What is the Pressor response?

Hi FP50 readers.  I learned about an interesting term recently that I wanted to share with you. Group Fitness Instructors know of this phrase, I’m sure but I had not heard about it before and it is called the “pressor response”  The pressor response is the nervous system’s reaction to stress put on the body.  This also applies to exercise stress, such as resistance training exercises, particularly isometric exercises or those where the muscle(s) are contracted and held steady without physically moving the body parts against the resistance.  An example of an isometric exercise would be the bicep curl held in the upward phase of the movement or the plank wherein we are contracting our core muscles and holding the body steady.  So what happens with the pressor response is that the heart rate rises disproportionately in reaction to the particular stress being put on the body.

So why do I bring up the pressor response anyway? Have you ever taken a group fitness movement class where you engaged in certain types of exercises that made you feel woozy or light headed? One exercise in particular comes to mind where the pressor response may be invoked is those where you  have to keep your arms raised above your head for a prolonged period of time, like “switch lunges with arms raised steady overhead”

I was just reading in my ACE GFI manual how important “control and balance” are in group fitness movement classes  because it is key to making sure class participants have “kinesthetic awareness” or a sense of where they are in their time and space around them and control their bodies in that space. And there are certain exercises that should be avoided or modified to avoid the “pressor response”.  So for example, getting back to those switch lunges with the arms overhead, instead of keeping the arms steady overhead, one can move the arms in momentum with the legs to help with control and balance.  It is better to move the arms and legs in a momentum to actively engage all the muscles. So while one may think it is better to challenge the body by eliminating one of the control resources, it also compromises the correct form, which increases risk for injuring oneself.  So I think I am a new fan of modifying certain exercises not only to avoid the pressor response but also to ensure physical control and balance of the movements.

So I am thinking of another exercise that I would modify and that would be the overhead isometric shoulder press with a squat.  Instead of making it one movement (squat while holding the dumbbells still overhead), I would break the move up into two: 1) go into the squat holding the dumbbells at shoulder level  2) then press the dumbbells up overhead after coming up fully from the squat.  That way you don’t hold the arms overhead for the entire movement (safer) and the movement is controlled and in sync.  Sigh, you learn something every day.  Back to the drawing board….



Teaching A Group Exercise Class. (2011). In C. Bryant, Ph.D., FASM, D. Green, & S. Merrill, M.S. (Eds.), ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual, A Guide for Fitness Professionals (Third ed.). San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise.


My FP50 Online Personal Trainer

Hey everybody! When you get a chance, be sure to check out my new website called MYFP50 Trainer.  It’s a work in progress but it’s going to be your one stop shopping for connecting with me for one on one personal training and online customized fitness programs.  For right now you can start by booking your sessions and paying.  You can also download health history forms and trainer agreement form from the website.  There is a timetable for classes. But the most exciting thing is going to be the customized fitness programs that will be available to paid subscribers.  Don’t worry, the cost will be affordable. I want to afford access to fitness for everyone!  This is going to be awesome.  Subscribe to the website today so I can keep you updated.  Go to MYFP50 Trainer.com today!

Fats Get Bad Rap

So I’m studying for this monster of a test folks, reading about fats and what they do for us. I realized that fats really get a bad rap, don’t you think?. I thought I’d share some things I learned about fats.nbsp; Some of it you may like; some, not so much.

Fats are essential to the body for important bodily functions, such as the ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E K, which are very important for cell growth and development. Fats also provide structure to our cells and protect our bodily organs AND provide insulation AND endurance energy. Ok, now that you have the lowdown on fat next time you’re thinking of going on that low fat diet, consider the aforementioned and below.

There are good fats and there are bad fats. The bad fats also called saturated and are solid at room temperature, like palm, coconut oils, butter and some dairy products. There are also the dreaded TRANS-fats, which start out good (unsaturated fat) but then through a process called hydrogenation wherein the oils are heated up intensely and hydrogen atoms literally change the oil and remove any and all good properties. What remains is an altered-state of the oils to make them solid at room temperature. If you look on a food label and you see the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated”, turn and run as fast as you can.nbsp; Look for unsaturated oils (liquid at room temperature), such as canola oil or olive oil and vegetable oils. But be careful please. Remember that you  can change the properties of unsaturated fats to transfatty oils just by heating up. That means they lose health benefits and you are left with artery clogging gunk. 

I hope I cleared up the myth about all fats being bad. As for me, I have steered clear of the crackers, chips, pretzels, microwave popcorn, doughnuts, cookies, etc.nbsp; and processed foods aisles in the supermarket since 2011 when I had my epiphany and decided to take ownership of my health.nbsp; The one thing I did not know until todaynbsp; is that I can take perfectly good unsaturated vegetable oil (which has the essential lino oleic oil that we need) and turn it into a trans fatty acid right in the comfort of home. Now isn’t that special?nbsp; That was shocking news to me and now I will rethink my cooking methods.nbsp; I also have to find out if this hydrogenation process also occurs with different kinds of oils besides vegetable oil.nbsp; I will keep you posted on my results. Stay tuned as I study more.

Happy Fitness, everyone!


Hey everyone.  Saturdays INSANITY are now at:

Caribbean Soul Dance Studios for the month of June from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.  I will advise the schedule for July soon.

Caribbean Soul Dance Studios

682 Summit Avenue

Jersey City, NJ  07306

Also grab your GROUPON for class before it runs out!


Aging and Muscle Loss (Sarcopenia)

I kind of already knew that as we age, we lose muscle. But folks, I didn’t realize that we start to lose muscle mass (Sarcopenia is what it is called) as early as 25 years old! Yep it’s true. I read it in my Exercise Physiology textbook. Actually the muscle mass loss happens pretty slowly between the age of 25 and 50, declining about 10%. But once the big 50 happens (gulp, I just turned 50!) we start to see a rapid decline. In fact between 50-80 years old we can see an additional loss of 40%. What can we do about this problem? You know the answer I am going to give, and that is: “Resistance Training”. It’s the only known way to keep “age-related muscle loss” at bay. Think about this folks. The faster we get to exercising on a regular basis, the longer we can stay fit and healthy and build and maintain muscle mass. Let’s get to working out and include resistance training in our fitness programs. Let’s do this together!

Core Work

Hey folks, and speaking of the core, here are some core movements you can try at home, starting with a warm up as you see in my video.  Sorry for the music.  I’m starting to get acclimated to Youtube.  I will improve!  But just focus on the visual.  There are 6 movements for the warmup, and 6 Core base exercises.

Happy Fitness everyone!



Finally I’m ready for Youtube

It’s ridiculous because my Youtube channel has been up since 2012 but I never got around to posting videos. But finally you will see my workouts on there. I will be chronologuing my fitness goals, starting with an upcoming Insanity teaching workshop. Here is the link to my hello on Youtube. Feel free to subscribe to my channel!

Thanks everybody!