Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned gym-goer, beginning any new exercise program should start the same way – safely. There are a few different things you can do to ensure that you are working out in a safe manner.
1. Don’t copy what you see someone else doing. You don’t know why they’re doing it, You don’t know if they’re doing it correctly, or if they have modified it for any reason. Just because someone who looks “fit’ is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your body. Proper execution of an exercise trains the targeted muscle(s). Improper execution can create imbalances and lead to injury.
2. Ask us! Staff in gyms are extroverts, we want to talk to people. We thrive on sharing our energy and enthusiasm for wellness. We’re looking for you and want to answer your questions; we want to see you succeed.
3. Work on the basics – posture, body alignment, core engagement. If you want to do an exercise correctly, these are part of the package that reduces the risk of injury.
4. Get the Sets and Reps right. The number of repetitions within a set, and the number of sets completed makes a huge difference from one program to another. Learn what the difference is between low reps heavy weight, and high reps lower weight – dialing in the correct combo will guide you towards your ultimate goal.
5. Stretch! Most of us are in a rush and want to get as much packed into our workout time, then off we go to the next part of our busy days. Take the time to cool down and stretch, it increases range of motion, reduces soreness in the day(s) to come, and reduces risk for injury.
Not all Fat is Created Equal.
There are two main types of body fat found in our bodies. Ironically, we tend to focus on subcutaneous body fat, which is the softer fat found beneath the skin. This is the fat that we can grab with our hands or skin-fold calipers. Subcutaneous fat is less damaging as it is superficial (closer to the surface), and is less likely to result in major health issues. Visceral fat is the unseen fat in your body. It is found deeper inside the body, around your internal organs. It’s a harder fat and has been linked directly to chronic diseases like heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and some cancers. Visceral fat hides well beneath the surface, we don’t see it, most people don’t know about it, and it’s the body fat we should actually be more concerned about.
Lucky for our health, visceral fat tends to be targeted first during weight loss. Unlucky for our esthetics, the subcutaneous fat we all see is targeted second.
Wellness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
We’re all wonderfully unique. It needs to be known that fitness doesn’t look like anyone or anything in specific. We all have a “best” version of ourselves, and we can’t ask for any more than that. In this delicious fruit bowl we call life, the three basic body shapes are apple, pear and banana.
Apples – you are identified by the majority of your body fat stored in your mid-section. This puts you at the highest risk of visceral fat accumulation, as well as the health risks associated with that.
Pears – you are identified by an accumulation of subcutaneous fat around the hips, buttocks and thighs. Not to say that you shouldn’t be concerned with visceral fat within your body, you are simply at a lower risk than your friend the apple.
Bananas – you are identified by your long and lean frame. Don’t be fooled with the lack of subcutaneous fat, visceral fat may still exist but hidden deep and unseen on your body.
Where your body carries weight naturally can be a factor in determining a lot of things for you. What doesn’t change is how to work with and manage your body type. Put down the junk food and grab an apple, pear, or banana – and get moving!
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