Cross-Train Your Way to Fitness
Cross-training is not only a useful tool for whipping yourself into tip-top shape, it is also an ideal method for defeating the fitness blues, for keeping your workouts fresh and exciting.
Suggestions For Exciting and Fresh Sports
If you’re used to getting on the same stationary bike, day after day, at the gym, try the real thing! If the same old route starts becoming repetitive, try a different route, one with various peaks and valleys.
Most people think of the pool as just a temporary paradise in which to escape from the blazing sun. But swimming can be still one of the most effective forms of cardiovascular activities accessible to all trainers, an exercise that is also ideal in toning up the muscles in your entire body. Go make a splash!
Make a fast break for the courts this summer and engage in a pick-up game that will pick up your heart rate. The quick-paced action of a hoop game is a fantastic way to rev up the heartbeat and burn off those excess calories.
Get into fighting trim shape by going toe to toe with your ever last counterpart. Hitting a heavy bag for four minutes straight is a tremendous way to drop your body fat for the count. If a bag is not accessible, get your kicks in an invigorating cardio boxing class.
General Guidelines For Effective Training
Below are some general exercise tips to help you train effectively. For a more specific exercise strategy, please visit our goal section.Another useful tool to learn more about exercise is the Body for Life Book. This book takes a simplistic approach to exercise by illustrating and explaining how to perform exercises safely and effectively.
Try performing your aerobic exercise first thing in the morning at an intense level. Some research indicates that the most efficient fat-burning occurs when you do aerobics right after you wake up, after an overnight fast. When you do this, you can potentially burn more fat for fuel than if you did the same amount of aerobic exercise in the afternoon, after you have had a few meals.
It takes a certain level of intensity to stimulate the metabolic adaptations we need to lose fat and build healthy, toned muscles. Walking is a quite decent exercise to start with, but eventually, the intensity of the exercise has to increase. You should push yourself mentally, physically and during the exercise session to get the results.
when the upward and downward portion of the exercise you’re performing is slow and deliberate, you’re activating both muscle fiber types (fast and slow) which results in greater force production. Research has shown that the lifting portion of an exercise recruits the most muscle fibers when it’s performed slowly i.e. the upward motion should take two seconds. The eccentric (downward) portion of the movement should be even slower, occurring optimally over four seconds.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the way most people train. Often you see novices in the gym who simply slap the weight up using a fast movement to ensure lots of momentum, and then watch as the weight flies up and fall back once again, courtesy of gravity. Moreover, when an exercise is performed in a rapid motion, often the muscle is not adequately trained and, hence, it is not being fatigued enough in order to grow. Therefore, you should not use momentum to perform a lift.
If you think that you’re relying too much on it, put your ego aside, smarten up and decrease the weight. Settle on an amount of weight that will allow you to perform between three to four sets of eight to 12 reps with slow, deliberate and solid form. In the end, this will cause significantly more muscle damage and in turn provide the cellular signal to degenerate and regenerate a new muscle fiber. And given that all other conditions are favorable, the muscle cell will grow back bigger and stronger.
Often those who work out commonly experience muscle discomfort, soreness, stiffness, and/or pain. Muscle soreness occurs predominately from the downwards phase of a lift. The degree of discomfort depends on the intensity and duration of effort and the type of exercise performed. Soreness can set in at two different times: during and immediately following your workout or 24 to 48 hours later. The latter type is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and may last up to three or four days.
The following list contains some factors that can contribute to muscle soreness:
Torn or damaged tissue: results from the microscopic tearing of muscle fibers or connective tissues.
Lactic acid: a waste by-product of metabolism that accumulates when there is insufficient oxygen or blood supply to working muscles.
Muscle spasms: painful reflexive muscle contractions caused by decreased blood flow or injuries to muscle.
It’s important to remember that as long as the soreness is not the result of an injury, it isn’t necessarily bad to experiences a little stiffness or soreness following a workout. Try not to train sore muscles because if they don’t heal up back again, your progress will be very limited. It is even possible to sustain an injury over time. The best progress occurs when you allow full recovery between workouts, not by seeing how hard and often you can punish your body.
There exists a bunch of false information out there about how to actually lose weight just on the belly, firm up in certain kind of areas or how you can lose cellulite. Many believe in the myth that if you exercise those particular areas more, you will also lose more fat there. That is not the way it works. You need to exercise your entire body in order to stimulate the fat-burning process. Women can get rid of the cellulite and men can rid of the beer belly, and love handles, but it does not happen by training those particular areas. It comes from following a complete program an integrated, balanced approach that brings that body back to where it is supposed to be.
Choosing a Gym or Training Facility
It is hard to know which club will offer you the best deal for your money. To a certain extent, choosing the best gym to train in is influenced by your level of expertise and what you need from a club and its employees. For example, if you’ve been training for years and you already know what all the machines do and you know several different exercises to do for each body part, your needs are different from someone who is just starting out and needs help designing his or her first routine.
But generally speaking, these are a few things to keep in mind and ask questions about:
What level of education do the gym’s employees have? It is important that the people helping you work out have some academic and life-experience education regarding weight training. Have they ever lifted weights themselves, or are they out of shape and thus cannot truly understand the demands of weight training?
How often will the gym support staff offer to change your program? Many health clubs just try to get you in the door, sign you up, and take your money. Check if the gym you want to join has any regularly scheduled follow-up evaluations regarding your progress? It’s important to find out if they offer an initial orientation to equipment you don’t know how to use, but it’s also important that they schedule times to reevaluate your program and vary the routine in different ways.
Is also the equipment well-maintained and the gym clean? If dumbbells and weight plates are left all over the club, you will lose valuable time in finding the equipment you need. Additionally, you may trip over some of the mess and hurt yourself or others. Check for the stability of seats on benches and machines and examine the cables. Do the cables appear worn and likely to break?
How clean is the air, and is the temperature of the gym kept at a level that won’t increase the likelihood injuries? The air in a gym should be fresh and well-circulated. It should never smell stale or musty. It is important that the temperature is not so cold that you can’t even warm up your joints and muscles. Otherwise, you will suffer injuries more likely with lower temperatures.
Wearing a lifting belt is not necessary when lifting heavy weights. There are some exercises it may be helpful to occasionally use a belt with such as when you’re lifting an exceptionally heavy weight and thereby placing a lot of stress on your spine (e.g. squats or overhead presses). Some experts believe that relying too much on a lifting belt is dangerous because it does some of the work that should be done by surrounding synergistic and stabilizer muscle groups. If the lifting belt becomes a physical or psychological “crutch”, you could be setting yourself up for injuries in the future, and you definitely won’t be getting all the benefit you could gain from your time spent training.