Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Importance of Warm up and Cool down

Question from member:
How important are the warm-up and cool-down portions of a workout?

Answer from Joe Erwin, General Manager/ Head Trainer:

Warm-up and cool-down activities should be an essential part of all exercise programs.
The purpose of warm-up activities is to prepare the body, especially the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, for the conditioning or stimulus phase of the exercise session. The cool-down phase assures that venous return to the heart is maintained in the face of significant amounts of blood going to the previously working muscles.

Light aerobic endurance activities, coupled with activities, provide the fundamental basis for both the warm-up and cool-down phases. The length of the warm-up and cool-down periods depends on several factors, including the type of activity engaged in during the conditioning period, the level of intensity of those activities, and the age and fitness level of the participant.

In general, the warm-up and cool-down phases should last approximately five to ten minutes each. If the individual has less time available to work out than usual, it is recommended that the time allotted for the conditioning phase of the workout be reduced, while retaining sufficient time for both the warm-up and cool-down phases.

Best Workout for Seniors

Question from member:
As a senior citizen past 60, I get conflicting information about maintaining simple body strength. For example:

  • Use the "nautilus" circuit and build from easy to more resistance over time. A program here is pretty obvious: start low and build up with 3x per week. 
  • Don't use the "nautilus" circuit but use free weights as it's far more beneficial. A basic program here is not so obvious and there must be some basic "circuit" of exercises that are similar to the "nautilus" circuit. One can obviously pay a personal trainer to design a program but for those of us with no extenuating physical circumstances, a basic program must be pretty straightforward. 

What's your advice about either system and pointers to some basic guidelines to get started in either option?

Answer from Joe Erwin, General Manager/ Head Trainer: 

I always recommend that people try to include both free weights (dumbbells) and machines in their training workouts.

Here are some of the advantages of using machines:

  • They are easier to use (proper technique, form, etc.). 
  • They better isolate one muscle for a more intense workout. 
  • They ensure that you move with proper form through the full range of motion. 
  • They allow you to lift heavier weights. 
  • They reduce workout time (less time spent setting up, changing, and putting weights away). 
  • You are less likely to injure yourself when using machines. 

The disadvantages of using machines are directly related to the advantages. Most of the things we do in daily life involve using multiple muscles and joints at the same time. Because machines isolate muscles and work them separately, you end up making individual muscles stronger but are not training yourself for “functional fitness.” Likewise, because machines are adjusting, balancing, and supporting your body, the smaller muscles that would normally do these tasks in real life often don’t get exercised or strengthened.

But, by incorporating both free weights and machines into your workouts, you can utilize the advantages of both and avoid the limitations of relying on either one by itself.

The Case for Machines 
Machines are great if you're new to strength training or unfamiliar with how to target specific muscles. Most will have instructions and a diagram so that you can see how to use them properly. It's also easier to maintain proper form using a machine because the equipment is designed to support your body as you do the exercise. Machines are good choices if you don't have much time (assuming there's not a crowd of people waiting), as it can be quicker to adjust the weight on a machine than with free weights. Sometimes people are intimidated to try strength training because they aren't sure what to do, but machines can help overcome that barrier since they are so user-friendly. The negative is that machines do not give the variation or range of motion that free weights provide. Most machines have a two-dimensional movement pattern.

The Case for Free Weights 
Free weights require you to stabilize and balance your body (using additional muscles), giving you a better workout in the same amount of time. You can also do a larger variety of exercises instead of being limited to the machines your gym has available. If you have a stronger side (for example, your right triceps group is stronger than your left), machines typically allow the dominant side to compensate for the weaker one. With free weights, you force the weaker muscle to do its share of the work. The negative of using free weights is that your risk of injury increases because it's easier to do exercises improperly. And because the number of exercises is endless, it's easy to create a program that's not balanced or omits exercises that target important muscle groups. There are pros and cons to both machines and free weights, so a combination of the two can yield maximum results.

If you need assistance making a workout plan or even making adjustments to the workout program you already have, setting up a time to meet with a trainer is a great way to spice up your workout.
Contact Joe Erwin or stop by the front desk.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why has my weight loss plateaued?

 Joe Erwin, All-Access Fitness General Manager/ Head Trainer, answered:

There are several reasons why your weight can hit a plateau, including:

  • Losing weight too quickly. When this happens, your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) can slow down because your body senses it is starving. 
  • Losing muscle. When you lose weight, up to 25% can come from muscle tissue. And since muscle is the engine in your body that burns calories and helps maintain your metabolism, losing it can hinder weight loss. 
  • Reaching your body's particular set point -- the weight and metabolic rate your body is genetically programmed to be. Once you reach that point, it's much harder to lose weight and even if you do, you're likely to regain it. 
  • Decreasing your physical activity and/or increasing your caloric intake. 
  • Other health factors, including thyroid or adrenal gland problems; medications like antidepressants; quitting smoking; menopause; and pregnancy.

Even with any of the above factors, the bottom line to losing weight is eating fewer calories than you burn. Studies show that people almost always underestimate how many calories they're eating. So if you're struggling with weight loss, you're still exercising, and you've ruled out any of the above reasons for weight plateaus, look at your calorie intake or change your fitness routine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Switching It Up!

Question from member:

What are the benefits of varying your workout routine?

Answer from Joe Erwin, AAFA General Manager / Head Personal Trainer:

Individuals should consider varying their exercise routines for two fundamental reasons: (1) to prevent boredom associated with doing the same things work out after work out and (2) to avoid or delay reaching a plateau in workout performance and, subsequently, training results. Research has shown that adding variety to an exercise program can improve adherence. Exercise scientists at the University of Florida observed that individuals who modified their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period appeared to enjoy their workouts more and were more inclined to stick with their exercise programs when compared to individuals who followed the same workout regimens week after week. Varying your exercise routine can also help you stay physically challenged. Many of the body's physiological systems (e.g., the muscular system) adapt to an exercise program within approximately six to eight weeks. If you do not modify your exercise routine, you reach a plateau because your body has adapted to the repetitive training stimulus.

There are several ways you can spice up your current workout routine, including boosting the intensity of your workouts. For instance, hiring a Personal Trainer to change up your workouts and keep you motivated. Another is  if you jog or run, try incorporating some intervals of sprinting (e.g., sprint to a given landmark, then jog to the next one) or adding more hill work to your run. You can also cross train and perform different activities to provide your body with a new challenge. A nice alternative for resistance-training exercises involves changing the sequence in which you perform the training exercises. By fatiguing the muscles in a new order or pattern, you are requiring them to adapt to a new training stimulus. Another option for adding variety to strength-training workouts is to replace some or all of the exercises in your workout routine (e.g., substitute a dumbbell chest press  exercise on a stability ball for your typical barbell bench press exercise).
Keep in mind that doing the exact same workout, day after day is not necessarily a bad thing. Some people enjoy a predictable, consistent routine. They don't mind the possibility of experiencing a training plateau and are content to maintain their health and fitness levels with a comfortable exercise habit. However, many individuals need to push themselves to new levels and try different activities to stay enthusiastic and excited about their workouts. By varying their exercise routines, individuals can not only stay physically challenged, but mentally stimulated as well. 

To change up your workout call or email Joe Erwin our General  Manager/Head Trainer to learn about the different options.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Exercise Results

Question from member:

How Long Until I See Results From Working Out?

Answer from Joe Erwin, AAFA General Manager/Head Personal Trainer:

I have been asked this question on many occasions, and it's a fair question. However, it is tough to tell when you can expect to see results from working out. After all, there are a number of factors that will determine the outcome:

  • What Results Are You Looking to Achieve?
  • Do you want to lose weight? Gain size? Get stronger? Get ready for a specific sport?
  • How Often Are You Working Out?
  • How's Your Diet?

What to Expect and When to Expect it?
If you're a beginner to working out, the first 6 weeks of your training program are very important even though you may not see significant results. These first 6 weeks are known as the "neuromuscular adaptation phase" and are characterized by an increase in muscular coordination and improved strength without a significant physical transformation.

So, therefore, if you want to lose and you're not seeing immediate results, just remember that the first 6 weeks lay the foundation. After that, the weight will start to fall off, bearing in mind that you're working out and eating correctly.

With that in mind, it should be remembered that achieving your fitness or weight loss goal isn't about doing something for a few months and then stopping. Instead, it's about making exercise and healthy eating a part of your daily lifestyle. When you do so, you will see significant results, and they'll last!