(from Level One Training and Fitness, December 2014)

The “Core-ner”

Get it? “Core” – ner?! Okay, well anyway… core work should always be a part of your warm-up routine and the plank is a classic exercise. Whether you choose the standard plank (on your hands), the forearm plank (on your elbows), or the modified plank (on your knees), be mindful of the following: no sagging hips or head, no butts in the air, and always remember to breathe. Quality trumps quantity any day: a 1 minute plank with excellent form is better than a 2 minute plank with poor form. Try planking every other day, 2-3 times weekly and then watch your core strength develop!

3 Trainer “Secrets” to a Good Workout

First, unlock the door to your workout and warm-up! 10-15 minutes of some low-intensity cardio along with some core work should do the trick. Yep, get those planks and side planks in!

Second secret is a good solid workout – incorporate functional movements along the three planes of movement: saggital (forward/back-ward), frontal (side/vertical), and transverse (rotational). Examples of saggital plane movement: chest press, TRX rows, TRX lunges, and TRX Atomic Pushups. Frontal plane movements include lat pulldowns, upright rows, and hip abduction/adduction. And finally, Russian twists, woodchops, and paddling with the TRX Rip trainer make up a few transverse moves.

Final secret? Cool it down. Stretch all of the major muscle groups and stretch good meaning hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.

If you incorporate these three aspects into every workout, you’ll be amazed at what you can do in a month’s time!

Stretching

Cool down by getting your stretch on after your workout! Providing you remain consistent with and put effort into it, you should see improved range of motion over time as well as reduced feelings of stiffness and/or tightness. The most popular form of stretching is what’s known as static stretching. This is where you maneuver your body or a limb into position and then hold it for a period of time, usually 30-45 seconds. You should stretch to the point of feeling some tension, but there should be no pain. Remember to breathe regularly and evenly and to relax into the stretch. Getting a good 10-15 minute stretch in right after your workout will do wonders at improving your flexibility and you should begin to notice changes within a couple of weeks of starting a good stretching routine.

The Three Energy Systems of the Body

Despite how much energy you may feel you DON’T have after a tough Afterburn workout, your body has 3 energy systems at it’s disposal at all times. There’s a lot of science behind it, but for the everyday person trying to get fit, all you really need to know are some important basics.

The phosphagen system is first and uses none of the body’s carbohydrate or fat stores nor does it require any oxygen (anaerobic). This is the energy system responsible for your “110%” effort in a sprint, for example. You “run out” of this system when you “hit the wall.”

Next is glycolysis which is the breakdown of carbohydrates (sugar in the blood or glycogen in the muscles and liver) to fuel your body for upwards of a 20 minute run immediately after your sprint. Like the phosphagen system, there is very little in the way of oxygen use with this energy system.

Last, but certainly far from least, is the aerobic system which requires oxygen and utilizes sugar in your blood, glycogen in your muscles and liver, and fat. The aerobic system powers you through that nice long jog or walk after you’ve slowed down from running.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’ll know when you’re burning carbs and when you’re burning fat! And if you strive to knock out the first 2 systems in a workout, when you combine the aerobic fat burn with healthier eating choices, you’ll set yourself up for fitness success!

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