Are You Doing The Right Thing At The Gym?
As we approach New Year's Resolution season, I wanted to make sure that when we (yes, even I struggle in December) get back in the gym in the new year, that we are able to get the most bang for our buck! This morning I was talking with another patient who goes to the gym regularly, but this patient (and MANY others) don't have a plan when they go. She tends to fall into the same routine when she gets there (typically for her 3 times per week). Let me know if this sounds familiar to you:
Cardio Equipment (Slow Pace) - 5-10 minutes
-Bike, Treadmill, Rower, Elliptical
Cardio Equipment (Increased Intensity) - 30-45 minutes
- Same Equipment as Warm-up
Weight Training - 30-45 minutes
- Back and Bi's or Chest and Tri's, All on Machines
Cardio Equipment (Lower Intensity) - 15 minutes
-Usually different piece of equipment
Stretching - 10 minutes
Total Workout Time Range - 90 - 125 minutes!
Can you imagine spending an hour and half to two hours in the gym? I can't! I cannot even imagine being able to find two free hours in my day!
So how can we improve upon this workout plan?
First, make it more EFFICIENT, and then make it more EFFECTIVE!
The workout section of this plan needs to be condensed to include weight training, that is done quickly enough to elevate our heart rate. This allows us to combine cardio and strength training into one 15-30 minute session. How else can we make this more efficient? Please, can we throw out the notion that we have to do Back and Bi(cep)s on one day, and Chest and Tri(cep)s on another, and then spend another day doing legs. Your body does not think in terms of the muscles being used. It only worries about performing movements. The more moving parts in the movement, typically, the more beneficial (and more challenging) the exercise is. These exercises with lots of moving parts are commonly referred to as compound movements, and are vastly superior to an isolation movement. Instead of sitting down at a machine to do a leg press (Isolation) movement, I would much rather see you squatting in a standing position (Compound). Even if you can only do body weight squats! When was the last time that you laid down on your back and pushed 300 lbs with your legs? I'll give you a little hint, the answer is probably "Never!" The next piece of advice that I would give you is to find a program that works for you. There needs to be some variety in the plan. If there is no variety, and you are a human being, you will get BORED! When you are bored, it is much easier to come up with excuses to avoid the gym!
As the new year approaches, take a couple of minutes to plan some changes for your exercise routine. If you have not been exercising regularly, this is a great time to start. If you are stuck doing the same old stuff every time that you go to the gym, find a new program or exercise that will make you excited to get back to the gym!
Now is the time to make up for all those sweets that you ate during the holidays!
We truly hope that you enjoy the Holiday Season with your friends and family! And we look forward to helping you to reach your health and fitness goals in 2017.
Movement is my Medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam