Depending on your health and fitness goals, you’ll need to commit to a minimum of 3 days of exercise each week to see results. Any fewer than that and each workout will feel like you’re starting all over again each and every time.
Ideally, you should have some form of fuel in your system before you work out. Eating a small amount of a easily digested carbohydrate an hour or so before you hit the gym ensures that you’ll have enough energy in the tank to get through your program. Try fruit and yogurt or toast and peanut butter; not too much or you’ll feel sluggish and heavy.
If, however, you exercise first thing in the morning, eating before your workout may not be an option. Many people find that they can tolerate cardio on an empty stomach, but need fuel to get through a strength training session. Experiment with the types of food and the timing of your pre-workout meal to discover what works best for you.
Eating after a workout is important. You need to replenish your glycogen stores and ‘feed’ the muscles that you’ve just trained. Drink a protein shake or eat a small snack consisting of protein and easily digested carbohydrates within 30 minutes of training and then your next meal an hour or two later.
Common post-workout nutrition ‘mistakes’ include eating too much (if you burn 300 calories during your workout, you don’t want to be consuming a 500 calorie protein) and choosing less than healthy options
Excess fat on the belly, upper arms and inner thighs doesn’t typically occur in isolation. If you’ve got it there, chances are you’ve got it everywhere. You can’t spot reduce. No exercise will target fat cells in just one part of the body. You need to target them all via exercise and proper nutrition.
While cardiovascular training is great for building strong hearts and lungs, it doesn’t provide the stimulus your body needs to build bigger, stronger muscles and bones. Why? Our bodies adapt fairly quickly to the load we ask them to move; unless you’re gaining weight, your legs will always be subject to the same load and moving that load through the same, limited range of motion.
Adding strength training to your program allows you to: (1) increase the load on your legs, (2) change the range of motion you move your joints through and (3) target muscles that you don’t typically use during cardiovascular training.
Expect to FEEL the results of your training sooner than you SEE them. People who start a new exercise program and are consistent in getting their workouts done typically report improvements in sleep, mood and energy levels within two to three weeks. Changes in body composition often take longer to notice; the more consistent you are with your workouts and the closer you adhere to your nutrition plan, the sooner the results will become noticeable (to you and to others too!).
Try focusing on not getting on the scale and focus on things like how many more pushups you can now perform and how your favorite jeans fit.
You’d think that as your body becomes stronger and more familiar with the exercises your workouts would start to feel easier. Indeed, many people who ‘go it alone’ in the gym report exactly this. When exercises are progressed frequently and consistently, the body never truly adapts to the workout, making each feel just as challenging as the one before.
It depends. While there’s some evidence suggesting that if you’re doing both in a single session “weights before cardio” leads to faster fat loss, for most people the outcome will be the same regardless of which they do first. If you have a strong preference for one over the other (perhaps you find weights too taxing after cardio? or getting on a cardio machine too boring after you’ve done your strength workout), go with it. My workout programs always have cardio before and after 🙂
Also, I like to make your strength workout metabolic. Adding short bursts of cardio-like movement between sets or super-sets. Keeping your heart rate elevated while lifting weights is not only more efficient, it may result in a higher calorie burn for the rest of the day.
Stretch after you are warmed up, and if you want to stretch after your workout, go for it.
Train when you’re least likely to blow it off or be forced to cancel. It will take you 10-21 days to adapt to a new training time, so stick to your plan and power through.
Wearing a hat is what works best for me. The key is to never take the hat off until its completely dry. Visit my apparel to purchase ‘Fancy Fit’ logo hats.
Although eight hours has been a general rule of thumb, research has showed that seven hours is the sweet spot for brain function and living longer. Your best bet is seven to eight hours of sleep time a night.
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