Tuesday, 19 June 2012

5 Common Misconceptions When Designing an Exercise Programme

1.              There is a Fat Burning Zone

Yes technically there is a fat burning zone, although it is misleading. In this zone you will burn a larger percentage of fat than any other macronutrient. However, in the grand scheme of things, when you exercise at higher intensities, you will burn a lower percentage of fat compared to protein and carbohydrates, but the overall amount of fat you will burn is much higher than in the fat burning zone.

2.              3 Sets of 10 repetitions are best

The concept of 3 sets of 10 reps was established by Delorme in the 1940s as a way of helping rehabilitate World War II veterans. He prescribed 50% of their 10 rep max (10RM) in the first set, 75% of their 10RM in the second and 100% of their 10RM in the third set. However, nowadays the percentages have been dropped from the sets and the loads remain consistent throughout the 3 sets.

The number of sets and reps will depend largely on your goals, training history and where abouts you are in your programme. If you keep to the same set and rep range then you will find that you will start to plateau. (stay at the same weight, size, muscle mass etc).

3.              Cardio Vascular (Aerobics) is Best for Fat Burning

This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the exercise and weight loss world. If long, slow steady-state aerobics was the key to fat loss every person who crosses the finish line of a marathon or Iornman would have very low body fat. Whilst you will burn some fat, it is not as effective as other types of energy system training such as resistance training and higher intensity interval training.

4.              Train Large Muscle Groups Before Small Ones

Yes, in theory true. However, the body does work as one synergistic unit, so in reality, you can’t isolate muscle groups anyway. The best way to work around this is to focus on the weaker areas first regardless of size.

5.              Work the Core Last

This will depend largely on your workout. If the focus of your workout is smaller muscle groups, then work your core muscles first. If your workout is focusing on larger muscle groups then you may wish to complete them at the end of the session.

If you would like a programme written specifically for you and your goals then, come and join me at PB Fitness.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What’s the best exercise?

One question that I get asked more than any other is this one.

More often than not the question is followed by ‘….for weight loss’ and then of course there are variations of the question, ‘I’ve heard swimming is the best exercise for weight loss, is that true?’ ‘Running is the best exercise for weight loss isn’t it?’

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to spot the link, and though it makes me a little sad that so many people’s only motivation for exercising is weight loss, it’s a reality that we as fitness professionals really should embrace.

The answer to the question by the way is very simple…..the best exercise is the one you will do.

If weight loss is your goal then consistency is what you should be looking for. Is going to the gym a chore? Do you resent having to get up early to fit in a swim? Is running boring? Then stop. These are not the things that will give you the body you want because you don’t enjoy them.

Enjoyment leads to adherence (actually turning up) and adherence leads to results. Have you been a member of more than 2 gyms this year? Have you got a treadmill in your home? Have you tried going on a diet? Then you probably haven’t got the body you want. And you probably won’t ever have. Unless you make some changes.

There are two things you need to know:

1.   You can make your body look and feel great.
2.   It won’t happen just because you want it to.

So what do you want? How much do you want it? What are you prepared to change to get it? More importantly, what are you prepared to change permanently to get it? In this case you want weight loss, and you say you want it a lot, but what are you actually prepared to change. If it means giving something up, forever, or adding something new, forever, will you still do it?

If you are on a diet, or a member of a gym, or have a treadmill, ask yourself these questions:

1.   Do I enjoy doing these things?
2.   Can I really do these things forever?

If the answer is yes, brilliant. You are on your way! If the answer is no, relax. You are not alone. You are in fact far from alone but you can do something about changing this.

Eat and drink things you like. You know the stuff that’s not doing you any favours, so try and swap this for better choices. Better is better, even if better isn’t perfect. Like chips? Eat chips. But eat oven chips. As good as a baked potato? Not really, but better than those you’ll find from your local chip shop.

As for exercise, there are all sorts of games, sports and activities, that you can do. I don’t know what you will like doing but I know when you find it, you will keep doing it.

Good Luck and Enjoy.