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So you’ve gone to the gym, bought lots of weights or have a personal trainer. You seem to be doing all the right things but it does not seem to be making any diference. Where are your shapely arms? There are many reasons why this is the case. In the last blog we looked at the benefits of doing larger compound movements in training (exercises that work over 2 joints). Today let’s look at the number of repetitions.
Every time that you do resistance training you should be doing an exercise close to failure, or at the very least until it gets really hard. Now this point may come after 20 repetitions, or it may come after 4 – it all depends on the amount of resistance that you are using. Getting the weight right, so that you can only do the correct amount of repetitions until it gets really hard is vital. How many repetitions you do depends on your goal. If you are just starting out or are looking to build endurance then try to do 15-20 repetitions. If you want to tone up (muscles have the appearance of firmness) then try to do 12-14. If you want your muscles to get bigger then try to get to the point of overload at 8-12 reps. If it’s pure strength that you want to improve then try 4-6 reps. You can go lower on the reps but this is getting close to your 1 rep max and should only be done by experienced and thoroughly warmed up athletes.
Getting the amount of resistance right can take a bit of experimentation, but be patient, do it right, and you should start to see some changes in 4-6 weeks.
Go for it!!
Today we continue with our series of pieces on resistance training and why you might not be getting results. We have already looked at the correct number of repetitions and the right type of exercises, today we examine the role of equipment. One of your problems may be that you are relying too much on machines. Resistance machines are super for beginners or for injury rehabilitation because they place the body in the correct position where the chances of injury are very small. They also ensure the correct back position and help you to get the resistance right as they are so easily adjustable. This means however that the smaller muscles that stabilise your joints when lifting free weights have nothing to do really, so they will not grow stronger or bigger. This in turn means that when you want to progress to compound moves and heavier weights you will be hampered by this lack of strength in the synergists, as these small muscles are known.You will also be putting yourself at risk of injury. So try to use free weights as soon as possible, starting light and then progressing from there.
So, we have looked at the right number of repetitions, the correct amount of sets, the right sort of exercises, but there’s also one less connected yet obvious factor: are you getting enough sleep? Sleep is essential for toning up, as your body repairs itself when you are asleep. So if you are generally overtired and lacking in the beauty stuff try to get a bit more. Remember that in training you are damaging yourself, the improvements only come in the recovery phase. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and to go to bed reasonably early.
A recent poll has put the UK at number 1 of the European Union obesity tables. Figures from the Association of Public Health Observatories reveal the UK is the fattest EU member. And within the UK it was the West Midlands that had the highest percentage of obese adults at 29% – nearly double the EU average of 14% and much higher than the 19% rate seen in Greater London.
Professor Steve Field of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: “I’m appalled by the figures and feel ashamed as a GP working in the West Midlands that this area has the highest percentage of obese adults in Europe.”
“Obesity is a major problem and predictor of ill health throughout a patient’s life, causing serious illnesses”.
“I hope we will be able to do more in the future to get people to take responsibility for their own health and take more exercise and eat sensibly.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “The government has made it clear that tackling health inequalities is a priority as part of its commitment to fairness and social justice.”
“Action to tackle health inequalities is at the centre of our approach to public health.
“We will aim to use the least intrusive approach necessary to achieve the desired effect.
“We will seek to use approaches that focus on enabling and guiding people’s choices wherever possible.”
Although health studies done by the government have also discounted the effect of exercise in weight loss, citing the limited number of calories burned when actually doing activity, remember that you are not just burning fuel during the actual exercise itself. There will be a period of time after you have finished where the metabolic rate remains elevated (afterburn), resistance training will increase the metabolic rate outside of exercise and being physically challenged in exercise is a great motivator to start to lose weight and tackle both sides of the equation.
The DDW ethos of weight loss through exercise has worked for very nearly ALL of our personal training clients so we are putting ourselves up for health minister effective immediate – watch this space!!
If you are worried about the amount of damage that you are going to do to your weight/liver/figure/fitness levels over Christmas then read on and with just a little bit of effort you should be able to come out the same weight that you went in. It’s important to have a good time over the festive period but with just a little bit of restraint you can have your cake and eat it.
The average person in the U.K. puts on 5 pounds over Christmas and the New Year, as well as consuming a whopping 7000 calories on Christmas day itself. That’s nearly 3 times that the average man needs a day, and a higher multiple for women. So what’s to be done?
Have breakfast. You might be tempted to think that skipping the first meal of the day will give you some room for manoeuvre at the big event, but this is the worst thing you can do. Skipping breakfast will not only make your body think that it needs to store fat for the coming famine, but you will arrive at dinner starving and unable to resist the binge. Try to have a low GI carbohydrate (porridge is best) with some protein (milk). Another good option is an egg with some wholemeal toast. This will fill you up and mean that you eat a lot less later on.
Have a mid morning snack. No, not 10 mini sausage rolls and a Guinness, but some fruit or festive nuts and seeds. Not only will this small snack give you a metabolic burst as your body converts the food into blood sugar but it will give you even blood sugar levels and a full feeling so that you eat only what you need for lunch and dinner.
Watch the trimmings. The actual core of a Christmas dinner is healthy – lean protein (turkey is one of the leanest meats) and vegetables with gravy are fairly healthy. It’s the trimmings to watch. All the saturated fats are in the stuffing, roasted potatoes, butter sauces, sausages and other dainties. So have lots of meat and greens, go easy on the other yummy things.
Sort your surroundings. If there is a huge pot of Quality Street knocking about you will switch off mentally and shovel lots down you. Just buy small packets of chocolate, and only have small bowls of treats around the house. Use fruit and nuts to fill festive bowls instead.
Booze: the real calorie loader. There is the same amount of energy in a large glass of wine as in a Kit-Kat. 6 Kit-Kats will make you fat, so will 6 glasses of wine. Now if you need to get lathered to tolerate the in-laws that’s fine, but try to alternate each drink with a mineral water or diluted juice. Try to also have clear spirits with a low calorie mixer, like gin and slimline tonic or vodka and soda with a slice of lime.
Be active and give active presents. If a member of your family has been given a football, go out and use it. Go for a fresh walk after dinner – you will feel better physically and mentally. Give someone a gym membership or even better some sessions with a personal trainer. You don’t have to give lots, just enough to get them into exercise and show them how fun it can be.
Good luck, if you have a resolution to get fit and slim in the new year call or email us; we’ll hold you to it!