Friday, August 29, 2014

5 common set backs made by people with the best intentions

1. More is more!!!!
Now when it comes to physical fitness, I am not going to say less is more, however there are certain guidelines one should follow, especially when beginning a new workout program, or returning from injury, or a sedentary vacation.  A bad example would be; using the most advanced level of that killer workout video so results can be seen NOW, only to suffer injury or burn out before the light of a smaller pant size can ever be seen.
 What I have learned with using NASM's OPT model is that there are so many acute variables, that one could start off at a reasonable pace, gently progressing each variable (speed, time, resistance to name a few) to ultimately reach their goal.
 I have noticed with this approach that progression happens much faster than first anticipated.  Also, when one begins their journey at a reasonable pace, they can much easier see ways to progress.  For instance, one might say to themselves, "I have been doing the same thing for a week, I think I will add 2 more minutes to my time on the treadmill."

2.  I sweat, therefore I will reach my goal faster!!
I understand wanting to hit that goal NOW whatever it may be.  No matter if one is striving for a smaller physique or lean muscle tissue, both goals benefit from fat loss.  There are three successful ways to lose fat and they all work together.  First and most obvious is nutrition, second is resistance training, third is cardiovascular training.  With nutrition you probably won't sweat…unless you are fighting the urge for a doughnut, or have eaten a hot chili pepper.  In that case it's okay.  What I am referring to is people on cardio equipment with jackets, hats, and heaven forbid - the sauna suit-…I admit it, I did the sauna suit in the 90's because I believed if I could make myself sweat faster then I must be reaching my goal faster.  Let's break this down.  How do we lose weight?  Calories in/calories out, right?  RIGHT.  How do calories go out?  By getting your heart rate up?  YES.  By sweating?  nope.  If calories went away purely from sweating, then I know some high temperature people who should be skinny as rails.  Sweating is simply the body's way of displacing heat so that your heart can focus on your precious organs instead of having to work harder to get around it's heat issue.  So, let yourself sweat, but keep cool for as long as you can.  Stay hydrated!  For all the sweat you lose, it needs to be replaced.

3. I will make up a goal as I go along.
Goals are very important.  Goals are sort of a form of hope, and hope is the key to survival.  A great place to start is a SMART goal. (or type I had to write about 20 of these while I was in school.  I had to write them for myself, my test clients, and my imaginary clients.    As frustrating as it was I could easily see the value in this approach.  A SMART goal is an excellent way to communicate with a personal trainer, what it is that a client needs and wants.  It also is a great vessel to help them know exactly what it will take to reach their goal.

4. I don't need resistance training, I just want to lose weight.
How fantastic it is to think we don't need something just because in the past it seemed to work fine.  I will not argue that one can lose weight simply by running their hind end off.  I will say some pretty awesome things about weight training.  1. It puts on muscle, no, the individual will not bulk up (that takes a tremendous amount of work) 2. Muscle burns fat while at rest.  3. Weight training (when starting out with stabilization) improves posture and prevents injury.  4. One will be rewarded by the strength to lift and do things they previously could not.

5. The hardest thing will give the best results.
People should use caution here.  If a person decides to do something challenging, they should make sure they know what they are doing, and that they have worked their way up to it.  There is nothing more embarrassing than falling from a one legged squat on the BOSU when one has never previously stepped on the thing.  The gym floor may be carpeted or padded, but it is still hard!  That stair climber may be a better form of cardio because it strengthens ones legs and gives them muscle, but if they get off with a back ache, then that machine is not right for them at this time.  I say at this time because there could be a couple of correctable reasons for back pain.  1. Poor form (hunching etc…) 2. The need to strengthen the back muscles.  There are many fabulous ways to get desired results, they may not all be easy, but they also should not cause joint or back pain.

A good guideline for how often to exercise should be 30 minutes low intensity cardio 3-5 days a week (for the beginner), and resistance training 2 - 3 days a week with a rest day in between each resistance session.  One can do cardio on their resistance training rest days, however there should be at least 2 (*active) non cardio or resistance training rest days in the 7 day week.

*Active- still maintaining light activities, house cleaning, yard maintenance, work demands etc.

Hopefully you can see the overarching theme of this article.  Please take good care of your heart, joints, back, muscles, and remember there are several paths to achieving your goal that are healthy and injury free!

If any of this is confusing or vague, please feel free to comment or email me privately