There are many ways to generate more energy. Exercise is likely one of the most obvious and commonly used methods. The body is an energy production factory. When we exercise, we create flow. Flow results in the movement of particles throughout the body. When these particles are flowing they bump into one another resulting in a number of chemical reactions. These reactions result in the creation of energy. It’s that easy. Better digestion, muscle contraction, alertness or faster running all result from chemical movement in the form of exercise.
The Coach Approach Program offers a window to your energy levels. The Coach Approach is a program that we offer free to our YMCA members. It supports people, who are not exercising 2-3 times per week or have not been doing so consistently for the last 6 months, to build the habit of exercise.
As a part of the program, you complete the Personal Feelings Inventory before and after exercise at each visit. This inventory is an easy questionaire. Your answers result in a graph that indicates your stress, fatigue and energy levels before and after exercise. The questionaire consistently shows that engaging in exercise lowers stress and fatigue while increasing energy. You will find this outcome occuring within a single 1 hour appointment!
This effect is compounded by how long you are engaged in the program. The full program is approximately 6 months. Each time you come to an appointment you immediately feel better – less stress and fatigue and more energy. This pattern is escalating each and every day as you progress through the 6 months. The benefits don’t end there. The benefits keep on-going and getting stronger as you continue with your lifelong habit of exercise.
So exercise is a critical way that you can naturally increase your energy. Yes, naturally, no sugar, caffeine, cigarettes – nothing added. To compound the effects of exercise, consider nutrition. Nutrition can give a big boost to your energy levels.
Remember, the body is an energy producer. Flow creates the interaction of chemicals within the body. These interactions result in energy. Nutrition effects these interactions in that it is one of the most powerful factors in determining what kind of chemicals are interacting.
“You are what you eat.” You hear this all the time. It’s true. True right down to the molecular level. Every food item is made of different kinds of building blocks. Your body takes the food in and mixes it with different digestive chemicals to break the food down into those simple building blocks. From there, the body arranges the blocks into new patterns to build what the body needs – muscle, bone or fingernails.
How does eating a lot of potato chips make you feel? What about drinking tonnes of alcohol or a big hunk of red meat? These things make you feel lethargic, slow and less alert. This is because of the building blocks that make up these types of foods and drinks.
You are what you eat. When you take these things into your body, they move slowly within you gumming up your system and not creating lively interactions. Imagine a party where everyone has ate and drank way to much. All the people are lying around on the couch or passed out on the floor. There is no dancing happening. Dancing is the equivalent of the lively, good quality, chemical interactions in the body that result in energy production.
To get those quality chemicals that interact well with your internal chemistry to produce energy, you must drink water and eat fruits and vegetables. The building blocks of water and these types of foods are full of life and easily dissassembled and reassembled to fulfill the growing needs of your body. Now your internal party is like having a whole bunch of healthy, fit people dancing within you. The night never ends. The dancing just goes on and on and on…
Want to learn more? Want to learn for FREE? Alberta Health Services is sending a Registered Dietitian to the Saddletowne YMCA this Monday, February 4 to discuss Eating for Energy. The presentation takes place from 7-9pm in Multi-purpose Room 1. You can register for your free space by calling 403-237-2393 or dropping by our Member Services desk. Quote course code number 78604. Space is limited. Sign up now if you are interested in creating an internal dance party!
December is fast approaching and people are starting to get ready for the holidays. In December and January people often go to very different extremes with their exercise programs and nutrition habits. In December many people “slack off” on their workouts and eat whatever they want over the holiday season. In January people those same people are determined to get back in shape, stick with their diet and continue to exercise regularly 2-3 times per week.
If you are a regular exerciser currently, remember that completely falling off the wagon by not exercising and throwing your current diet out the window over the holidays can destroy several months of hard training. The less you slack off the less amount of time it will take to get you back to your pre holiday shape. Even if you reduce the number of days or the duration you spend in the gym to workout, getting there will help you maintain the habit of exercise and you will be able to stay in good health and not lose everything you worked so hard for all year.
If you are not a regular exercise and you thinking about making that New Year’s resolution to start an exercise plan, thinking about starting now. In January there are going to be many new members at fitness clubs that want to start a program. If you want to get a head of the crowd sign up to the gym now, before everyone else does. The holiday season is actually a great time to start a fitness program because gyms are usually quiet so you can establish a routine without being overwhelmed by the New Year ‘s crowed, and it is easier to get in to see a Personal Trainer or Wellness Coach because their schedules usually open up over the holidays.
When it comes to your diet there is no need to overindulge over the holidays but there is no need to not have fun either. It is fine to have that treats now and again but don’t go overboard. Treat your body like a high end sports car and only put the best fuel in your body. If you are looking at making some serous gains in your fitness levels, proper nutrition is key, eat for performance not for pleasure.
I have recently been getting a lot of questions regarding supplements and whether or not people that workout should be taking a supplement to improve their health or performance.
The market is so saturated with supplements nowadays and there are many question on what to take, how much to take, when to take and whether or not to take multiple supplements.
First of all a supplement is only needed if you cannot get the nutrients you require from your regular diet. Taking in extra vitamins minerals or other supplements will not make you healthier or fitter if you are already getting enough. If you do take in more than you need, depending on the supplement your body will store it as fat (in the case of extra protein) or you will excrete it in your urine.
If you think you are deficient in a specific nutrient a registered dietitian can do a diet analysis to see if you are getting all of the proper nutrients, or your doctor can get you some tests to determine if you are deficient in a specific nutrient.
For those of you that still want to take some of the performance enhancing supplements you do get what you pay for. I recommend sticking with known name brands. When you are going to try something new I recommend that you only add one thing at a time into your diet. Record any changes to your body composition or improvements in your fitness level, if any. If you find that the supplement works than you can keep it as a staple in your diet. If you don’t notice any improvement with a particular supplement than you can move on to the next product. If you take in too many supplements at one time and you have never tried them before, you cannot be sure if it was one or more than one product that made the changes. You wouldn’t want to spend your money on 3 supplements but only one is really making improvements in your fitness or health.
YMCA Calgary has two sets of two vouchers to give away to Sesame Street Live ‘Elmo Makes Music’ at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.
How to Enter:
Visit the YMCA Calgary Facebook page. Get creative! Provide a funny short caption (maximum 200 characters) to the Hula Hoop Hopscotch photo. Write your caption in the comments just below the photo.
Vouchers are good for show times:
- Friday July 27 7pm
- Saturday July 28 10:30am & 2pm
- Sunday July 29 1pm & 4:30pm
Deadline to enter is 1pm on Monday, July 23, 2012. Winners (2) will be chosen randomly from entries.
Winners (2) will be announced on the YMCA Calgary blog (link to the posting will be put on the YMCA Calgary Facebook page) by 3pm on Monday, July 23, 2012 and winner(s) will have 24-hours to respond to the blog posting. If winner(s) does not respond to the blog posting within 24-hours, a new winner(s) will be chosen and posted on the YMCA Calgary blog, with another 24-hours to respond.
One entry per person. Vouchers have no cash value. Offer subject to ticket availability. Facebook does not sponsor, endorse nor administer this promotion. Not open to YMCA employees or volunteers.
Many people forget the importance of proper fluid intake, especially in the winter.
When you start to get thirsty you are only about 1% dehydrated, therefore just drinking when you are thirsty can work to replace lost fluid in sedentary people that are in controlled climates and have easy access to water, but is not necessarily ideal. For an athletic population even being dehydrated by 1% can hinder your performance. That is why it is so important to maintain optimal hydration levels when participating in physical activity.
In preparation, you should drink at least 500ml of fluid 2-3 hours before activity and another 250ml 10-15 minutes before your activity. This fluid is needed to achieve optimum hydration prior to exercise.
During the activity, you need to maintain adequate hydration levels. To do this you should have a regular intake of fluid during the activity of around 250ml every 15 minutes. Do not wait until you are thirsty because by that time you are already dehydrated and your performance will suffer. For activities that are less than an hour in duration stick to plan old water as your choice of fluid replacement. For activities that are longer than one hour you can choose a sport drink that is going to replace fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes.
During exercise you do not burn enough fat for any type of noticeable difference on the scale. If you do weight yourself before and after a workout session and you have decreased in weight, you have lost a lot of fluid and you need to re-hydrate. The best way to optimally re-hydrate after your activity is to weigh yourself before and after your activity and for each kilogram lost consume 1 litre of water. Many people mistake the weight lost during exercise as fat loss when it is actually fluid loss. Do not ignore this lost fluid.
Written by Kristaps Petrovs, Eau Claire YMCA Strength and Conditioning Instructor
Runners at all levels should be able to utilize this mode of training and receive significant improvements in their racing times, regardless of where they finish in the pack.
Interval Training Terminology:
Interval: The recovery distance between the bursts.
Repeat(repetition): The fast burst part of interval training.
Energy System: The fuel supply systems that the body employs during various types of (intensity) of exercise.
Anaerobic: Fast, high intensity exercise where you cannot supply enough oxygen to the working muscles and consequently have to stop slow down.
Aerobic: Steady state exercise where you take in enough oxygen to supply the muscle’s demands. This would be running at a pace you can maintain for a long time.
Benefits of Interval Training:
Improves Competition. It stimulates the stress of race pace and conditions athletes for competition
Improves Neuromuscular Coordination. Your nervous system gets used to running at a faster pace.
Less lactic acid accumulation at a given pace. It trains the athlete to run faster and train their body to accumulate less lactic acid at a given pace.
Thermoregulatory system is not as stressed. Body heat does not accumulate as rapidly as during continuous running.
Runners of all abilities can use it. Interval training can benefit almost any healthy person, from beginning exercisers to world-class endurance athletes.
Interval Training–You run shorter bursts faster than you would run a race, with much slower recovery intervals between these fast bursts. This how you get the name “Intervals”.
With recovery intervals, we eventually adapt to sustaining the workload for a longer period.
By manipulating the length of the recovery interval we create the desired training effect. For example, short recovery intervals create an oxygen debt, so we improve faster.
To find your level of performance you need to take the following factors into account: the acronym is DIRT:
D Distance of each fast burst
I Interval, or length of recovery jog or walk between fast bursts
R Repetitions. How many fast bursts we do in one session.
T Time for each fast burst.
Most runners go wrong by using incorrect distances for their fast bursts and/or recovery distance, then wonder why they aren’t improving their times, or their times are getting even slower.
Here are some key guidelines to using intervals successfully:
- It’s important to exercise the right energy system your competitive racing distance stresses. Your fast bursts need to be the correct distance for your main racing event.
- It’s critical you recover completely between interval sessions so your energy reserves are replenished and your muscle tissue has time to recover and rebuild.
- Don’t do too many fast interval bursts in each workout.
- Experiment with adjusting your recovery interval to get the desired training effect for your racing distance.
- Interval training should not become your focal point of your weekly training program. You don’t want to become over competitive with yourself and obsessed with your interval times.
- Establish your limitations with all of the above.
Finding the Right Energy System for your Interval Sessions
Three energy systems can be stressed with interval training:
- Adenosine Thriphosphate-Phosphocreatine (ATP-PC) System if you’re training for very short-term fast energy release activities of less then 10 seconds (like 100m sprints).
- Lactic Acid System, which primary uses glucose as it’s energy source, for events lasting 1-3 min. (such as 400m-1500m).
- Aerobic System which uses oxygen as its catalyst for energy release while burning fats and carbohydrates in events that last longer than 3 min.
Unless you are a sprinter, the ATP-PC system is not worth using in your training. The lactic acid system becomes more important because middle distance runners stress it when they compete. But the main system recreational and semi-serious runners utilize is the aerobic system, they should be between 3-10min.
How to estimate the speed of your fast Interval bursts?
The longer the fast bursts, the slower they need to be because of our limited ability to supply oxygen to the working muscles and to disperse fatiguing byproducts (such as lactic acid) as they build up. So, if you do mile repeats, do them 10-25 sec. faster than your average 5km race pace.
Once you reach 8 or 10x400m repeats comfortably, for example, you can pick up your pace by about 2-3 seconds for following sessions.
General advice for doing your interval workouts.
Many runners waste their time doing 100-400m bursts and wonder why their times don’t improve. They’re not exercising the right energy systems for their racing distance. However, you will get benefits from doing shorter interval bursts. You’ll improve your neuromuscular coordination of running at high speed, which will help you run faster in your races. The disadvantage of shorter faster intervals is that as intensity increases, so do your chances of injury because of the higher impact.
The length of your interval bursts.
Because of the precise nature of the distances and times you’ll be running, interval training is best done on 400m track. How far you should be running in your fast bursts? Distances that stress the aerobic system include 800m (2 laps), 1200m (3laps), 1600m (4laps), and even 2000m (5laps).
How many fast bursts should you do in an interval workout?
The cumulative distance of the fast bursts in your interval workouts should add up to 1,5-2 miles for beginners. For example, a session of 8x400m should be the absolute maximum number prescribed, and that would not be recommended for your first interval workout. You might start with 4 repeats of 400m, adding 2 to that workout next time you do it.
What to do in the recovery intervals?
Walking or jogging, or a combination of the two, is recommended in the interval between your fast bursts. Your first goal is to adapt to the interval workouts by attaining the maximum number of repetitions over these distances. Then, for continued improvement, speed up the fast bursts, or decrease the recovery interval between them.
Decreasing the length of the recovery interval between fast bursts achieves great results, because this does not allow your energy sources (ATP and glucose) to completely resynthesize.
Thus you draw on the emergency back up system, the lactic acid system. Your body adapts to this by tolerating smaller amounts of lactic acid, enabling you to cruise at much faster pace with less lactic acid building up.
How much time is needed to recover from an interval workout?
It’s critical for you to adapt your interval workouts rather let them exhaust you because of the high risk of illness or injury. Allow at least 48 hours between these high intensity workouts, and if you’re over 30 years old, one interval workout a week is sufficient. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue need much longer to recover past this age, as they lose their elasticity and resilience.
December and January are two months where people often go from 2 different extremes with their nutrition and exercise habits.
In December, many people “slack off” on their workouts and eat whatever they want over the holiday season. In January, people are determined to get back in shape, stick with their diet and continue to exercise regularly 2-3 times per week.
If you are a regular exerciser, remember that completely falling off the wagon by not exercising and throwing your diet away over the holidays can destroy several months of hard training. The less you slack off, the less amount of time it will take to get you back to your pre holiday shape.
If you do not regularly exercise and you are thinking about making that New Year’s resolution to start an exercise plan, think about starting now. In January, there are going to be many new members at fitness clubs that want to start a program. If you want to get a head of the crowd, sign up at the gym now before everyone else does. The holiday season is actually a great time to start a fitness program because gyms are usually quiet. You can establish a routine during your holiday time off without being overwhelmed by the crowd in the New Year. Exercise can help relieve some of the stresses associated with the season.
When it comes to your diet, there is no need to overindulge over the holidays but there is no need to not have fun either. It is perfectly fine to treat yourself now and again but don’t go overboard. Treat your body like a high end sports car and only put the best fuel in your body. If you are looking at making some serous gains in your fitness levels, proper nutrition is key. Eat for performance and not for pleasure.
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