Workout smarter not harder

“Chronically elevated cortisol levels can cause weight gain in some people, especially around the abdomen area. … It may sound surprising but training too hard can contribute to high cortisol and actually sabotage your health or weight loss goals.It may be why you are not seeing results from your workouts.” source

I like to keep cardio workouts to 30-45 minutes (shorter bursts for HIIT and Tabata; longer for low intensity steady state “LISS”) and strength/resistance (weight) training to 45 minutes in order to reduce negative impacts of cortisol.

A quick workout

Here’s my quick ~25 minute workout -download the Tabata Pro timer app, set at 1 minute of work, 20 seconds of rest for 3rounds:

  • Push ups
  • Squat to alternating side leg raise
  • Overhead dumbbell crunch to triceps extension
  • Alternating step back lunge with kickthru
  • Chest fly
  • Burpee
  • Reverse fly
  • Wide leg squat to front row

(Ask your doc of exercising is right for you & stop /seek medical attention immediately if you feel at all unwell, dizzy, etc)

Strength training to reduce negative side effects of aging

Have you heard of sarcopenia?  From  (my new favorite book) Choosing the Strong Path, Reversing the Downward Spiral of Aging“: “Beginning in our thirties, every single human being on earth develops a condition, which stealthily and steadily sucks away our strength. Every year we get weaker and weaker unless we proactively work against this default trend. The erosion of our strength accelerates in our 50’s and continues to increase…”

Medical advances have drastically increased life expectancy, but if yours is a mostly sedentary lifestyle, it is not uncommon for the later years to be spent in & out of doctors’ offices and hospitals due to illness and injury (hello, falls & broken hips).

A primary factory in the ability to remain independent, fit & healthy is the preservation of skeletal muscle mass and strength. “Muscles are the body’s primary reserve of amino acids. They are key to the health of our immune system” (think healing, risk of infection).

The notion of prevention is a necessary piece of the health reform debate, with “The World Health Organization estimating that if the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at least 80 percent of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes would be prevented, and more than 40 percent of cancer cases would be prevented”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that “four modifiable health risk behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption – are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases”, also stating that regular physical activity is one of the most important things a person can do to stay healthy.

Fortunately, there is emerging research suggesting that engaging in intense exercise may likely slow, and possibly prevent this decline and resultant conditions (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia). Check out StrongPath.com for a list of fresh, frequently updated research.

The Goal: Fit Method is a thoughtful & attentive step-wise approach with lifestyle modifications, including exercise, to build strength in order to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and improved quality of life. It is important to work with a trainer to identify existing muscle imbalances so you can get the maximum benefit with a reduced risk of injury as well as to develop a customized, balanced plan for achieving life-changing results!

Seriously, if you care at all about being vibrant, healthy and enjoying your last few decades instead of merely existing, you need this book.  If you’re still in your 40’s or early 50’s, it will be easier to start and create positive shifts, but know that it is neither too early nor too late to start.

Say What? Fitness jargon decoded

“Wait- how many reps per set? Or was it how many sets per circuit?” All this lingo can get confusing.

Here are some common terms you may see/hear me use related to workouts:

Rep: (“repetition”): One complete movement of a single exercise

Set: A group of consecutive repetitions

SuperSet: Set of two exercises that are performed back-to-back, without any rest time between them

Compound Sets: Involve the performance of two exercises for antagonistic muscles (e.g. bench press <chest> followed by cable rows <back> ).

Circuit Training: A series of exercises that an individual performs one after another with minimal rest

Split Routing Training: A system that incorporates training an individual’s body parts with a high volume on separate days

Cardio: Physical exercise that involves and places stress on the cardiorespiratory system

Strength Training: Exercise that works the muscles; the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce internal tension to overcome an external load

Stability: The ability of the body to maintain postural equilibrium and support joints during movement.

Flexibility: Normal extensibility of soft tissues allowing full range of motion of a joint; training that integrates various stretches in all 3 planes of motion to produce maximum extensibility of tissues

Intensity: The level of demand that a given physical activity places on the body

Core: 1. The center of the body and the beginning point for movement; 2. The structures that make up the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, including the lumbar spine, the pelvic girdle, abdomen, and the hip joint.

Core Strength: The ability of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex musculature to control and individual’s constantly changing center of gravity

Agility: The ability to accelerate, decelerate, stabilize, and change direction quickly while maintaining proper posture

Dynamic Balance: The ability to move and change directions under various conditions without falling

 

 

 

Bust the “Busy” Barrier

Instead of saying “I didn’t have time”, try saying “It wasn’t a priority”. 

See how that feels…

Don’t let “being busy” become a convenient excuse to avoid getting things done. There are a ton of iterations of the “if you don’t make time for your health now, you’ll have to make time for illness later” mantra all over the internet for a reason – because it’s true.  “How do you manage to fit in working out with a full-time job & 3 kids?” While the answer may vary from person to person, here are some strategies that work well for me:

  1. Experiment with different types of workouts – there’s more than one way to get your cardio in or work on strength or core – find what works for you that you actually enjoy.
  2. Be strategic – work with a trainer to streamline your routine, stay motivated, and get real results.
  3. Schedule your workouts – write it in your planner, set an alarm on your phone, and then do it. No excuses.
  4. Eliminate barriers – again, work with a trainer to develop a plan so that every minute of your workout time is goal-directed for max return on your time investment.