Tag Archives: lifting

Active Exercise Recovery

You train hard and recovery is an important part of that program.  Recovery is important for many reasons.  Recovery allows the body time to adapt to a workout program.  It allows time for the body to repair tissue that has been damaged working out as well as replenishing depleted energy stores.  It also allows the body the rest required to keep from over training and eventually burning out.

Active recovery really means a day off – from your program.  That means that you take a day to live your life actively or doing a workout that is less intense.  This could be walking the dog, enjoying a yoga class, going for a swim or bike ride, hiking, stretching, or even grabbing a foam roller for some much needed self-myofascial release (SMR).

Rest and relaxation refers to the down time away from training altogether, allowing the body the needed time to do those tissue repairs, strengthen, and replenish.


Setting SMART Goals

Setting a SMART goal is more than just something you think is manageable, a SMART goal has defined parameters.  Goal setting is a major piece to the fitness puzzle,  It provides you with direction, motivation, and a vision of what you want to achieve.

SPECIFIC – Set a specific goal, for example instead of saying you want to “run better”, focus on a specific piece of the puzzle.  For example, running for a longer amount of time (45 minutes instead of 30), or running at a quicker pace (move from 5.0 to 6.5 on the treadmill).

MEASURABLE – by setting a specific goal, you have unknowingly set a goal that is measureable.  Staying with the running example, running faster, longer or at an incline are all things that you can track and watch your progress.

ATTAINABLE – Choose a goal that is something you can physically achieve.  I have severe arthritis in my knee, I’d love to be able to do higher box jumps, however I know that this isn’t the goal for me.  Keeping my quads as strong as possible without high impact is something that is attainable for me.

REALISTIC – Realistic and attainable sound like the same thing, I like to look at “attainable” as big picture. Realistic can be a breakdown of mini goals within that large goal.  Small realistic goals are stepping stones to reach that finish line.  For example, adding five minutes to your run every two weeks.

TIMELY – give yourself a realistic timeline to accomplish your goal; setting too quick of a time line can set you up for failure.

Remember that the pieces to this puzzle can be adjusted at any time.  You can add to your goal, adjust your timeline.  Making sure that whatever you adjust is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be completed in a timely manner will ultimately lead you to success.

Machines VS. Free Weights

Any workout program you choose, any training style you choose, resistance training (weight lifting) is beneficial to you.  There are two ways to accomplish resistance training, Machines vs. Free Weights.  Machines are stationary, usually plate loaded or have a weight stack and pin system for choosing the amount of weight you wish to lift.  “Free weights” is a broader term, and refers to things like dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, body bars, and body weight resistance tools such as a BOSU, stability ball or TRX.

Which is better?

Well that depends.  Both have a role in training, and it really depends on what you are looking to accomplish.  Stationary machines are a wonderful tool for beginners, and they help to teach the body about postural awareness, what an exercise should feel like and where exactly you should be feeling it.  Machines are also useful for intermediate and advanced lifters, as they work to isolate specific muscles or muscle groups.    Machines may also facilitate the ability to lift more weight, as you are more stable and controlled.  Stationary machines hold your posture, thus they take out the necessity to have an advanced body awareness, and it can be easy to forget to activate your core muscles. Because a weight machine keeps the body in a stable position, it usually only works the muscle in one plane of motion at a time.

Free weights generally require heightened body awareness, as proper posture and core activation will reduce the risk of injury.  When beginning to lift with free weights, you can start by doing many of the exercises seated as opposed to standing which keep a greater amount of control.  Seated vs standing free weight exercises also allows for heavier weights to be lifted safely.   Moving to dynamic equipment such as a TRX suspension system, a greater awareness of proper posture and core activation is recommended. Free weights also train the body in more than one plane of motion at a time.  The body moves dynamically, and free weight training is more functional in terms of movements in every day life.

There are definitive benefits and drawbacks to both – mix it up and try something new.  Remember that if you need help with any of the topics discussed, spotting, or an idea for a different exercise, please ask us!

Kettlebell Workout Routines

Kettlebells have been around for decades and been used primarily in Eastern Europe for strength training. Kettlebells bring us back to the idea that fitness means the body’s ability to work well as a whole.

The entire body is needed to control and lift the kettlebell–large groups of muscles are engaged at the same time. It works the core hard leading to better stability and overall strength.

“Just like fashion trends come and go, same can be said about workout trends. Hundreds of years ago Russian bodybuilders were using cannonball-like equipment for strength training. Little did they know then that their workouts would be turned into classes in gyms across the globe 300 years later. The reason kettlebell workouts are so popular is they provide strength training, cardio, balance and flexibility all in one short workout.” Nancy Howard

Check out these 6 kettlebell workouts sure to bring you results found on the Daily Spark website.

Should I do Cardio Before or After Weights?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the gym is, “should I do cardio before or after I lift weights?”

Well the answer is not as clear cut as you think. Trainers, fitness experts, exercise physiologists and scientists are all still debating if it is better to do cardio before or after your resistance training session, if you were going to do both on the same day. There is very little peer reviewed literature on the subject, so what should we all do?

Well everyone needs to be their own scientists and figure out what works for them.

What I find when working with a lot of my clients is if my clients does an intense cardio session at the beginning of their workout they expend a lot of energy and they cannot lift as heavy or as intensely as they would normally be able to if they just warmed up and then went right to lifting weights.

The same is true for cardio. If one of my clients comes in and has a really heavy and intense strength workout and then tries to do an intense cardio session they don’t have the energy and are not able to go as fast or as long or train at the same level because they have depleted a lot of their energy stores when they were lifting weights.

When it comes to the general public I get them to take note of their goal, (lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger etc…). Then take note of their current program, the order that they do their exercises in, the intensity they are able to train at.

If they want to gain muscle and strength then they should be putting the majority of their energy into their resistance training workouts. If they are training for an endurance race then their focus should be on increasing cardio and endurance.

If you are not training for anything specific it is a good idea to change around your program every few months so that you don’t get bored and so that your body continuously need so adapt to the changing stimuli. Try doing cardio first for a few months then do your strength first for a few months and see if you notice any difference in your goals.

The key is to find out what works for you because what works for you may not work for everyone else.

True or False? Exercise Will Make you Lose Weight.

True or False – Exercise Will Make You Lose Weight–trick question.

FALSE. Exercise enhances weight loss ONLY if it creates a calorie deficit. There is a myth that people who constantly exercise become thin. This just simply isn’t true. How many people do you know who engage in activities that burn TONS of calories, like marathoners, gym rats, or weight-lifting fiends, yet still don’t have body fat percentages that they’re happy with? Probably a few, right?

Another huge misperception that people have is how quickly they can destroy a calorie deficit within only a few minutes of eating a few “harmless” snacks. Many people don’t realize the that in about 30 minutes of moderate to somewhat strenuous exercise, you burn about 300 calories, but that in 3 minutes of little “rewards” for either the great sweat session you just put in or for something completely unrelated like drinks with friends or indulging a sweets craving…those can easily add up to 300+ calories and now you’ve just undone that hard-earned deficit in a matter of minutes. For example, something as seemingly harmless as a Grande White Chocolate Mocha with nonfat milk and no whipped cream…doesn’t sounds that bad, right?

344 calories. There goes your workout right there

If your goal is to burn as many calories as possible, add weight lifting to your program to increase your afterburn. You will burn fat for longer post workout than cardio alone.