When you have worked your tail off and you can feel yourself getting stronger, thinner and/or more muscular, life is good! I tell my clients all the time, "You can't walk into the woods for 20 miles then turn around and expect to walk out in 5!" Losing weight and building lean muscle so that you create that body composition change everyone desires takes time and consistency. You MUST make a committment to exercise and make healthy eating choices a part of your daily life.
When an individual has worked hard, kept the comittment and seen the 'fruits' of their labor, it's difficult to get them to change the routine that has gotten them the results, reached the goals and acheived the body they wanted. However, if you do not CHANGE your routine in some subtle ways, the progress and the changes will stop!
The body is an amazingly effecient machine... It hates stress, whether it be mental (stress at work, under a deadline, home alone with the kids, ect...) or physical (working out, resistance training). Your body will strive to find the path of least resistance when under stress. This is called Homeostasis.
Whenever you begin to exercise or start a new routine, the body will not know what muscles to activate in order to overcome the movement. For example, lets say you begin step aerobics and in the first month you lose 10lbs. What is happening is the body is activating your muscles in order to overcome the stress your putting it through. In month 2, your body is beginning to learn what muscles it needs the most and the ones that it may not need to work as hard. By month 3, the body has become efficient at identifying exaclty what muscles should be stimulated and what muscles do not need to be stimulated. This reduces the amount of stress your body is under, but the less muscle you stimulate the less calories your burning thus the less weight you lose.
There are a few set of rules that one should follow in order to keep their routine interesting and effective. These are fail-safe, effective rules that I ALWAYS teach my clients to empower them. You can take these rules to any gym across the world and feel competent and confident in your routine.
Rule #1: FITT Principle
Frequency - How often your working the muscle group. (Days/week)
Intensity - How many reps are you doing. (8-12, 12-20, 20+, 4-8 optional)
Time - The amount of time taken in between sets. (30 secs., 60 secs., 120 secs.)
Type - What type of exercises are your doing.
Follow these rules to maximize your time in the gym. I always tell my clients to make sure your getting "100 pennies on the dollar" when it comes to your time in the gym and this principle is one way to make sure your making every minute inside the gym... COUNT!!
Your body is like the sponge after a workout. You have drained it of all the
I have worked in 5,000 square ft. gyms in small towns and I have worked in 31,000 sq. ft. gyms in cities such as Naples, FL, where I currently reside. The more the scenery has changed the more I have realized that getting fit stays the same. Our bodies have not changed or evolved much in 2000 years or when Jesus walked the Earth. However you believe, we are still carbon-based beings and our muscle, ligaments and tendons still attatch in the same places today, as they did then!
With that said, I have come up with 4 fundamental rules that I educate my clients about. Wherever they may go in their travels, whatever gym across this great country or around the world, if you follow these rules, you will succeed. These great big gyms have SO many pieces of equipment that are really unnecessary. It reminds me of men telling their old high school football stories. Too much information considering the audience (the older we get, the better we were too!). This is why I spend so much time on education as I do the actual workout programming and how these rules were born.
RULE #1: Always do cardio AFTER resistance training. You should warm-up for 5-10 minutes at a moderate pace. Get the body warm and the heart rate up a bit but this is not your cardio session, then you are ready to begin your lifting routine. *Remember: Cardio burns calories at the time, resistance training boosts metabolism.
RULE #2: You must, you must, you must lift weights or at least your body weight. You are more likely to be sore after resistance training than after a walk. When you are sore, your body is burning calories at a higher rate because it is trying to repair what's broken. What does this mean? It means that while you're at work or sitting on the couch, your burning more calories being sore vs. if you were not. Some folks and programs out there are calling this the "Afterburn" effect. Over a longer period of time, cumulatively, you are burning more calories than just walking alone.
RULE #3: Always eat a quality carb and protein source before and after a workout. With no fuel (carbs) in the body before a workout, the energy your body will use is the very same item you are working so hard to build: MUSCLE. Put fuel in the tank so the vehicle can run efficiently. Think about washing your car and that process when planning your post-workout meal. You have a pail full of water and suds and you dip the sponge into the mixture and then begin to wash your vehicle. Eventually, the water and suds run out so you must take the sponge back to the bucket and submerse it. What happens to the sponge... It SOOOAKS the water and suds up again. Your body is like the sponge after a workout. You have drained it of all the fuel, vitamins and minerals and you have feed it what you want it to soak up!!
RULE #4: When doing cardio, be educated and know what your MHR (max. heart rate) and what your THR (target heart rate) are. There are 3 energy systems the body utilizes and the system that burns the most fat lies in the middle. What does that mean? That means you must work to get your heart rate up and then have "rest" period to allow the heart rate to come down. I say "rest", however, it is not rest but the intensity is less. Your will alternate from 60-120 seconds of "work" to get the heart rate elevated into your range, followed by 120-200 seconds of "rest". Not sure what your MHR and THR will be, check out my blog under the "Burn Fat" category.
Follow these rules and you will maximize your time in the gym.
Outside of poor technique required for certain movements such as squats and many others, there is NO WRONG WAY to work out!
When I say that there is no "wrong" way to workout, it means that as long as your getting your heartrate into your Target Heart Range (THR), you will be burning the maximum amount of fat and calories your body will allow. There is a formula that I use for all my clients when weight loss, tone and even building lean muscle mass is/are the goals. It is very simple and I will break it down for you:
First, find your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR):
(your age) - 220 = X
Second, take the value of "X" and multiply it by 76%-85%:
X(.76) = Y AND X(.85) = Z
Your Target Heart Range will be between Y and Z.... Now, what do you do with these numbers?
Let's say you live near a beach or you just enjoy walking every afternoon. You can get more "pennies on the dollar" with your walk by starting out with your normal pace, after 2-3 minutes speed up your walk to the point where it is going to be a bit challenging to keep this new, brisk pace for the next 60-90 seconds. After 60-90 seconds, slow back down to your normal pace for another 2-3 minutes. During the "normal pace" time, check your pulse by counting the number of beats that is in 15 seconds:
X (15) = your heart rate (HR)
The goal is to push your heartrate into your THR during those 60-90 seconds, then allow yourself 2-3 minutes to recover and catch your breath.
Using this formula, I was able to help a client LOSE MORE THAN 100 lbs. in 10 months!!!!! Her picture and story will be posted in the testimonial section very very soon.
I have given you guys a lot of information and to avoid OVERLOAD, I want you to work on that for the week and for my next blog, I will explain why your efforts may be in vain without using this method which is also called, INTERVAL TRAINING!
Thank you and Don't be lazy today, Lift something and give a hug!
Email with any comments or questions.
Chris R. Williams
I currently live in Naples, FL with my wife and our four children. I have been a personal trainer for 17 years and have worked with over 500 clients over that time span with varying goals. I am certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine(NASM) and studied Dietitcs/Nutrition at Lamar University. My clientale has included world ranked boxers and world champion ball room dancers all the way to regular folks like me and you. My focus has shifted in the last six years to those with balance and stability issues, as well as muscle atrophy due to a sedentary lifestyle.
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