In order to succeed with your health and fitness goals, starting a program that incorporates movement you enjoy and feel comfortable doing will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. In our technologically advanced society where you can get almost anything at the touch of a button, something like exercise – something requiring physical and mental exertion and no small amount of patience – often feels more like a chore than a fun activity. Consequently, finding a program you enjoy will help ensure you maintain a long-term, active lifestyle instead of reverting back to a sedentary lifestyle. For instance, if you enjoy the way your body feels during and after a boxing session or during a high intensity interval training session, why not consider incorporating these into every session?
It’s important that you communicate to your trainer what exercises you enjoy and which ones you dislike. For instance, if you like being pushed hard but can’t stand doing exercises like box jumps or burpees, talk to your trainer. They will always encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone but will never make you do something you are uncomfortable (or dislike) doing.
Your “core”, as it is called in general terms, is the key to optimal performance, stability, and posture. It is the foundation for all movements of the body, and also functions as a biological lifting belt and brace.
Being able to activate your core will improve your posture by keeping your spine in alignment. It will also improve your ability to balance and perform complex movement patterns. Trying to perform technical and/or compound exercises without first activating your core is the easiest way to get injured at the gym, especially as you increase the weight being lifted.
To learn how to properly activate your core we urge you to speak with your personal trainer so that they can walk you through the steps in person. They may even give you simple core activation exercises that you can do at home or at work.
Building muscle strength comes down to two things: exercise and nutrition.
Consider experimenting with eccentric resistance training – slowing down the eccentric phase of muscle contraction. This method will cause the muscle to sustain greater levels of cellular damage and result in further cellular repair, which in turn means increased strength and muscle mass.
Protein is essential for gaining strength, as it is what the body uses to build the muscles back up to react to increased demand. Insufficient protein intake can hinder your efforts in the gym. Some people find it hard to eat sufficient protein throughout the day, in which case protein shakes may come in handy; however, real food is usually a better source for protein than supplements. Most people only need about 0.8-1g of protein per pound of lean body weight (not total weight) per day.
When it comes to building muscle, the best approach will depend on each individual person. Talk to your trainer about what you can do to build your muscle strength.
The July issue of our monthly e-newsletter – The Fitness File – is available now! This issue covers the following:
- practicing mindfulness
- fitness tip: stretch your lats!
- nutrition tip: from pantry to table
- COVID-19 studio update(s): latest updates
- club news: trainer testimonials and group training
- staff spotlight: Bahar Bakrani (Personal Trainer)
- studio Q&A: how can physiotherapy help me correct my posture?
Check it out here.