If you have any passion and dedication to your exercise regime, chances are you have met a few personal trainers by now. Chances are also you got some pretty awesome tips from them. But you know the chances are, they never told you the really important stuff. So today, we decided to dig into the mystery and bring you these personal training secrets you wouldn’t normally hear!
Not all kinds of stretching are the same
Proper stretching before a workout is the staple of any exercise routine, and any serious trainer, or any sports coach, will insist that you kick start your flexibility before you start any earnest workout. However, there are different ways to go about it.
The kind of slow and steady stretching we were all taught in PE class is just the barest of basics, aimed at getting kids and beginners to move without being too strenuous. However, it will not get you very far on the road to weight loss and muscle building. What you need to start considering is dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching is considered the best pre-workout activity that you can take up, because it helps lubricate your joints by releasing synovial fluid. This, in turn, increases your overall joint mobility and agility, and lessens the risk of getting injured during exercise. Choose the specific dynamic stretch moves that engage those areas of the body on which you want to work in that day’s gym session. In general, the rule of thumb is to select around four and then do eight to fifteen reps of each.
The HIIT approach is no longer the champion of weight loss
Up until fairly recently, and even now to an extent, HIIT, a.k.a. High Intensity Interval Training was all the rage when it came to the topic of burning fat and losing weight. The core precept of this approach is that you sharply execute short sessions (bursts) of highly intense activities in between periods of low intensity (resting times). The trouble is, this engages only two-thirds of your body’s activity system.
According to a personal trainer in Nashville whom we asked for some insight, the body has different systems of spending energy during workouts: the creatine phosphate process-based, the lactate process-based, and the aerobic process-based systems. A standard HIIT session engages only the first two.
In order to balance it all out and achieve the optimal results from your workouts, you need to use HIIT training in combination with LISS training. LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State, and it includes activities such as cycling, running or jogging, rowing, power walking, and the like. These are the activities that are absolutely essential if you want to lose weight.
The problem is that most people on a weight loss journey pick one of the two and stick to it like Velcro. The more of something you do, the more accustomed to it your body becomes. It finds more efficient ways to perform the same tasks, and so the effect of the activity drastically drops. To offset this, you need to set challenges – increase the distance you run, increase your pace. Considering that you need several sessions of LISS every week if you want it to count, this can become very inconvenient very quickly.
So you need to throw some HIIT into your LISS mix (or the other way around). If you are aiming to lose weight through exercise, this is the rule of thumb for the ideal workout regime: have one or two sessions of HIIT per week, in between three or four LISS sessions, and try to do resistance training on a regular basis, around three times each week.
Lifting comes in more varieties than you think
Finally, no fitness tips guide would be complete without a few words on weightlifting. This is probably the single most popular way to get leaner and build muscle mass. But did you ever consider the technicalities behind your recommended reps?
One of the most widespread weightlifting methods is the so-called “superset”. In these, you pick one muscle or muscle group, and perform two sets of two kinds of different exercises, consecutively. Then you take a breather of about a minute and do another set pair, and again, for a total of three to five set pairs. This intense and narrow focus helps rack up muscles in a target area really fast.
Then there are the descending and ascending pyramids. This refers to scaling weight: you start with either the minimum or maximum that you can handle, do a number of reps, and then increase or decrease the weight for the next round.Throughout each set, you shock your muscles into adjusting and thus getting toned. Other popular weightlifting approaches include matrixes, negatives, and drop sets.