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Trainer Tip: Overtraining– How to avoid it and how to tell if you’re training too much
Personal Trainer Dan Buhler
Overtraining is defined by a series of emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms and can otherwise be known as the “burnout” stage. This is different from the day-to-day variation in one’s performance and post-exercise tiredness that is common. Overtraining is marked by extended periods of exhaustion that occur even after recovery periods. Common symptoms are; fatigue, mood swings, altered sleep patterns, depression, or the loss of competitive desire and enthusiasm for a sport. Some will report a lack of appetite and weight loss. Physical symptoms include elevated levels of muscular soreness, increased frequency of viral illnesses, an increase in injuries, and abnormal heart rates.
After reaching a certain level of fatigue, it is crucial that you allow your body to recover, either by rest or easy recovery workouts. Rather than dealing with the problem once it occurs, it’s important to add some basic measures in your daily life to prevent those red flags before they begin.
- Follow your plan, not your training or exercise partner’s routine
- Set goals and keep a training log
- Eat properly and sleep well
- Decrease your level of stress (work, family, etc.)
- Get a physical and blood tests every six months
- Rest. Take a day off each week, or even a few if necessary.
Trainer Tip: Make sleep a priority.
Personal Trainer Bennett Kothe
Gym goers are very aware of the role training and nutrition play on one’s fitness, but some may not be paying enough attention to the period of time when their body is repairing itself from the last workout. According to multiple studies, sleep is one of the most anabolic things a person can do because that’s when hormones, like growth hormone, are primarily released. Not getting enough sleep can weaken the immune system, diminish alertness and inhibit your body’s natural production hormones.
Some sleep tips you could follow to get into a good routine:
1) Turn electronic devices off 1-2 hour prior to sleep. Phones, tablets, and TVs can emit blue light that can boost attention, reaction times, and mood; obviously not ideal for a good sleep environment.
2) Regulate caffeine intake- you should avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before sleep
3) Cut out the nightcap- Yes.. Sorry to say it but alcohol before bed can disrupt sleep cycles. It can mess with your circadian rhythm, dehydrate you, lower testosterone, and hinder muscle growth.
4) Plan sleep into your schedule- set aside AT LEAST 8 hours a day for sleep. Athletes and those training at a high intensity may need more.
Trainer Tip: The Importance of Corrective Exercises
Personal Trainer Justin Leach
It can be very challenging when considering a workout routine that will get you to your goals safely and effectively. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete, an average joe, recovering from surgery or an injury, we all have movement discrepancies. These discrepancies over time lead to incorrect movement habits, chronic pain, postural problems, and injury. For these reasons it is very important to see a fitness professional that can correctly assess your movement patterns and be able to recommend exercises that fit your individual needs. Corrective exercises help to avoid these pitfalls and should be an essential part of every program. These exercises should address postural distortions, pain, and imbalances by targeting areas that are deficient in the individual’s movement patterns. Examples of these movements include self-myofascial release techniques, dynamic range of motion exercises, stability work, isolated activation techniques, and more.
Trainer Tip: Try Unilateral movements
Personal Trainer Adam Knueppel
Training limbs individually, rather than engaging both sides together, is a popular and highly beneficial technique. Unilateral exercises are now widely recognized as an important part of any strength-training routine.
When it comes to our bodies, typically one side is more dominate. This in turn causes imbalances all over the body layering in to all the body systems, not just the muscular system.
One way to prevent those imbalances is to incorporate unilateral training. Unilateral training is movement that’s produced by one limb. Therefore, instead of using two limbs to lift an object, you only use one. Take a squat for example: usually it is done with two legs, but if you try to squat on one leg then you will see how much more difficult and challenging it can be.
Unilateral movements are more challenging because they involve core stabilization, balance, and strength in order for the body to move more cohesively as one unit. So, if you are curious to know how or what to do for a unilateral movement, don’t hesitate to ask me!
Trainer Tip: The Importance of Training Balance
Personal Trainer Lauren Gedemer
Balance is one major component of fitness along with a few others—cardiovascular, stability, strength, and flexibility—however it is often overlooked. Balance is required for almost every type of movement and it plays a large role in preventing falls and even potential fall-related injuries regardless of what age we are.
The American College of Sports Medicine classifies balance exercises as functional fitness training and neuromotor exercise and recommends incorporating the training two to three days per week.
Balance training should be easy to incorporate into any workout. Instead of sitting or standing during dumbbell work for example, try it seated on a stability ball. You can increase the difficulty level by lifting one foot off the floor so that you’re required to balance and stabilize your body in an upright position. The same is true using the black or blue side of the Bosu ball. Single-leg work is another great form of balance training.
If these things seem too difficult to do right now, stand on one foot while you brush your teeth, do the dishes, or wait for something in the microwave – count slowly to 10 then switch feet. Once this begins to get easier, try incorporating some more difficult movement such as those listed above. Remember: if you don’t use it, you lose it!
It’s never too late to improve on anything, including your balance!
Note: This technique is a feature of the small group training program called Fusion that Nate designed and conducted at Razor Sharp
Personal Trainer Justin Leach busts the myth of: Abdominal Crunches Leads to Washboard Abs
The Myth: Doing only sit-ups and crunches will give you six pack abs
The Reality: Pop culture tries to convince us that doing sit-ups and crunches will give us the quintessential six pack that all gym goers desire. This could not be further from the truth. The most effective way to achieve abdominal definition is to combine highly metabolic training variables with a sound nutritional program. It starts in the kitchen. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will contribute highly to a spike in metabolism which is required for weight loss around the
Abdominal exercises are great. Using these dynamic patterns of motion build much needed strength, stability, range of motion, and flexibility. The reason this is important is because we typically neglect using our abdominals
correctly due to our everyday movement habits such as sitting for extended periods of time. These habits have created unstable environments within our movement that could potentially be leading to back, hip, and knee pain.
Tips from the Personal Trainer Nate Skop busts myths about:
How to Maximize Your Workout
The belief: Reps x Sets x Machine = Success!
The reality: How you utilize your time in the gym efficiently is directly related to workload (as measured by heartrate) and time at that rate, making circuit training a “must” for those whose goal is to lean out and tone up. Alternating aerobic and strength activities in 3- to 5-minute bursts, both at a similar workload, will yield extremely good fat-burning and anaerobic threshold results. Studies have shown that a circuit session of approx. three minutes of aerobic activity at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate, followed by five minutes at a strength station at a similar workload provides better results than a traditional lift. A critical factor is to keep your heart rate in an efficient fat-burning zone for a prolonged period of time without killing your recovery time between rounds. So, stay moving for a consistent period of time by utilizing multiple stations and tying in cardiovascular exercise as a filler or bridge between strength training!
Note: This technique is a feature of the small group training program called Fusion that Nate designed and conducted at Razor Sharp
Tips from the Personal Trainer Amanda Neumiller busts the myth of:
The (increasingly) common belief: A gluten-free diet is a “healthy” diet.
The reality: If you’re looking at changing your diet for weight loss and/or to improve your health, a gluten-free diet won’t be the answer. When gluten is taken out of a food, something else has to be added back in to replace the flavor that is lost with the gluten. Typically, gluten is replaced with fats or sugars. Studies have shown that gluten free-diets by themselves won’t help slim you down, or make you healthier. A gluten-free diet is most beneficial for those who have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance.
To sum it up – unless you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, a gluten-free diet will not offer you a healthier diet. If avoiding gluten gets you to cut out junk/processed food, read labels and just generally makes you more aware of what you’re eating, then this can be a good start to a healthier lifestyle. However, your best bet for weight loss is to limit the processed foods you eat and to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet.
Tips from the Personal Trainer Jenny Willis busts the myth of:
The common belief: When you exercise a specific body part or set of muscles, fat can and will be lost in that area (i.e. the more crunches and sit ups I do, the less belly fat I will have). While this would make my job WAY EASIER, and the majority of us have our “trouble spots” we would love to pinpoint, it just doesn’t work this way.
The reality: When we eat food, excess calories are stored in our bodies as subcutaneous fat. The way we can help to reverse this process is by exercising and metabolizing our “storage” into fuel for our muscles. When the body starts using fat stores for fuel (i.e. “burning fat”), it doesn’t take fat stores from the closest muscle being utilized or flexed, but from all over the body. More importantly, everyone has their own pattern of how fat is stored and then utilized. Therefore, some people are blessed and lose belly fat first, while others store more in their thighs or arms.
So, your best bet for losing body fat is to increase your cardio workout, pursue a quality weight lifting program and have a good, high-quality diet!
Personal Trainer Nate Skop urges you to:
Work on Self-Awareness
It’s important that while you challenge yourself to become stronger, gain more endurance and be more flexible as you train, you are also focusing on self-awareness. Understanding the repetitive movements and posture positions your body experiences day in and day out is very important. Everyone develops imbalances by just existing; it doesn’t matter if you have a job where you sit or if you stand, awareness and correction of the imbalances created by daily life in your training plan will only prolong and improve your health.
Warm Up and Cool Down
A proper warm up and cool down are just as important as, if not more important than, the workout itself. Surprising? Here’s why: using different movements in different planes as part of a warm-up acts as a “body primer.” It can help produce quicker results, as well as prevent injury or pain. Challenging yourself to move in different directions or planes of motion will increase your physical ceiling and make your workout more fun! A gentle cool-down helps heart rate, breathing and temperature return to normal and avoid dizziness. It also aids in removal of waste products like lactic acid from the muscles you’ve been working, and that means less soreness afterwards!
Personal Trainer Lauren Gedemer suggests you:
Have a Drink…of WATER!
Pure, unaltered H2O is often overlooked as a critical aspect of overall health and meeting our weight/fitness goals. Water boosts metabolism, cleanses the body of waste and even acts as an appetite suppressant. A well-hydrated body facilitates faster, more efficient fat loss.
I use the rule, “4 Before Your Feet Hit the Floor:” keep a glass of water by your bed and chug 4 oz. (more if you can!) before you even leave your room each morning. Our bodies dehydrate while we sleep, so it’s only fair that we replenish what we’ve lost during rest. You’ll also fire up your metabolism for the day, flush out toxins and fuel your brain.
Working out and eating right, but still not seeing the numbers on the scale change in your favor? Start logging your water — aim for a gallon a day (that’s 128 oz.!!). You might be surprised at what this one small change can do for you!
Let’s Take it Outside!
We are finally turning the corner to Spring/Summer in Southeast Wisconsin, which means nicer weather! Although we love to see you at the club and in our group fitness classes working out, try to take your workout outdoors at least a few times a week to break up the monotony.
Have a dog? Aim for 30 minutes outdoors with Fido every day – walking, running, playing, anything! Both of you will benefit from the fresh air, cardiovascular activity and extra Vitamin D!
Live near a park or school? Try hill or stair sprints, pushups and triceps dips on benches, and pull-ups on monkey bars. Bring a jump rope with you and create a circuit to do 3-4x.
Take it to the beach — grab friends for volleyball, or take a walk or jog. Any activity in the sand will amp up your cardio work and proprioception for muscles, burning more calories than pounding the pavement alone.
Our climate may only give us a few months of nice weather, so take advantage of it! Your mind, body and muscles will thank you!
Personal Trainer Amanda Neumiller counsels you to:
Keep Your Feet Happy
In the course of everyday life, you ask a lot of your feet – so, keep them happy! Basic foot and joint health starts by wearing the correct footwear. Shoes that are worn out or lack support can result in many adverse effects. Buying shoes for their “look” may not give you enough stability. For sports, the correct footwear can provide a foundation for the overall performance of the muscles you rely on for those key repetitive activities.
When it comes to footwear for working out, there are many to choose from; each brand offers different styles, colors and types of support. To help you decide, you need to consider if:
- Your shoes are more than a year old
- Your ankle rolls in (pronate) or out (supinate)
- You have high arches or flat feet
- You expect to be logging more miles this year
- You plan to run/walk outdoors or on a treadmill
Armed with that information, ask for some assistance when you next try shoes on – find a reputable store that specializes in athletic foot gear.
Stop Judging Yourself
In a world of outrageous expectations, we are our own harshest critics. We force ourselves to think we should look like that person on the magazine cover, or run as (seemingly) effortlessly as this person next to us on the treadmill, or maybe be as flexible as someone else a few yoga mats away, with his or her foot wrapped around his or her head!
Stop comparing and judging yourself! We are all made to be different.
When we turn our focus to loving ourselves, health and fitness come more easily! Instead of trying to achieve a “Perfect Body” image, we should encourage ourselves and those around us to achieve a “Healthy Body” image. And then approach working out as something we do not because we HATE our bodies, but because we LOVE them!
Personal Trainer Krystal DeBaker suggests you:
Try a Yoga Class
Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years.
Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles: it’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.
Razor offers a range of yoga classes with a variety of instructors and different levels of intensity. Try one today!
New Year, New You?
It’s that time of year again — time to challenge yourself with some New Year’s resolutions. Many people resolve to begin an exercise program, only to abandon it before Easter.
The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that they can be extremely impractical. Setting goals is a great idea, but make sure they are realistic and feasible. For example, a goal to lose 12 lbs by Easter is both reasonable and achievable. So is a goal to complete a 5K run by tax day. Conversely, a goal to complete a marathon by that date is unrealistic and potentially unsafe for newbie runners. Think of it as if you were building a house: start slowly (with low intensity and shorter duration), develop a solid foundation of fitness and then build upon that foundation as your fitness improves!
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