I know it’s kind of a silly way to start out a blog, but I ask this for a reason. Lately, I’ve been going to my work out facility and watching other patrons do their workout. Watch, not stalk or creep! The reason for this, is that it helps me with my workouts. I see many enthusiasts on the treadmill, bike, or other apparatus and I wonder what their goals are. I wonder if they are trying to burn fat, build muscle, endurance, practice heart-health, or all of these. Let me ask, what are your goals? Personally, I don’t need to know your goals, but I would like for you to determine your goals and not waste time working your tail off just to be disappointed.
I, myself, tried many different exercise routines and still be dissatisfied with my progress, until I finally found the combination that was right for me and that is what I would like for you to discover. There is a routine that is right for you and all you have to do is find it. Easier said than done, I know, but once you find your fit, and don’t drift, you will be more motivated and committed to continue. I’m going to try and help by cutting through the crap and hopefully throw you a little education.
Oh, yes, resistance. Well, resistance is basically an opposing force and is found in everyday life from electricity to relationships, which I hope you don’t have to deal with. The good thing about resistance is that we can use it for our own good. I hear about resistance training quite frequently nowadays, but the fact is that it has been in use for a thousand or so years, but who’s counting. Why is resistance training so beneficial? Well, if you are trying to burn unwanted fat, it is probably the most effective method. I will try to explain this simply, without going through the physiology, kinesiology, or any of those other ologies.
Let’s start with a push-up. Simple! I’m certain at some time in your life you’ve done a push-up. You start by lying on the ground on your belly, body straight, feet together, hands under your shoulders, elbows bent, and then you extend your elbows and push up. Count to one, then flex your elbows and come back down to earth into your resting position. Now, repeat for your second one. Push up, and by the way, this usually takes maybe one second. This time, instead of coming down to the floor in that one second, count to three as you are coming down. In other words, slow the downward motion as to where it takes three seconds to land in the resting position. What did you just do? You made a simple push-up more challenging is what you did. How? By stressing your muscles to fight that opposing force. That opposing force, of course, is gravity. It’s one of the greatest forces known to man and the best thing is that it’s free. I know I don’t get a bill every month for gravity usage. Why not use it to your advantage. Another upper, is that a gym membership or equipment is not required. Just your body vs. mother nature. It’s a beautiful thing! If you like working out at home, this is for you. Walls are good too, just go push on one of those for a count of fifteen to twenty. Walls don’t move. If you don’t mind spending a little money, things like resistance bands are worth it. You can use the opposing force of your own body to work out. YouTube has numerous videos that you can do at home without equipment. Get creative!
If you like working out at the gym, as I do, and you want to burn fat, I urge you to walk past the treadmill and head toward the weights. Free weights, and even the machines, are the best bet to burn fat much quicker than things like the treadmill. The main reason is that by lifting weight, the muscles are expanding and contracting, and basically working their little selves to death, so what happens? They get so stressed that they are demanding fuel, and lots of it, to burn. Where do they go for fuel? FAT CELLS, that’s where. The awesome thing about this is something called after burn. After burn is the process in which the muscles keep burning fat for sometimes days after the work out.
Now, a little trick I learned after beating my head against a wall for quite some time. Remember the push-up scenario? Do it with weights. It’s the same thing. For simplicity, lets take the bench press. Lying on your back, press the bar. Once again, this should take about a second. Now, come down with the weight, but let it rest by the count of three. Personally, I do four sets of ten. I usually do a total of four different exercises. The exercises I choose work out muscle groups (i.e.-Shoulders, bi and triceps, torso, quadriceps, hamstrings, etc.) You’ll know if you are hitting the groups, because you should be hurting a day or two after that, but it’s a good hurt. Important:When you use weights in this type of training, you should be doing a little struggling by the last couple of reps. If not, increase the weight. If you are about to die after the sixth one, then you should lighten the load.
Lastly, please remember to use the correct form while lifting. If not, the exercise will either be ineffective, or you could really injure yourself. Then, you are going to get upset and quit doing the deal altogether.
An alternate workout I do is something called the Arctrainer. This is a machine much like the elyptical. I like the strength setting, because I can set my resistance, and it simulates much like you are running the straightaways and walking the curves on a track. Earlier, I kind of shot down the treadmill. Let me clarify by saying that the treadmill is excellent for good cardio health, but not much as a fat burner, unless you vary your speed up and down, and raise the level of resistance throughout the exercise.
By the way, my workouts usually never last more than 40-45 minutes. Look for future posts on these and many other subjects. Happy work out!