Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A workout guide

Over the last 3 years, I have followed many fitness and strength building programs. Each program has been successful in providing results. The main thing is that you train safely and consistently. However, it is very common for people to hit plateaus. Whilst everyone has a unique genetic potential that will influence an individuals body shape, size and athletic ability, there are parameters and techniques that when applied correctly and inclusively, will enable everyone to continue to make improvements. I want to share these with you. Firstly, it is vital to appreciate the components that affect muscular growth and cardiovascular fitness. Rest and recovery is commonly overlooked. The average person requires about 8 hrs sleep every night. A person who is active and strength trains will need more. Growth and repair happens when we sleep and rest. If you wake up to an alarm, your body simply has not had 'ENOUGH' sleep. The value of a good nights sleep can not be over stated. The more you train, the more you must rest. When you are tired, the most effective and healthful way of regaining energy is to sleep! Nutrition and the way you eat is also very important. The most nutritious foods are whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Increase the percentage of these foods in your diet. Every fruit and vegetable contains some protein and fat and carbohydrate. See for yourself www.nutridiary.com. For optimal athletic performance, eat sweet fruits before and after working out. These foods are hydrating, easily and rapidly digested, nutrient dense and full of readily available energy. After working out, they promote the quickest recovery and contain all the amino acids required for muscular growth and repair. Eating hard to digest foods like meat and dairy before training will work against you. Once you are getting enough sleep and are feeding your body efficiently, it's time to focus on training. Warming up is crucial. About 10 minutes is good. Once you feel warm and your heart rate is elevated, you are ready. If you are strength training, now is the time to warm up the joints and increase the blood flow to the muscles you are about to exercise. Body weight exercises like push up or weights about half your max are great. Do 2 sets of about 15 reps. Now, the key is to stay warm and work as hard as possible, incorporating as many muscle groups as possible for the next 30 minutes. I train upper body like chest, then straight to a lower body movement like leg extensions, then straight into some stretches for about 30 seconds. I repeat this cycle two to three times before moving on. Working out in this way means that you are staying warm, working at a high intensity, keeping the heart rate and blood flow up and are stimulating more muscle growth. Each muscle group is sufficiently rested between sets. Lift safely and as heavily as possible aiming to reach about 8 reps each set. Next you could alternate back with calves and abs. Then shoulders with hamstrings and lower back, then arms and anything else you feel like adding if you still have the energy. Most people spend a lot of their time standing around doing nothing in between sets. What a waste of time! An hour all up is all you need to see some serious gains. I workout in in this way 3 times a week and then try to add in a Yoga class, or a walk or jog each week. Each workout, aim to work a little harder than the last. Focus on strengthening your weakest links by doing exercises that you usually don't do. Also, have at least one days rest in between workouts. I have found that by working out in this way, I have been able to not only continue to build muscle, but also increase my cardiovascular fitness at the same time. The more efficiently you train, rest and feed, the faster you will achieve your goals.

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