active tissues, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
  • Mentally focused on the training  

Dynamic Stretching 

The traditional method of stretching, static stretching, holding a muscle in an elongated, fixed position for 30 seconds or more—could hurt performance if done before a workout.  Static stretching doesn’t improve your muscles’ ability to perform with more strength, power, or improve your range of motion, where stretching muscles in motion using dynamic warm ups does.

Dynamic stretching is active movement that increases your body temperature that gives your joints and connective tissues a range of motion, loosens up muscles and blood flow, which helps them perform better.  Research has shown that this type of stretching not only helps your muscles perform better, but also eases everyday tensions, improves flexibility, and reduces stress induced pain. 

Examples of dynamic stretches 

HANDWALKS – Shoulders, core, & hamstrings

Stand up straight with your legs together.  Bend at the waist and touch the ground, hands flat on the ground if possible.  Keeping your legs straight, walk your hands out forward until your back is almost parallel with the ground.  Walk your feet towards your hands, still keeping your legs as straight as possible. (Think an inch worm.) Repeat 8-10 times. 

STRAIGHT LEG MARCH – Hamstrings & glutes

Stand up straight with your arms out stretched to a ‘t’.  Kick one leg out with your toes flexed upwards to hip level.  Reach your opposite arm to the toe you’ve just kicked up.  Drop the leg, raise the arm back and repeat with the opposite limbs.  Advance this by adding a skipping motion. Repeat at least 8 – 10 times on each leg. 

HIP LEG LIFTS – Low back, hip flexors, and glutes

Swing one leg out to the side, then swing it back across your body in front of your other leg. Repeat 10 times on each side.  Make sure to stand tall with abs contracted.  Feel wobbly? Hold onto a steady object. 

Cool Down

Cooling down should consist of 5 to 10 minutes of jogging or walking which decreases body temperature and removes waste products from the working muscles and 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching exercises

What are the benefits of a cool down?

An appropriate cool down will:

  • aid in the removal of waste products – including lactic acid
  • reduce the potential for DOMS
  • reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
  • allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate

Static stretches are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibers and re-establish their normal range of movement.  These stretches should be held for approximately 30 seconds.

Examples of Static Stretching


  1. Kneel on ground with your front knee at 90°.

  2. Tilt your pelvis back by tucking your abdomen up and in and squeezing buttocks.

  3. Keep your back straight.

  4. Keep your head up.

Repeat both sides


  1. Lie on your back with both hands around one knee.

  2. Pull your knee towards your opposite shoulder.

  3. Keep your head, shoulder and opposite leg relaxed. 


  1. Lie face down on the floor, fully outstretched

  2. Bring your hands to the sides of your shoulders and ease your chest off the floor, keeping your hips firmly pressed into the ground

You will feel the stretch in the front of the trunk.

Next week we’ll begin sharing workouts and more nutrition advice.




My name is Brian Gardner and my wife Wendy and I own Body Shop Fitness in Providence Mt. Juliet TN.  I am a certified Personal Trainer however this article is not about me; it’s about a man that has strong faith and determination.  About 6 years ago I started training a friend of mine named Johnny Black.  Johnny is in no way just a regular person you would run across.  You see, Johnny has Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (EDMD).  This article is being written and released very timely, not because I have been training him approximately 6 years, but because Johnny underwent a heart transplant 10 years ago this past week.  Johnny had heart disease for 11 years but was one of the lucky ones that received a donated heart when he had been on the donor list for only one week; his heart was functioning at less than 10%.  Much congratulations to him as less than 50% of people actually live over 10 years after a heart transplant, much less to have to deal with the Muscular Dystrophy with it!

Johnny came to me to train him because he wanted to ensure a better quality of life than just sitting on the couch and watching TV.  Johnny is an avid hunter and he told me he wanted to be able to carry his gun and gear in and out of the woods, over hills through trails, etc.  Let me start at the beginning – When we started at our gym, Johnny could not get most of the machines going as his legs were not strong enough.  Johnny had a hard time just walking and he could barely hold a weight at all much less complete reps with it.  This was a huge challenge for me and for him.  Johnny started with 250 meters on the concept 2 rowing machine and that was enough cardio for the day.  For weight training, he would lift for a few reps with small dumbbells, I believe 3 pounders.  He then tried a few reps on a couple of the machines with no weight on them, and attempted a few other movements that we thought might work and then called it a day.

Over the next 6 years we made progress on heavier dumbbell curls, machine presses, cable extensions, balance movements, leg isolation movements, treadmill, elliptical, rowing, etc. Johnny even completed a mile and a half row!  Over time his heart condition improved, his blood pressure reduced, he was able to reduce some medications, and he got much stronger, and was even able to put on about 25 lbs of mostly muscle.  You see folks Johnny showed up for all his sessions and even comes to the gym on days he is not training with me.  Johnny has heart, the kind that holds determination, drive and vision.

Now, Johnny hunts whenever he wants, carrying his gear and gun in the woods, and he even purchased a four wheeler to go further in the woods and enjoy his life.  I do not want to mislead anyone as Johnny still has to live with Muscular Dystrophy the rest of his life.  Johnny will never be able to walk around and do things easily like most people such as running up steps, stomping in mud puddles and chasing a kid around.  But, he has made a very bad situation much better and improved his quality of life.

Johnny is an example we should all follow.  Johnny is a Christian and so am I.  Johnny shares with me regularly how God has blessed him and given him time and chances he normally, as the doctors all said, would never have had.  Nothing was handed to him but hurdles, hard times and challenges.  Most of us will never have to endure these hardships.  Thank the Lord each and every day for the blessings you have been given and the hardships you have not had to endure.

I can do all things through Christ through Strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  Congratulations Johnny on your 10 year heart transplant anniversary, it had been my honor to train you these past six years!



“Chi, Chi, Chi, Chia” – Who doesn’t recall the song for the Chia Pet?  Believe it or not the seeds used for the Chia pet have many health benefits.  In 2014, I used them for my first the half marathon for extra energy mid-race rather than using the goo gels laden with sugar.  Preparation was simple – I soaked a TB of chia seeds in about a TB or so of water and made my own goo.  I have to admit, I added some cinnamon for flavor too which also has health benefits.  So, what are the health benefits you ask?  Chia seeds promote:

  • Heart Health
  • Increased Energy Levels
  • Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Boost Mental Sharpness
  • Anti-Aging
  • Regulated Blood Pressure
  • Reduce Menopause Symptoms
  • Improved Digestion
  • Bone Health
  • Mental Health
  • Control Of Type ll Diabetes
  • Prenatal Health
  • Breast Health
  • Better Complexion
  • Improved Sleeping Patterns

These health benefits are related directly to the following nutrition values: 100% more Omega-3 Fatty acids than Salmon (my inflammation was low post run), 6 times more iron than Spinach, Double the antioxidants found in blueberries, 64% more potassium than a Banana (I never got cramps during the half marathon), 41% of your daily fiber, more than flax seed, 6 times more calcium than milk, 32% of your daily magnesium, more than broccoli.

I was surprised at my quick recovery post marathon, which I attribute directly to the chia seeds, well, and of course my peanut butter banana sandwich post run.  Chia seeds have over 27 key nutrients, contain over 9 essential amino acids and they do not contain any trace of cholesterol, which makes them perfect supplements for people who are looking for food items that are friendly to the heart.  Even though I used the seeds most recently as a gel, chia seeds are also ideal for anyone that is too busy to monitor their daily nutritional intake.  If you want a health boost but don’t have enough time to prepare nutritious meals, you can add a teaspoon of seeds to your breakfast oats or your favorite low sugar morning cereal.  You can also add them to any baked goods.  For only forty-one calories in a single serving of chia seeds, when it comes to monitoring your daily nutrition, there is no guesswork.  Just in case you wondering, you can buy them at most nutrition and grocery stores.  Also, one of my favorite restaurants (First Watch) has a yummy special right now that includes coconut milk and chia seeds as a pudding – the AM Super Bowl.  Enjoy and let me know what you think on our Facebook page – BodyshopMJ.



Monday – Self-Defense (6:00 pm)

Monday- Bag Class (7:00 pm)

Wednesday – Yoga (6:00 pm)

Thursday – Self-Defense (6:00 pm)

Thursday – Bag Class (7:00 pm)

Saturday – Boot Camp (10:00 am)

Saturday – Strength Camp (12:00 pm)