HORMONES AND EXERCISE
Your body is a chemistry lab, not a bank account and that weight loss is much more than a calories-in, calories-out game. The type of food you choose, when you eat them and the amounts you consume have a powerful effect on your metabolism. Similarly, exercise is much more than just a way to burn calories. By understanding the hormonal effects of exercise you can ensure that your program is set up to give you the results you are looking for.
Most people make the mistake of thinking that cardiovascular training is the number one way to lose weight. This is a misconception. Cardiovascular training can burn calories and definitely benefits the heart and lungs. Done correctly it can be a beneficial part of a complete exercise program. Done incorrectly due to excess intensity or excess duration, it can raise stress hormones and cause the body to break down. This causes the body to lose muscle-the very thing you want to maintain or better yet increase when you are trying to drop body fat since MUSCLE is where you burn fat and MUSCLE is what keeps your metabolism up. Also, when stress hormones break you down they do so by breaking down muscle to release sugar into the bloodstream, this in turn can raise insulin. Over time this process can lead to insulin resistance even if you are not overeating or eating sugar. To help avoid this vicious cycle in cardiovascular training first get assessed by a qualified lifestyle coach to make sure that your adrenal system can handle cardiovascular training at this time. You may need to do some things to heal your adrenals before embarking on a cardiovascular program. If you are approved to start, then wear a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are training in your appropriate heart rate zone, vary your intensity throughout the workout allowing for short recovery periods of lower intensity and take phosphatidyl serine powder and carnitine tartrate prior to your workout to lower your stress hormone response and raise your lactic acid threshold.
Strength training is the true champion in the fat loss game. This is because strength training elevates growth hormone which helps the body build up. More muscle mass means a better metabolism, better insulin sensitivity, better use of blood sugar and better fat burning. For long term weight management, strength training is essential. The right program will maximize growth hormone release and minimize stress hormone release. This is done with the right amounts of sets and repetitions and the appropriate rest period. You want to stimulate as many muscle groups and as many muscle fibers within those muscles as possible for maximum benefit.
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HOW TO CHOOSE A PERSONAL TRAINER
I think back to when I first started personal training nearly 20 years ago, before there was such a thing as a certified personal trainer, back in the days of “Body by Jake” when personal training was unheard of for anyone who wasn't a celebrity or outrageously wealthy. Now personal training is a household word, yet the requirements for being a personal trainer are basically the same as they were back then. . . Which is none. Sure, you can become a “certified personal trainer” and the certifications range from grueling (American College of Sports Medicine ACSM) to challenging (National Strength and Conditioning Association NSCA, National Academy of Sports Medicine NASM) to moderately difficult (American Council on Exercise, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) to questionable, such as passing a non-proctored test and then being considered “certified” (International Sports Sciences Association) and many, many more, but with the broad range of qualifications needed to take and pass these tests (some require a BS and work experience, most require only a current CPR card) the term “certified personal trainer” could mean a lot or nothing. So, since you can't base your decision on whether or not your potential trainer is certified, what should you look for in choosing a personal trainer?
1. Who are they certified by? Best of all is ACSM, second best are NSCA and NASM. Cross your fingers that licensing of this profession will happen soon.
2. Do they have any experience? Where was this experience, what were their duties and for how long? I would look for someone who has been training for at least 1 year and has had the opportunity to work with a broad range of clients but most importantly clients similar to you.
3. What is their education background? Ideally, your trainer would possess a BS or MS in exercise physiology, or biomechanics. If they don't have this, make sure they have taken the basics – exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology and anatomy. Often, trainers will take a lot of continuing education workshops without having ever taken the basics which means they lack the conceptual understanding and depth of knowledge to truly use the science behind the training.
4. If they are going to be working with you on your nutrition program make sure they have a BS or MS in nutrition or have taken the appropriate classes to be offering you advice. Beware the nutritionist who has gained their knowledge from the latest bestselling book!
5. Get some referrals from your potential trainers and talk to 2-3 of their clients.
6. Audition them. Try out the trainer for a week or two to make sure that your personalities and goals mesh. Be sure that the trainer is able to help you reach your goals, not theirs!
If you have had a bad experience in the past, it could be time to give personal trainers another try. Just because you had a bad meal at a restaurant doesn't mean you quit eating out! The latest studies confirm that clients who regularly work with qualified personal trainers get far better results than those who train on their own. Just be sure to refer to the guidelines above and make sure you choose to work with a trainer who is not only qualified, but is also the right trainer for you! Happy hunting!
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Exercise can be therapeutic or destructive depending upon the type, frequency & duration. It can be just as damaging to over exercise as it is to under exercise.
- DEFINITION - repetitive movements that fatigue the working muscle in a limited amount of time or repetitions.
- EXAMPLES - weight training with dumbbells, machines, resistance bands or body weight, certain types of yoga and Pilates.
- BENEFITS - This type of exercise enhances insulin receptor sensitivity and aids in glucose tolerance. This type of exercise is effective in long term weight management because it increases lean body mass (LBM) which increases basal metabolic rate and aids in fat burning. It also helps maintain or increase bone mineral density.
- HORMONE RESPONSE - elevates growth hormone.
- DEFINITION - This type of exercise involves moving large muscle groups in a rhythmic fashion over time. These exercises should raise and maintain your heart rate into your prescribed target heart rate zone.
- EXAMPLES - Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, skating, stair stepping.
- BENEFITS - This type of exercise has a multitude of cardiovascular benefits, aids in glucose tolerance and can improve insulin sensitivity (though to nowhere near the level of resistance type of exercise). It improves fatty acid utilization.
- HORMONE RESPONSE - Raises cortisol and adrenaline.
FLEXIBILITY / CORE WORK
- DEFINITION - Activities performed at a low intensity that move your body through full range of motion.
- EXAMPLES - Slow swimming, easy walking, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Stretching and ball/ core exercises.
- BENEFITS - This type of exercise helps maintain strength acquired through resistance exercise, helps maintain functional range of motion of joints, balance and stability.
- HORMONE RESPONSE - This type of exercise lowers cortisol and adrenaline.
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