The last days of winter have finally arrived, and with it our greatest excuse for choosing a deep fried mars bar over an early morning jog has melted into oblivion. With this unfortunate truth, many of us have finally peeled off the layers and come to the devastating realisation that we may not be re-donning our favourite mankini this year. Now as our minds drift off to summer, there seems to be a common burning desire to sculpt our bodies into works of art that even Da Vinci would be proud of. New resolution and steely determination is fantastic, but it may all go to waste if we don’t sift through the facts and fiction about weight loss / weight gain. This blog will shed some summer sunshine on a few simple truths to help us all reach our body goals.
(Jump all the way to the bottom for a quick summary!)
Beating the Bulge
For those of us looking to slim down for summer, the first major question to answer is ‘what is the best type of exercise for weight loss?’ A common misconception is that weight loss requires hours of running or sustained exercise. This is untrue. Research has shown that the most effective form of exercise for weight loss is what we call ‘interval training’. This is where you perform intervals of high intensity exercise dispersed with intervals of low intensity exercise in between. This principle can be applied to any form of exercise you chose to do. If walking, walk at a low intensity for 2min, then walk at a high intensity for 1min, and repeat. Or if riding the gym bike, peddle at a low intensity for 2min, then peddle at a high intensity for 1 min. The exact proportions can be adjusted depending on your fitness level. The most important thing to remember is that it’s all based on intensity. This doesn’t mean that you have to run or sprint, it just means you have to vary your effort level. During the low intensity period take it really easy, but during the high intensity period you have to work your guts off.
Packing on the Muscle
For those of us looking to get huge and impress the ladies with massive lower traps, here are a few pointers when it comes to packing on the muscle. Firstly, research has shown that the optimum dosage of sets and reps for the major muscle groups are 3-5 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest should be kept down to 2-3 minutes between sets. Secondly, heavy exercises that utilise multijoint movements should be performed early in the workout, whereas isolated single joint exercises should be performed late in the workout. An example of this in a 3 exercise chest work out would be: 1. Bench Press, 2. Push ups, 3. Dumbell flys. Thirdly, it’s important to keep your workouts fresh. Change the exercises in your work out at least every 8 weeks. For example you could swap push ups for dumbbell bench press and could swap dumbbell flys for cable cross overs. This ensures that you don’t hit those plateaus that occur when your body becomes too accustomed to an exercise regime.
The truth about protein
Many of us have heard different stories about protein supplements, but few of us actually know the truth. Whether your aim is to lose weight, or gain weight, protein can be used as an aide in achieving those goals. For those looking to lose weight, protein can be used as a meal replacement tool. The key in this method is to have a protein shake instead of having a normal meal. The protein will help to replenish your muscles after your interval training sessions, while the low fat content will ensure that you don’t put back on the fat you have just burned. For those looking to put on weight, consuming protein within 30min post work out has been shown to increase protein synthesis within skeletal muscle which results in greater muscle growth. One study found as much as a 26% increase in muscle growth for those consuming protein post work out compared to those who weren’t.
The most common misconception when it comes to protein is that protein supplements will make you pack on extreme amounts of muscle. The truth is that protein supplements will aid in muscle development and recovery, but will ONLY result in significant muscular growth when combined with a specific resistance training regime. For those of you looking to lose weight, you will be performing mostly interval training, so taking protein supplements will not cause you to bulk up. The other thing to remember is that protein is only a supplement. It’s aimed to supplement a healthy diet, not replace your diet all together. For more specific information on protein and complex diet related issues, you should seek advice from a registered dietician.
Now that you are armed with the facts, you are ready to begin a life changing body transformation. Just make sure you ease into your exercise regime so as to avoid overuse injuries that could set you back weeks. If you would like help in developing a safe exercise program, come in to Physionorth and our trained clinicians will be more than happy to help you reach your goals. Just make sure you thank us when you have picked up this summer!.. and remember – never be scared about exercising in a gym, no matter what fitness level you think you are at . The reality is that everyone (especially the meat heads and cover girls) spend more time looking at themselves in the mirror than they do looking at you!
• The best form of exercise for weight loss is interval training
• Optimum sets and reps for weight gain are 3-5 sets, 10-12 reps. Rest 2-3 min between sets
• Perform heavy multi joint exercises first, isolated single joint exercises last
• Keep your workouts fresh. Rotate exercises every 6-8 weeks
• Protein can aide in weight loss or weight gain
• protein supplements will aid in muscle development and recovery, but will ONLY result in significant muscular growth when combined with a specific resistance training regime
• Never be scared about exercising in a gym, no matter what fitness level you think you are at. The reality is that everyone (especially the meat heads and cover girls) spend more time looking at themselves in the mirror than they do looking at you!