Change it Up

As I have written in previous blogs I truly believe that everyone should strength training during the time change.  In other words, when the time falls back in November, you should be in the gym strength training until it springs ahead in March. 

If you have been following my advice and you have been strength training since November (or longer), it may be time to change up your program.  If you are following the progression and adaptation as explained on the Professional and Personal website, you may be finding it difficult to increase you workload.  That mean it is time for a change. 

Now I am not a big fan of what is called “Muscle Confusion” (I have enough trouble with mental confusion). I believe you need to allow the muscle to adapt to the stress of strength training. To change the workout every time does not allow for adaptation.  However it may be time to make some changes. 

Try increasing the resistance and decreasing the number of reps. Or just the opposite; increase the reps and decrease the resistance.  I would not recommend doing more than 15 reps.  You could also change the angles, try incline or decline press instead of the flat bench; front Squats instead regular; dumbbell curls instead of bar curls, you get the idea.  Use the same muscle group, just at a different angle. 

The one thing I would not change is the number of sets.  The most benefit happens in the first set no matter what the rep/resistance or angle as long as you’re taxing the muscle group to near fatigue. On a scale of 1 to 10, shoot for a 7.  No matter how you change your program maintain sound strength training principles and most of all ENJOY!

Have a nice trip, see you next fall!

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, at some point in our lives we all depart from the comfort of our personal homes and routines to visit another location. It might be a quick trip to the next town over for a business conference or a cruise halfway around the world for months at a time. No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing is for sure, our normal exercise routines get tossed to the curb.

If you work out in a gym, suddenly you might not have access to familiar equipment or any equipment at all. So may you give up strength training because you were not prepared for change.

We are creatures of habit – while working a normal day job, we can stick to a routine pretty easily (wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, work out at the same time, go to sleep at the same time). So, when we start traveling, it is easy to give in and give up strength training if it is not our normal routine. It’s the why bother if we can’t use the gym mentality.

I am not asking you to pack your heavy weights and head out to Grandma’s house this Thanksgiving, but try tucking a resistance band into your purse or backpack before you head out the door. There are all kinds of videos of band exercise on the internet, just a little search and you can have a total workout right in your room.

If you happen to forget the band, you can always use your own body weight for a strength workout (there will be no excuses for leaving that behind). Pushups, planks, lunges, squats and burpees can give you a total body workout.

So get creative when you are traveling- Strength training is for everyone! Muscle mass decreases as part of the natural aging process, there is no time like now to strength train.

Here is the payout!

For years I have strength trained. Starting as far back as college, I have been in the gym on regular basis. Now at the age of sixty I am getting the payout! Less than a month ago I had my hip resurfaced. Now some may say that all the exercise I did was the cause of the hip going bad in the first place, and I have to admit that may be half true. It was not the exercise that caused my hip to go bad, but more the fact that I exercised while injured. I had a groin injury that meant I should have stopped running until it healed. I did not! The injury changed my running gate and put undue stress on my joints. The rest, as they say, is history.

However, I can tell you that, thanks of all the strength training I have done, I was a good candidate for a “Hip Resurfacing” instead of a “Total Hip.” The factors that made me a good candidate were my bone structure and bone density. Having a resurfacing instead of a total hip will allow me to continue/resume all the activities I enjoy and have enjoyed in the past. My life goal of running the Boston Marathon is now a real possibility!

The more immediate benefits are the recovery from the surgery and return to activity. Because I had the strength in my other leg and good upper body strength, my recovery is going great. The night of surgery, I was able to get myself out of bed and go to the bathroom by myself. I was back to work in 10 days and started to use a cane instead of a walker in just 2 weeks. I started driving in two weeks; last night I used the riding lawn mower to cut the lawn!

I still have a long way to go before I am running, but my point is that thanks strength training all those years, my recovery has been a lot easier. I truly believe that as we age, things like this are going to happen to all of us. It will be a lot easier on you if have the strength to deal with it.

Keep strength training

It's TIME to Strength Train

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am a big believer that everyone should be strength training with the time change. As daylight gets shorter and we change to daylight savings time, and we spend more time indoors, now is the time to start lifting. It works out great if you follow the principles of “progression “ and “adaptation” to lift until the day light gets longer, when we change the time back, and we are outside more.

As you begin your program, start out slow. Make sure your program involves both sides of the joint. This is done by remembering that if you push, then you have to pull. If you do a chest press (push) do a seated row (pull) to balance the joint.

Progression and adaptation is about using more resistance while allowing the muscles adapt and become stronger. Increase the resistance every two to three weeks the smallest amount possible and allow the muscles to adapt. You can find more information about this on the Strength Training page of the PPW website (www.properwell.com). If you do this, then just about the time you reach the maintenance level of your program it will be time to go back outside and enjoy your newly developed strength!

Owwwww- It Hurts

We all know the feeling- you are working out and feeling great!  You decide to increase your weights and are thinking how strong you are - and 2 days later you feel like you were hit by a Mac Truck. Everything hurts- even the hair on your head!

Never fear you are not going to die and very soon you will be able to lift your fork to your mouth without pain.  What has happened is DOS- the dreaded delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOS typically starts about a day after intense exercise or pushing ourselves harder than usual. The pain usually peaks on day 3. Then never fear your body will start to feel better. 

Research shows that you can help reduce some of the pain by immediately using ice or cold packs.  Although the verdict is out on how long to ice- 20 minute intervals on the painful area for up to 24 hours seems to help the most and it is easiest to do.  Applying heat to sore muscles is another way to get relief, heat therapy relieves muscle soreness because extra heat increases muscle tissue metabolism leading to faster recovery.  Also remember to keep moving, I know it would feel good to just sit in the Lazy Boy but don’t give in Stretching and being active will help in recovery.