Resistance training is an important component in virtually every workout program and yet some people still tend to opt-out of it. You may not realize it but incorporating resistance training into your program can help you achieve a wide variety of fitness goals, not just strength-related goals. Did you know that resistance training can assist you in your weight loss goals? Some might find this contradictory given that resistance training looks to strengthen (add) muscle and may even require an increase in protein consumption; however, the addition of muscle mass built up through resistance training will actually act to burn body fat through an increase in resting caloric expenditure.
Are you looking to increase the weight you lift in your resistance training program? One way to see if you are ready is by performing a couple of extra repetitions than you normally do, using the weight you normally use, for a few of your workout sessions. If you find that you are able to do this with ease, then it may be a good time to consider increasing the weight.
Do you feel as though your resistance training has reached a plateau? You may want to consider slowing down the eccentric phase of muscle contraction, when the muscle is lengthening under tension as opposed to shortening. For instance, after lifting a weight (i.e. performing a bicep curl), lower the load through the entire range of motion to a count of 4-5 seconds. This method will cause the muscle to sustain greater levels of cellular damage and result in further cellular repair, which in turn results in increased strength and muscle mass.
Your thoracic spine can get pretty stiff – impacting your mobility – which may yet cause further compensations up and down the chain.
Watch Body & Soul Personal Trainer Laura (LC) discuss different ways to mobilize your thoracic spine. The number of sets and reps will be determined by how much mobility you have as well as how many reps you need.
Health and fitness is a lifelong commitment and while your goal(s) may have a specific deadline, maintaining the results of your hard work will require a long-term commitment to eating and living – you guessed it – healthy!
Not surprisingly, what you eat can strongly influence how you feel. Perhaps, however, your issue is less about what you’re eating and more about how much you’re eating. Some tips to help you avoid overeating include: eating several small meals throughout the day (helps prevent strong feelings of hunger in anticipation of one big meal), eating a well-balanced breakfast, taking time to chew your food, and taking time to plan and prepare your meals in advance.
Healthy living – a broad topic – can include things like reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking; however, for the sake of simplicity, we want to focus on healthy living through regular exercise. Exercising regularly not only improves memory, stress level, energy levels, and (of course) your physical health (i.e. heart, brain, body composition, etc.), but it can also help improve your sense of confidence and overall happiness!
In order to achieve your health and fitness goals, you need to commit to both active living and healthy eating, as the two go hand-in-hand; a poor-quality diet will likely result in a less active lifestyle. According to many experts, it takes approximately 66 days to establish a habit – what are you waiting for?
You may have heard that exercise is a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind but do you know why? Though more research is required to better understand the relationship, studies continue to show that exercise brings mental clarity, in part, due to increased blood flow throughout the body, by which more oxygen and energy is supplied to the brain. Additionally, the hippocampus (critical for memory and learning) is very active during physical activity and – with the neurons firing up in the hippocampus – cognitive function is found to improve.1 According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise helps improve cognitive function because physical activity helps reduce fatigue and improves alertness, concentration and your quality of sleep – neat!
When we feel stressed, our bodies experience increased levels of Cortisol. Cortisol is a stress-hormone that decreases metabolism, immune-response, bone-density and muscle tissue, and increases blood-pressure and abdominal fat. However, did you know you can counter the effects of Cortisol with Endorphins? Endorphins fight Cortisol, alleviate pain and stimulate the production of dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical in our brains. So, how can we increase the production of Endorphins to battle Cortisol? Since Endorphins are naturally produced in response to exercise, the answer is easy – get moving!
Body & Soul is excited to be a part of the BC Coalition of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada!
You might recognize some of our wonderful team in the video!