Fitness

Why change up your exercise routine?

Change up your exercise routine to maintain muscle confusion (a positive thing) so that the body and brain do not adapt to a particular workout.  Variation serves to stimulate other muscle groups and overcome boredom, it also burns extra fat.  Your body will be more fit, overall, and the brain stays active and sharp.

One way to change things up, for example in strength (weight) training, is to occasionally switch from heavier weight / fewer reps to lighter weight / higher reps.

When using the lighter weight /higher repetitions regime, keep the rest periods in between sets short and at a minimum in order to burn extra fat and increase cardiovascular endurance.

For the senior population, lifting weights (low weight/high reps) a couple of days per week can help reduce the risk of falling and subsequent bone fracture.  Be sure to space your weight training workouts at least 48 hours apart to reduce the possibility of injury.

Consult with a professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.

Below is an example of a low weight / high rep workout routine that includes a change up – use lighter than usual weights:

Begin:  the first few weeks

perform 2 sets of 20 reps

Chest – Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulders. Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.

  Low Back – Deadlift

Hold  dumbbells in hands in front of body, palms facing body.  Keeping legs straight and back flat, bend over holding weights.  Raise back up keeping torso in line with legs.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

  Shoulders – Front Deltoid Raise

Hold dumbbells in hands, palms facing body.  Keep arm straight, elbow locked.  Raise dumbbell to shoulder level, and then on up over head.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat alternating arms.

  Arms – Bicep Curl, Standing

Hold dumbbells at sides of body, palms facing in; keep knees slightly bent.  Bending elbows, curl arms to shoulder level.  Rotate palms to up position (supination) when beginning curl.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Squat

Stand tall:  head up and back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  With feet shoulder width apart, lower body until thighs touch calves.  Push back up to start position.  Keep Abs tight, push through heels.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Abs – Side Bend

Stand, holding a dumbbell in left hand (palm facing body) place right hand behind head.  With feet shoulder width apart, bend at the waist to the right as far as possible.  Return to start.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat with other side.

 

Change Up:  after a few weeks

perform 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps

  Chest – Incline Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at should level.  Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position. (That is one (1) rep.)

  Back – Trapezius, Upright Row

Hold dumbbells together in front of body, palms facing in.  With knees slightly bent lift weights to chin level.
Lead with the elbows  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Shoulder(s) –  Press

Hold dumbbells, palms facing in.  Press up to straight arms while rotating palms to face forward at the end of the movement.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Maintain slightly bent knees throughout.

Arms – Triceps Extension

Position one dumbbell over head holding both hands under inner plate (palms facing up, supination).   Keep upper arms close to sides of head.  Elbows should be pointing up, over head.   Bend elbows to lower forearm behind upper arm.   Raise dumbbell back up over head by straightening (extending) elbows.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Return and repeat.

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Step Up

Stand tall: head up & back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  Step up on box using right leg, bring left leg up to chest level.  Repeat stepping up with left leg and bring right leg to chest.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Continue to alternate.

  Abs – Trunk Twist, using weighted bar or dumbbells

Stand tall: head up & back straight, holding weighted bar or dumbbells.
Tighten abs and slowly rotate body from one side to the other by twisting at the waist.  (A twist to the right then to the left is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

Whole Health

Should I Eat Before I Work Out?

Should one exercise on an empty stomach (Fasted) or have a snack beforehand.  It depends!  The table below describes the differing scenarios.

Training Type

Non-Fasted

Fasted

Endurance Athlete:

* Training Low,  low glycogen (energy) stores.

NO

To improve metabolic efficiency: body will adapt to use fat for fuel (can go longer before ‘hitting the wall’).

The desired effect is not immediate.

Maximize performance Eat before exercise: have snack/meal high in carbs, low fat with some protein:

Maintains energy & delays fatigue; augment performance, stay sharp; maintain blood sugar.

NO

Strength and muscle gains (hypertrophy- increase muscle size) Eat a meal with protein (easily digestible) & carbs before workout for energy needed to perform & to increase muscle mass.

NO

High Intensity Interval Training Need carbohydrates for fuel.  Also, need nutrition to maintain/gain muscle mass.  Otherwise body will break down lean tissue (muscle) for energy.

NO

Weight Loss   Helps to ‘burn fat’  BUT  also need to be mindful of caloric intake for the rest of the day.  Do not overeat afterwards.
Make sure to eat after exercising to rebuild muscle and reduce muscle soreness.  Consume carbohydrates and easily digestible protein, but not fat. Fat does not digest quickly so it would not be accessible for recovery.
*Rikki Keen, MS, RD, a certified specialist in sports dietetics and certified strength and conditioning specialist says, “science has shown placing the muscle in a stressful state of low glycogen levels during selected aerobic training sessions can trigger a cascade of hormonal and gene signaling that further enhance training adaptations within the muscle cell.”