When it comes to health and fitness goals – weight loss, strength gains, more energy or general fitness – the question of whether nutrition or exercise is more important often comes up. Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed experts will argue for one or the other; however, in the end it really depends on your “bigger picture” goal. Is your goal simply to lose a certain number of pounds or is it to maintain a healthy weight and feel good about your body long-term?
If you have a weight loss goal then it is important to note that achieving that goal will strongly depend on your ability to maintain a good nutritional routine that includes a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you eat). However, establishing a strong workout routine will not only improve your metabolism, but it will also help you develop muscles and shape your body which will ultimately help you look and feel better! In our experience, clients with a healthy and strong nutritional routine and a good commitment to fitness tend to report a high level of satisfaction with their health, level of fitness and zest for life!
A good cool down can help prevent dizzy spells after an intense workout. Often, the reason we get dizzy spells is that blood pools in the large muscle groups after they have been worked out, leaving the brain deprived of oxygen and blood. Allowing your body to cool down will promote blood flow away from those muscle groups and back to a normal circulatory pattern. Also, it will help clear out the lactic acid (which gives a burning sensation) from the area. Lastly, it will gradually and safely bring heart rate and blood pressure back to their normal levels.
Following a cool down, a brief stretching period will help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness and can help make the day following a tough workout a bit easier.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
It’s important not to let your comfort zone prevent you from achieving your health and fitness goals but oftentimes we tend to find comfort in what’s familiar and known to us. While this may seem harmless, complacency can (and often will) hinder one’s progress, particularly when it comes to individual health and fitness goals.
Many of us, at some point in time, have reached a plateau with respect to our goals – i.e. unable to lose the last three pounds after significant weight loss over several months – and the frustration may lead us to completely abandon our current routine and seek new, and sometimes desperate, alternatives (i.e. supplements or extreme dieting). What many people don’t realize is that the body may have simply adapted to the current demand (load, reps, intensity, etc.) and may just require modifications to once again be challenged. Essentially, you may not need to change what you’re doing, but instead how you are doing it.
There are many ways that you can change how you go about your workout; for instance, if you’ve been comfortably performing three sets of 15 goblet squats with a 20lb dumbbell, try: 1) increasing the load to a 25lb dumbbell, 2) increasing the reps and performing three sets of 20, or 3) incorporating an isometric hold at the end of each rep (holding the squatting position for 10-15 seconds before rising).
Are you ready? Some key tips to keep in mind as you transition from the wet and cold winter to the warm and sunny summer:
- For many of us, the summer months bring out the desire to get outside and resume activities that may have lain dormant for most or all of the winter months. Activities like golfing, gardening and cycling use the muscular and skeletal systems in ways that likely differ from what you have been doing all winter. It’s important to let your trainer know if you plan to start these activities so that they can help you better prepare your body for them. Having a strong foundation is vital for injury prevention and optimal performance!
- Are you planning to travel this summer? Don’t succumb to complete inactivity. Small breaks are needed for rest and recovery; however, keeping some level of activity during a holiday will ensure you don’t lose the foundation you have worked so hard to build. Again, we urge you to talk to your trainer before heading off on holiday to get some tips or to devise a program to keep you on track.
- Spring clean your routine; check in with your trainer about new goals, get a reassessment, plan new activities and prepare for them properly to avoid weekend warrior syndrome (when you don’t exercise during the week and then push yourself too hard on the weekend).
Enjoy the warmer weather and outdoors but try not to abandon your training routine completely. It will help maintain your foundation, prepare and supplement your summer activities, prevent injury, and ensure you don’t have to start all over again in the fall. Stay safe and have an amazing summer!
The July issue of our monthly e-newsletter – The Fitness File – came out this week! This issue covers the following:
- choosing the right diet
- fitness tip: turning chores into a workout
- nutrition tip: foods that benefit your skin!
- club news: studio closure, more small group training, new staff members and consultations
- staff spotlight: Anna Kim (Personal Trainers)
- Q&A: can physiotherapy help me before surgery?
Check it out here.