From the early day, I used to push myself in the gym. High intensity routines. And, who can forget my, my high school days, when I benched 5 times per week.
I've trained and pushed myself a lot over the years, and I've put many people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities through training sessions, as well. And the main thing I have learned, it's that: It's not how hard you can exercise but how well you can recover from that matters.
What Is Recovery and How Do You Monitor It?
One definition of recovery is the ability to meet or exceed performance in an activity. While that's a fine definition, recovery is not just about performance in the moment, but also your body's ability to overcome and adapt to stress after exercise or competition.
If you get a chance to learning about training theory and writing exercise programs, you will find out that the experts were focused on the concept of homeostasis: The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. In simple terms, homeostasis is your body's way of keeping itself in a state of balance. How does that apply to exercise? Let's talk about the role of stress in upsetting that balance.
Training Is Stress, But It's Stress You Control
When you go in the gym and burst out arms for an hour, you're stressing your system. It responds via various mechanisms to restore the body to its preferred "balanced" state. It increases protein synthesis among other mechanisms to build up the body bigger and stronger than before.
Even so, you can't just think about muscle recovery at the muscular level, you must consider what it does for the body on a grander scale, as well.
If you look at a bodybuilding-style body-part splits as an example. The big issue when laying out a split is finding ways to avoid training the same muscle group too frequently. That puts the focus on local muscular fatigue and recovery. So, if you hit chest on Tuesday, you may not want to do arms or shoulders on Wednesday because you would be taxing some of the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
That's good as far as it goes, but to get a true picture of the body's response to exercise stress, you need to look at it from a global perspective.
What Drives Muscle Contraction?
Muscles don't fire themselves. They need electrical impulses to drive that contraction, which means they need the nervous system.
The nervous system namely, the autonomic nervous system, or ANS consists of two branches:
1. The sympathetic nervous system, or SNS, is the fight-or-flight branch. If you want to run fast, jump high, or lift heavy things, you activate your SNS to help you do it.
2. The parasympathetic nervous system, or PNS, is the rest-and-digest branch. If you want to chill out, relax, and recover, you need to activate the PNS.
The goal is to have balance in your nervous system. When you want to train hard, you need to be able to crank up your SNS and push weight. But when it's time to relax and get some deep, restful sleep, you need your PNS working at a high level.
Now come the big question becomes, how do you keep track of your nervous system balance?
Heart Rate Variability Monitoring
One of the best ways to keep an eye on your ANS is to track and monitor your heart rate variability, or HRV, with one of the various apps and monitors that are on the market. HRV systems measure the tiny differences in time that occur between your individual heart beats. They look at the balance between the SNS and PNS and give you a score. If you're balanced and operating at a high level, you'll typically get a green score, which indicates you're recovered and ready to go. On the other hand, if you're not recovering well, typically marked by an increase in sympathetic activity, you'll get a yellow or red score.
How Does Training Affect Recovery?
When Tranquillity 360 Fitness personal trainers are designing workouts for new clients, there are three major factors I consider:
1. Their age and recovery ability.
2. Their primary training goal (i.e., strength focused vs. physique focused).
3. Other stressors they are dealing with in their lives.
The Age Factor
Someone who is 20 years old, whose only stress in life consists of getting up to go to class, getting to the gym five times per week, and recovering from extracurricular activities on the weekends, can take a lot of stress and recover from it. On the flip side, if someone is 50 and has teenage children at home, a full-time job, and money issues, their stress levels and their ability to recover from exercise are going to be vastly different.
When we write that first program, we normally start by considering how many sessions we want the client to complete in a given week, and from there I break down how much stress I can impose on any given exercise day. For most of my clients, 2-4 sessions per week works well. Younger clients typically trend toward the higher side, while our older client’s trend toward the lower side. As we age, recovery between exercise sessions becomes even more critical, and we don't recover as fast as we once did.
The Stress Per Workout
To consider how stressful a given exercise session is, you need to have some gauge as to how hard you trained. Many trainees track the workout volume (sets x reps), but a critical piece of the puzzle is the intensity.
So, instead of sets x reps, the new formula is:
· sets x reps x load
Using this equation, here's how two different workouts done with the 5x5 scheme would look:
· 5 sets x 5 reps x 200 pounds = 5,000 pounds total workload
· 5 sets x 5 reps x 400 pounds = 10,000 pounds total workload
While each workout contains 25 reps (5x5), adding in the load gives you a much better measure of how challenging it is.
Don't Overlook How the Workout Feels
Another way you can track intensity is to consider the rating of perceived exertion, or RPE. While it's not perfect, a subjective score brings an added element of individuality into the mix.
For example, say you're in the gym warming up on the squat. On some days, that weight is flying up and you feel amazing; you know it's going to be a great day. At other times, you can't seem to make it happen, and just having the loaded bar on your back feels like it's going to crush you.
The RPE can give insight into not only how you're feeling that day but also how you're recovering from your sessions. We typically use a 1-10 scale to rate how difficult a session was, with 10 being a gruelling workout, 9 being a tough workout, 8 being a challenging workout, and so on.
Tracking RPE over the course of months (or even years) can tell you a lot about how your workouts are going and give your ideas for what you can do to squeeze even more gains out of every lift.
Building A Better Training Template
Once you have an idea of how hard a given training session was (or will be), you can plan the rest of your training week around it. When you're young, it's easier to go back-to-back days, simply because your recovery ability is so great. As you age, you will typically need to find a better balance, with time off between sessions.
As lifters get mature, they usually find that they need more volume or intensity to disrupt homeostasis and force the body to adapt. The combination of increased age, plus the increase in exercise stress forces you to take more time off between sessions to create an adaptation.
Yes, there are exceptions. Some people can train every day and get away with it. And yes, there are ways to enhance your performance via pharmaceutical means. By and large, however, most people who are really pushing their body are going to train 3-4 times per week, taking a day off between workouts to rest, recover, and prep for the next session.
A training week would look like this:
· Monday: Maximum Effort, Lower Body
· Tuesday: Off
· Wednesday: Maximum Effort, Upper Body
· Thursday: Off
· Friday: Moderate Effort, Lower Body
· Saturday: Moderate Effort, Upper Body
· Sunday: Off
Here are a couple of key points about this program:
1. If you're really pushing the intensity, you can probably only do a max effort twice per week, and you're going to need 48-72 hours between sessions. Even if the muscles feel ready, the nervous system takes more time to recover.
2. Just because you have two high-intensity days doesn't mean you take the rest of the week off. Whether it's less intense, volume-focused workouts, recovery workouts, or some other plan, there are still options to keep you in the gym on the regular.
The Bottom Line On Recovery
Your goal is to find a training approach that lets you train hard each time you're in the gym. If your goal is to lift heavy things and look good for as long as possible, make recovery a key part of your training when you lay out your workout schedule.
We all know that exercise is important to keep your ticker ticking and prevent cardiovascular disease, but research shows that staying active can do a whole lot more than that!
Studies have shown time and again that exercise is good for the human heart and brain, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. But new research suggests that regular exercise has another major role to play in promoting heart health by encouraging something called "cardiomyogenesis."
Cardio-what? Let me explain. Cut your finger, and new skin cells grow to heal the wound. Break a bone, and it heals, too. Your arteries, liver, intestines, lungs, and, it appears, even your brain have similar healing properties.
Until a decade ago, scientists thought the heart was incapable of creating new heart cells after birth. Scientists pointed to this apparent inability to create new heart cells as a leading cause of chronic heart disease.
That thinking changed in 2009, when Canadian researchers showed that the heart can indeed create new cells, a process known as the cardiomyogenesis. That triggered related findings from researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital, who showed that exercise might play a major role in improving the heart's ability to grow new cells. Over eight weeks, the researchers compared the rate of new heart cell growth among mice that exercised daily with mice that didn't exercise at all. They found that regular running exercise enabled the active mice to create new heart cells five times faster than the inactive mice.
Earlier studies with mice showed that the loss of as few as 23 of every 10,000 heart cells is enough to cause fatal heart disease. A large myocardial infarction can destroy about 1 billion heart cells. Other studies have shown that the loss of this approximate number of heart cells in humans leads to the same disease.
The Harvard researchers could not say exactly how many new heart cells the exercise routine would create. However, they could say that the number of new heart cells made possible by regular exercise is probably more than enough to counteract the loss of heart cells that results in fatal heart disease. The researchers also showed that even an injured heart can create new heart cells.
Research into cardiomyogenesis parallels research into whether brains can grow new cells, a process known as neurogenesis. The prevailing wisdom has been that, like the heart, the brain undergoes the clear majority of its growth while the fetus is in the womb, with limited growth continuing into infancy. Now, the inability of the brain to create new brain cells is being questioned, just as the heart was a decade ago.
The ability of these key organs to regenerate themselves has major implications for the fight against heart disease, Alzheimer's, and other debilitating or fatal conditions of the heart and brain. In the meantime, this is just another great reason to use the treadmill!
Basic Cardio Workout
Anyone can go into ta gym and bang out 2 hours workout session, but the question is are they getting the best out that 2 hours in the gym or even hitting their workout goals. I am going to break down for you 4 simple steps of how you can get the best out of your workout.
Warm up and cool down.
Perhaps the most overlooked parts of a workout are the warm up and the cool down. Nevertheless, if you want to get the most out of your workout, you’ll want to devote at least 5 minutes to each. Warming up lubricates the joints and loosens the muscles so that you can move freely during your workout. A thorough cool down stretch prevents your muscles from losing flexibility. Keep your muscles limber to prevent injuries later. For example, these stretches for runners can help avoid cramps, tightness, and injuries due to overuse.
Choose a time that works best for you.
Many people are hesitant about trying the gym first thing in the morning. Nevertheless, going at a time when you’re fully rested means you can work harder. Try doing a morning workout. If that doesn’t work for you, experiment with different times. Find the gym hour when you feel the most energized.
Organised your exercises.
If you’re going to combine weight lifting and cardio, or any other two kinds of exercise, it’s likely that you’ll work harder at the exercise you do first. You can organize your routine depending on your goals. If you want to lose weight, do cardio first. If you want to build lean muscle, start with weight lifting.
Whether you’re running, lifting, or boxing, make sure your efforts aren’t in vain! Many factors go into creating a good workout, and sometimes small changes make a big difference. These five simple tips help ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout. Don’t let a drop of sweat go wasted!
The right clothes.
You’re going to want comfortable clothes made of a stretchy, breathable fabric in a style that makes you feel powerful. It might not seem like much but having clothes that make you feel confident can make a big difference in your workout. If your reflection pumps you up, you’ll be motivated to push harder and further! That’s why even style is important. Find workout clothes that you like wearing, personally I would recommend compression clothing.
Consume a protein-rich meal after your workout.
Don’t let your efforts be in vain. After your workout eat 20 to 30 grams of protein to help muscles recover. When you exercise, muscle fibres break down and tear. Your body needs the amino acids in protein to rebuild muscle and make it tougher and stronger. Check out Tranquillity 360 Fitness Proteins powders, which all have enough protein for post-workout recovery.
Most people I come across every day when I speak with them regarding fitness, the first thing that comes out their mouth would be aw.. Malachi I don't have time to go the gym but I could do it home and the reasons for not going the gym go on and on.
So I thought to myself maybe if I share a blog of basic exercise of how people can burn fat and stay fit from the comfort of their home, in a circuit form, it might motivate some people.
In a circuit routine, you’ll do each exercise in succession without a break in between (if you’re able). Once you’ve finished all exercises in the circuit, do it again.
If you’re still able after the 2nd run through, go for a third.
Because all these exercises come one after another, you’re bound to get tired – and that’s okay! We all start somewhere.
It’s better to stop and take a break than to do an exercise incorrectly. If you can’t do all three circuits without stopping, great! That gives you something to work towards.
Before you start, don’t forget WARM UP – Never ever ever ever forget to warm up. Make sure to get your heart rate pumping and get your muscles warm or you’re just asking for injury.
You can run in place, jump rope, do a few push ups, pedal on a stationary bike, do some punches and kicks, jog up and down your stairs, and/or twist and swing your arms and legs to get them moving! Give it about 5 minutes, and don’t wear yourself out completely, but get your heart rate elevated and little bit of sweat never hurt anybody.
After the warm up, here is exactly what you need to do:
After you’ve completed your workout, do some stretches. All your muscles have been contracted from lifting and need to be stretched back out and rebuilt.
For either the body weight squats or lunges, if you can’t do them properly yet, it’s okay to put your hand on a support to keep your balance.
For the body weight squats, think of it like sitting back into a chair. If you can sit down onto a chair, and then stand immediately right back up without having to lean forward, you are in balance.
For the lunges, keep your eyes ahead and your upper body completely vertical. I had a slight bend at times in the video due to trying to exercise and explain at the same time.
I used a milk jug for my dumbbell, but you can use whatever is heavy enough for you. Find something that is challenging to lift 10 times in a row.
Do this routine 2-3 times a week, but never on consecutive days. You don’t build muscle when you’re exercising, you build muscle when you’re resting.
Generally, I like to follow a pattern of strength training on one day, then 20 minutes of interval training on the next, then strength training, then interval training, and so on.
Generally, I try not to do a strength training routine (of the same muscle groups) two days in a row, as your muscles need plenty of time to recover.
Along with this routine, you need to make sure you’re eating properly!
A good workout and crappy diet will not get you anywhere.
Lots of real foods (vegetables, protein, healthy fats). Eat natural, whole foods whenever possible, and leave the soda, candy, and junk food out of your system.
Your diet is at least 80% of your success or failure. I’m not kidding when I say that. If you don’t develop a healthier relationship with food, no amount of exercise will get you there.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.