Tips & Advice from the professional personal trainers at OneLife training gym in Kelowna.
As the old saying goes, “different strokes for different folks.” Everyone has different reasons for hitting the gym. Some want to build muscle while others want to improve athletic performance, but for a lot of beginners general fitness is the starting point. As trainers we love specific goals because they allow us to design a tailored program to achieve a defined outcome, however we get a lot of clients whose goal is to “get in shape” and that’s ok too.
Structure is important, it helps us to start by defining our goals, so try to think about why you want to get in shape. Is there a specific event coming up like a wedding or reunion? If so, you will be working with a deadline and will want to get the most out of your workout within a specified time frame. Maybe you want to have more energy to run around with the kids, or there’s a marathon that you’ve always wanted to enter, or you just want look good on the beach this summer. Visualize your goals and write them down.
No matter what has motivated you to get started in the gym, we promise you’ll be happy you decided to do this for yourself. The results we receive from training are more than just aesthetic; improving your general fitness levels will give you more energy, help you to better manage your stress levels, improve self esteem through the feeling of accomplishment, and of course physical appearance improves as well. But more so than the outward results, it’s the inward ones that count: feeling good about achieving a goal or improving your performance, strength, and quality of life.
When looking at general fitness there are 5 areas we want to address:
- Joint Mobility/Flexibility/Balance
Strength training is important, it helps create muscle definition and burns calories. If weight loss is one of your goals, then strength training is your friend. Not only does strength training aid in shedding pounds, it helps maintain weight loss, too. Many people avoid working areas of the body because they are weak or have had past injuries (for example lower back, shoulders, etc.), which is a mistake. What you want to do is (safely) strengthen those weak areas, and thereby increase mobility and help prevent further injury.
We need cardio to strengthen our hearts, increase our lung capacity and general circulation, plus develop our stamina. If you’re really not excited about cardio, or would even go so far as to say you hate it, remember cardio workouts don’t have to involve the traditional treadmill or elliptical – you can make it fun by doing activities like hiking, swimming, playing tennis or whatever it is you enjoy. Most people don’t stick with cardio programs because they find them boring so do something you like! Even taking a 30 minute power walk will get you a great cardio workout.
If you prefer doing cardio indoors on exercise machines, choose interval training. In addition to building a strong heart, interval training (otherwise known as high intensity cardio) burns fat big-time and provides a great cardio workout in half the time of a moderate cardio workout. You’ll be a believer after a single twenty-minute session. Here’s how it works: warm up with a moderate pace for five minutes, then do ten rounds of thirty seconds at a rapid pace followed by ninety seconds at a moderate pace. End your workout with a five-minute cool down to get your heart rate back to normal, and you’re all done.
We need reasonable levels of balance, mobility and flexibility for fitness and optimal quality of life. Without adequate flexibility, daily activities, such as getting out of bed, lifting a child or squatting to pick something up can become more difficult to do. In addition, inadequate flexibility can prevent you from reaching the full potential, strength and power of your muscles. Flexibility exercises can improve overall ease of movement, decrease stress on the joints, and reduce risk of injury. Balance training helps improve your equilibrium and your ability to withstand and quickly recover from situations that make your balance unstable, not to mention a great way to strengthen your core!
Now even a stellar mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility is only a part of the equation. The non physical components of nutrition and restoration are key to a well rounded fitness program. Our last post highlighted the importance of nutrition for fitness. Proper nutrition supports our bodies with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat to fuel our work outs and improve overall energy levels. Finally restoration is essential, we need time to rest and recover. Cool down stretches after exercise, going for a steam, getting regular massages along with mindfulness exercises like meditation or deep breathing will take care of your body and your mind. Also, make sure you get enough sleep! It’s difficult to find the energy and motivation to stick to a fitness plan when we are sleep deprived.
As you start to make gains in your fitness program, adjust your goals accordingly. One of the best ways to get motivated and continue to move forward is to have support, a personal trainer is with you every step of the way coaching and guiding you. There’s no need to be intimidated, working with a trainer will give you the knowledge and encouragement to define your goals and work towards them!