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Training Tips: Why Are We Doing This?

January 26th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

trainingtips_photoWhen I ask my clients to perform certain exercises, they sometimes use the all too familiar stall tactic of asking a question.  Usually “how much time do we have left?” to which I answer “I’ll tell you when you have 5 minutes left” or “Why do I have to do squats?” and I will answer “because I said so”.  Occasionally, personal training sessions can verge on the dramatic.   So, this morning when my 7 am client fell to his knees on the mat after I had said “OK, one more time around” gasping “WHY?” I paused for thought, and I too wondered “Why?”.
We all know that exercise is good for us and gives us a feeling of wellbeing but I think we sometimes lose our focus on the “why” aspect by emphasizing the “how”.  Here are some common fitness recommendations, which have been tested by the sands of time, with a short explanation of why they are still good advice:

Do not eliminate all fats from your diet when you are trying to lose weight:

Good fats (poly and monounsaturated) should be included in a weight loss diet to satiate hunger, help with nutrition absorption and help with mental focus.  Fat also helps us to control our portion size.  In the 1980’s, when the fat-free phenomenon took off, obesity levels actually went up as studies showed that people felt they could eat larger portions of fat free products.  Fat free does not mean calorie free.  Good fats can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives and should represent 15% of a daily healthy diet.

Do your morning stretches:

Apart from the obvious ‘rise and shine’ aspect of stretching as soon as we wake up, stretching after a long rest helps with blood flow and oxygenation the blood to the muscles.  It is especially important to stretch gently before getting out of bed if you suffer from soft tissue related injuries such as plantar fasciitis or lower back pain, as a sudden change of position could cause tearing or pain.  Morning stretching helps with mobility and with joint aches.

Eat your greens:

Not only are green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and asparagus lower calorie choices than potatoes, corn or rice, they contain high levels of fiber and water which help with satiation, digestion and constitution.  Green vegetables contain nutrients such as iron, vitamins A and C and contain anti-oxidants to fight free radicals. Little known fact: broccoli is a good source of protein (2.3 g per half cup).

Do 30 minutes of cardio every day:

Elevating your heart rate to a minimum of 65% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes is enough to maintain a healthy heart, lungs, muscles and bones.  Cardio activity also stimulates blood flow, controls body weight and gives a feeling of wellbeing.  To find your heart rate range, use the following formula, known as the Karvonen Theory:   220-your age x .65 = number of beats per minute.

By Lynda Linforth

Lynda Linforth is a certified personal trainer, licensed nutritionist and owner of Train Inc., a private personal training studio in Arcadia specializing in weight loss, post-rehab exercise, post-cancer exercise and nutrition.  She can be reached at (626) 447-1049 or lyndalinforth@gmail.com.  Train Inc. also offers self-defense classes for men only and women only.

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