Healthy Training Experiences - 8 Key Exercise
Components To Follow
people have joined the fitness frenzy which I call necessity. With
awareness higher than ever on health, wellness and overall lifestyle
change many individuals are taking advantage of the overwhelming
choices that exist to get you fit, but are these individuals properly
armed to make their exercise experience a safe and effective one?
Besides the actual training, the demand of proper form and technique,
the required knowledge of variables such as sets, reps, and weight
percentage there is more. The subconscious details such as proper
hydration, pre and post workout fueling, warm up, cool down and
things like that are all going to affect your training plus how
you feel during and after your training.
Some people never realize why their sessions are less than enjoyable,
and find themselves forcing into the gym to get that training in
yet possibly resulting in injury or mild discomfort from hunger
or lack of energy, just to name a couple of examples. These small
details can make or break your exercise experience. Injury can put
you out for months!
1) Proper hydration is the number one rule normally broken.
We are all told how we should get a minimum of 8 glasses of water
per day, but no one ever notices the word "minimum" which
is the key. In reality 2 to 4 liters is best, and if you are a caffeine
drinker, pop drinker or intake sugars through fruits or fruit juices
then you should go for the high end water intake. We need water
just to function properly, but once you factor in the digestion,
activity (loss of fluid through sweat) and excretion you need much
more than 8 glasses and are selling yourself short by far! First
tip is to eat your fruit not drink it, just stick with water for
fluid, and if you can't drop caffeine or pop then cut it down as
much as possible, you will notice a marked difference in your daily
life let alone the training part of it. Once you are thirsty you
are dehydrated and it's already too far, your urine should not be
dark yellow or smell since that is another sign of lack of hydration.
Imagine how this affects your exercise?
2) Pre and post exercise fueling also confusing? If you
train early in the morning and are looking to burn fat you can eat
after your training, and one of the prime choices of athletes is
oatmeal, although there are other alternate grain cereals that are
great, but for those avoiding milk, oatmeal is the way to go since
it is lowest in fat and simple to prepare. Eating right before you
train for most is not a comfortable feeling and can cause some stomach
discomfort, so for the most part you should give up to an hour to
let the food settle, but walking is a great way to settle food and
is a very passive activity as well as a good warm up before you
work out. If you are not looking to burn any fat then you need to
fuel in order to train. Aside from the many carbohydrate drinks,
energy bars and shakes available, you can always go with something
as simple as a handful of trail mix and a banana. After your workout
is an even better time to replenish your carbohydrate stores with
the above mentioned shakes, bars or some replenishing electrolyte
drinks. You should also get some protein in after training, low
fat choices are best. One suggestion is a blended mixture of protein
powder, a banana pre frozen, a teaspoon of light peanut butter or
sprinkle of cocoa with some milk or yogurt (soy milk or soy yogurt
is even better). If you stick to whole foods you can't go wrong.
3) Warming up is one of the most commonly left out practices
in exercise and weight training. Light cardio is the easiest way
to fit in your warm up before you begin to train, but there are
so many other choices such as doing abdominals first, or using common
movements such as skipping rope, jumping jacks, and on the spot
jogging. The reason warm ups are such an important factor is to
prevent injury to the cold rested muscles and to prepare the cardiovascular
system for the increase in movement by getting the heart pumping
and blood circulating thus warming up the muscles and joints in
preparation for the exercise to come. Your warm up should be no
less than 5 minutes or as long as it takes to get a light sweat
on the forehead or brow.
4) Cool-downs are just as essential as warm ups, again to
avoid injury and bring down the heart rate safely avoiding possible
light headedness or fainting. The most popular form of cool down
is light cycling followed by stretching which is also not done religiously
but should be. Taking a minimum of 10 minutes for a cool down is
your safest choice. Stretching should never be skipped especially
to avoid post work out fatigue in the muscle since stretching helps
promote circulation and removal of lactic acid build up which is
a normal occurrence (waste product which is the result of the energy
used to by the muscle).
5) Lose the pride. Here is a mistake we all make. We are
unsure of an exercise or see someone doing an exercise we have never
tried or been taught and wish to try it. The answer here which you
have all probably guessed correctly is to ask. Research exercises
before jumping into it. Most of us don't because we are ashamed
that we don't already know how to do it, which is so silly, or we
are afraid and intimidated to ask. Get over it, the only person
you will hurt is yourself if you do it wrong, so rather than fear
some harmless pride swallowing you should fear the pain of injury
and the blow your ego will take when everyone sees you hurt yourself!
I, as most trainers, am always available for answering just these
types of questions so use my expertise rather than injury yourself.
6) Adjust your equipment. Don't assume you will fit the
machines as well as the last guy. There are adjustable settings
for seat height, incline and decline. The pectoral deck usually
has adjustments to bring the pads further forward if you have tight
shoulders. The knee pads adjust on the lat pull machine. The height
of the thigh support on the hyper extension is adjustable, so make
use of these options, and if you are not sure then consult the weight
room instructor, after all you pay to use the facility and for a
minimum of at least these simple equipment questions.
7) Rest. Adequate rest can vary from person to person but
you can still train 6 days per week and rest the muscles used for
up to 48 hours. Training 2 days on and 1 day off is the most common
combination in my experience of personal training. How ever you
plan your session out make sure you utilize proper rest between
the days that the muscles are trained and between the sets of the
exercise. Rest between exercises is also suggested in larger bouts
than the rest between sets. Even circuit training which is a number
of exercises (on average 8) done non-stop (1 set of each exercise
consecutively) still needs a rest period after each large bout.
Without proper rest the result could be overtraining, muscle loss,
injury, and fatigue in exaggerated form.
8) Use spotting for your more intense training. There is
no use in attempting overload at the border of failure without a
proper spotter. If you are an experienced weight lifter with a couple
years of training under your belt and are looking to start some
training that requires heavier loads then you must ask someone to
spot you. Ask a friend to come along who has some experience in
training or make an appointment with a trainer, you can't lose.
There is nothing wrong with higher intensity training, but you can
pretty much count on hurting yourself if you try any of this lifting
alone without a wary spotter watching your form and ready to help
with the lift or even take over. You should only overload to a weight
you know you won't drop.
These are just some of the most basic tips that will make your
exercise sessions productive. Results are the product of a well
thought out plan that is executed successfully. Apply these 8 key
components to your program and feel the improvement within weeks.
Exercise will be a part of your lifestyle just as is eating so you
may as well do it effectively to your advantage.