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Exercise Questions

  • How far should I run? I've been running 6km to improve my fitness. Should I increase this distance?

    Well it really depends upon your goal. If you want to run the furthest you can possibly run, and thus train your body for endurance capacity, then keep on running!

    The idea is to stress your body beyond the point that it is currently used to. If you can already run 6km, your body is well equipped to handle that, so continue to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and go for 7, 8, 9 or even 10km!

    Here's an article I think you may like to read which deals with this concept:

    http://www.aminoz.com.au/the-art-of-adaptation-a-165.html

  • What are the benefits of stretching? Why don't I see many people that stretch after their workout?

    Stretching is very important.  I'm a firm believer of this having worked with a number of injured clients for rehabilitation over the years.

    A lot of people avoid stretching because they feel that it's a waste of time and that it won't result in any change in your physique. However, what a many people fail to realise are the benefits of stretching, in addition to the implications of NOT stretching.

    Stretching will aid in flexibility. Flexibility is very important so you can safely perform exercises with a full range of motion. This is particularly important for large compound exercises, such as squats and lunges. For example, if you are tight through your hamstrings/glutes when performing squats, this will increase the degree of curvature of the lumbar spine and therefore increase the risk of serious spinal injury.

    Flexibility also has a positive effect on correct posture. This is important to avoid permanent re-alignment of your bone structure. Correct posture is also very important when performing many resistance and cardiovascular training exercises. One reason for this is to ensure that an even load is placed upon each side of the body.

    Stretching also promotes blood transport to muscle fibres. This enhances nutrient delivery to muscle cells (eg. glucose, amino acids etc.) and will therefore aid in recovery of that muscle.

    Therefore, stretching is vital at the completion of a workout.  I strongly suggest that you spend 5 minutes at the end of each workout stretching.

  • What is the best way to exercise to see results?

    A: Hi I can totally empathise with where you are at. As a serious athlete you are always looking for the absolute shortest possible way to generate results and there never seems to be a clear cut solution. There are some people who generate sensational results from using heavy weights and low reps and you may be forgiven for believing that is the be all and end all, but then you witness someone also getting great results from using moderate weights and super-setting every exercise they do, which in turn will get you wondering again.

    It is crazy stuff and surely there needs to be an ultimate! But you know in all honesty, I don’t believe there is one, speaking generally of course. There will be something that will work better for YOU, let’s see what we can do here.

    Yes there are some people out there who will definitely respond better to one training style compared to another, but I really don’t believe that you can ‘blanket’ your answer to fit all demographics. Of course no matter what training style you follow you still need to put in the hard yards and give it your all (you cannot expect to coast and go through the motions and succeed), but I believe as an athlete you really do have more ‘freedom’ and techniques at your disposal then you once may have commonly believed.

    So here I am not going to talk about set, reps and all the good stuff, I want to look at this from another angle. What I will do is cover 2 important aspects that you may not have thought of – consistency and belief.

    Consistency: No matter what style of program that you follow, you need to follow it with consistency. If your program calls for 4 sessions a week, then you need to hit the gym 4 days a week, day in and day out, week in and week out. Coming into the gym for 4 days one week, 2 days the next and then 3 days the week after, you will achieve minimal results at best.

    If that has been you, be hesitant before you blame your program rather blame your dedication. I have seen in more then one instance where some one will blame their inconsistency to turn up to the gym because they feel their program is inadequate. It always starts and ends with you!

    Additionally, never wait for the ‘perfect program’ before you decide to go all out. An ok program followed consistently will ALWAYS produce better gains then the perfect program followed some of the time.

    Belief: As we move from program to program trying to find the ultimate in workout protocols, have you ever stopped and wondered why it is that you are so unsure of what you have been doing? Or better yet, why you are even doing what you are doing?

    Results also come down to belief! If you do not believe in the system that you are using then what chance do you have? I guarantee if you ask someone who has generated sensational results from an abbreviated training program that they will believe in that system heart and soul. The same will be for someone who is following a more volume-orientated approach. They won’t be turning around and giving praise for the high-load work as they are pumping their way to continual gains – they in turn have total belief in the approach they are following.

    So the moral of the story, all programs can deliver big time results. There are too many people and too many styles of training with RESULTS being the proof that we cannot be convinced any other way. And you can be assured that form all the successful athletes, they were consistent in their training and also had total belief in what they were doing and what they were going to achieve.

  • Curves Gyms have an exercise program. I am already quite fit, what are the machines going to do for me?

    Curves Gyms are female only exercise workouts - so I have obviously never actually been to one.

    From what I know about Curves gyms, it is a circuit based workout that lasts for 30 minutes.  So long as you are able to step up the intensity of the sessions, you may be able to achieve such results as:

    • Fat loss
    • Strength increase
    • (Minimal) muscle gain
    • Fitness increase

    Circuit based workouts are geared toward a cardiovascular response, calorie expenditure and a strength response.  As a result, the major benefits could be a fitness increase (assuming the intensity is high enough for your level of fitness), weight loss (assuming that your nutritional intake allows for a calorie deficit) and a strength gain (assuming that the weight selected is high enough to stimulate a strength increase).  Do not expect any significant amount of muscle gain - circuit based workouts lean more toward strength than they do muscle gain.

    If you are seeking a solution for general fitness, Curves gyms may be a viable option.  It is important to remember that they should be integrated into a lifestyle plan - including nutrition and other forms of exercise, geared toward your specific goals.

  • After a HIIT workout I sleep for hours! Am I not fit enough to do this cardio?

    Possibly.  The HIIT cardio does put a lot of strain on your system and therefore you may be quite fatigued as a result.  Sleep is a great form of recovery - just ensure that you are not sleeping too much.  Studies have shown that a 30 minute power nap after a workout can aid recovery and enhance growth hormone production.  A 30 minute power nap during the day has also been shown to boost alertness, efficiency and focus.

    Following a high intensity workout, ensure that your nutrition is geared toward recovery - some fast-acting carbohydrates and protein.

    If the HIIT workouts are too full-on, you may be better off to reduce the intensity until your level of fitness improves to the point where HIIT is a more viable option.

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