complaint that I often hear from those that are already
involved in an exercise program is that after several months
or years of doing the same routine, they are not realizing
as many, or as significant, results as they did in the
beginning. There are a few factors that can influence
this scenario (frequency, intensity, duration, mode) but
let's talk about intensity.
As I have mentioned
before, the "overload principle" in exercise performance
states that beneficial adaptations occur in response to
demands applied to the body at levels beyond a certain
threshold. This means that you should not get too
"comfortable" with a certain weight during resistance
training, or a certain program with your aerobic workout.
You will obtain the most benefit from a exercise session by
challenging yourself on a daily basis.
It is important to kick
up your intensity whenever possible while understanding the
limits of tolerance and safety. So if your personal
trainer recommends 2 sets of bench press for 12 repetitions,
rep number 12 should be fairly difficult to complete.
Once you are able to get the last repetition comfortably,
it's time to throw another 5 lbs or so on the bar for your
Likewise, if you are
running on the treadmill, riding the bike, or using the
elliptical trainer, you should monitor your heart rate and
try to stay in your
training zone. When
you have difficulty keeping your heart rate high enough,
it's time to increase the resistance, speed, or other
program parameters that will continue to challenge you.
better than nothing, but if you really want to get the most
from your time and energy, make sure you have the
appropriate intensity. There's a reason why they call
it working out!
Maintaining hydration is by far the
greatest concern for regular exercisers. If you are dehydrated
you will fatigue earlier and lose coordination skills. Your
performance can suffer when you lose as little as 2% of body weight
due to dehydration. To prevent this from happening, exercising
individuals must drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after a
workout. Relying on thirst as an indicator of how much fluid is
lost is not an accurate method. If you relied on thirst, you
would only put back 50 to 75% of the fluid that you lost and you would
start your next workout already in a state of dehydration. Do
not wait until you are thirsty to drink, and do not stop drinking once
your thirst has been quenched. Most people have no idea how much
fluid they need, let alone how much they have lost during the day or
during exercise. To gain insight into fluid losses, you should
monitor your fluid levels by one of two methods:
Weigh in before and after a workout.
Consume two to three cups of fluid for each pound of body weight
Check urine color. A dark gold
color means that you are dehydrated. A pale yellow color, or
no color at all, means that you are headed toward a state of
hydration. If you consume a lot of caffeine, which is a
diuretic, you will have pale or clear urine even though you are, in
fact, dehydrated. Alcohol also is a very powerful diuretic.
Guidelines for Fluid
Consume one to two cups (8 to 16
ounces) of fluid at least one hour before the start of exercise.
If possible, consume 8 ounces of fluid 15 to 30 minutes before the
start of exercise.
Consume 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every
10 to 15 minutes during the workout.
Consume 16 to 24 ounces during the
30 minutes after exercise, whether thirsty or not.
Most experts will now recommend sports
drinks to exercising individuals, especially if their workout lasts
longer than 60 minutes. The fear that sports drinks impair fluid
absorption is unfounded, and it has been shown that sports drinks
formulated with 6 to 8% carbohydrates plus at least 100 mg sodium per
8 oz replace fluids just as fast as water, improve performance, and
help ensure optimal rehydration. They also maintain
physiological function as well as, if not better than, water.
Pay attention to the percentage of
carbohydrates in each drink. Those containing less than 5%
carbohydrate do not provide enough energy to enhance performance, and
beverages containing 10% carbohydrate or more (fruit juices and soda)
are associated with intestinal cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
L-Sit Raises are a
good exercise for targeting the muscles in your upper abdomen.
I don't particularly like doing the exercise, mostly because
you will generally feel the burn pretty quick. But once
you lose that layer of flab around your waist line, you're
gonna want to have something underneath to show off!
Abdominals (rectus abdominus)
Count: 2 count
position lying flat on your back with both legs up in an "L"
position. Freeze your knees throughout the exercise. Keeping your hands
under your hips, raise your butt off the floor, pressing your feet to
the ceiling and return to the starting position.
Carb Loading for
Many of you may
have heard the term carb-loading mentioned before, but most
assume that it just means eating lots of pasta before a big
race or competition to
give you more energy. This simplified description is
partially true, but there's a little more to it than that.|
Muscle glycogen depletion is a well-recognized limitation to
endurance exercise that exceeds 90 minutes.
Carbohydrate loading can nearly double an individual's
muscle glycogen stores. Obviously, the greater the
pre-exercise glycogen content, the greater the endurance
The most recent method of carbohydrate
loading includes the following protocol:
6 days before the competition, the
athlete exercises hard (70-75%) for 90 minutes and
consumes a diet of 60% carbohydrates.
- On the 2nd and 3rd
days, training is decreased to 40 minutes, maintaining
70-75% intensity and 60% carbohydrates.
- On the 4th and 5th
days, the athlete consumes a diet of 70% carbohydrates and
reduces training to 20 minutes.
- On the last day the
athlete rests while maintaining the high-carbohydrate
So next time you are
getting ready for a duration type activity, whether it be
biking, running, triathlon, etc... be sure to put some extra
gas in your tank to help you go the distance!
So whether you are
just beginning your lifestyle change to incorporate exercise
into your daily life, or you are a seasoned veteran that
competes in triathlons or various other athletic competitions,
your mindset is an essential tool in helping to drive you to
exceed your goals! Sure, I could say accomplish your goals
or meet your goals, but that would be too finite. The
mindset that will bring you results is one of conquering
obstacles and going through them, not running up to the wall and
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take
your eyes off your goal" - Henry Ford
If you do not
have a personal trainer, you need to constantly evaluate
yourself and whether you can do better. Sure there will be
days when you don't have the energy or are not feeling well...
these things happen. Just don't get to the point where you
find yourself looking for excuses. Decide how important
your goals are... Analyze your priorities... Determine what you
are willing to do to achieve success... Find a way to make it
For prior issues of this
newsletter go to
"A Champion is someone who gets up,
even when he can't"