The Science Lesson I Wish I Had...
I wish I'd learn't a lot of things at school. How to fill in a tax return, how to build Ikea furniture & how roundabouts work.
Instead I know a lot about nothing & how to spell "Boobs" on a calculator.
What I wish I'd learn't more than anything is how to look after myself.
I wish I'd known that peanut butter on pasta is NOT a nutritious dinner.
I wish someone had told me that a pub crawl is NOT classed as cardio.
I wish I'd known that weights are NOT supposed to be used as a doorstop.
But there are somethings I have learn't through trail and error (and occasionally with some wisdom from Joe and Rach.) Exercise is extensive, varied, ever changing and completely different from person to person. I would have saved a hell of a lot of money, time and effort if I had understood how to approach exercise earlier.
So, I'd like to share the things I've learn't from the school of Coreworx. Take a seat & pay attention to a very important lesson.
Exercise & It's Uses In Everyday Life
Back to school & here's a lil test for you.
(I bet you just wanted to read a lovely blog, but no I'm making you do a test. You. Are. WELCOME.)
Question 1: Karen wants to loose a stone before her holiday to Barbados (lucky Karen), how would she use exercise to best achieve this goal?
a) Just run. Run forever.
b) Do a HIIT workout every single day.
c) Combine strength training & low intensity cardio.
Answer: C. For Karen to shed some weight, the most efficient way to do this is to do moderate to heavy strength training 2-3days a week followed by 30mins of low intensity cardio. Reason being that we need most energy for the weights which burns up our glycogen stores. Cardio burns more cals initially, but weight training builds muscle which will lead to burning more cals in the long term. Both together...winner winner chicken dinner.
Question 2: What does "toning up" mean?!
a) Able to define muscle in specific parts of your body
b) It doesn't exists
c) Maintaining weight
Answer: B. "Toning up" doesn't really exist. What we really mean is reducing body fat & increasing muscle mass at the same time. We are increasing definition. To do this, you should be doing resistance training (moderate to light weights), high rep ranges 2-3days a week alongside roughly 150mins of cardio a week.
Question 3: Janet & Ethan love strength training together. Janet wants to be able to lift heavier but Ethan wants to "bulk up", can they do the same training programme?
a) Of course
b) Hell no
c) Maybe a bit?
Answer: C. There's no reason they can't train together, it just might mean tweaking weight and reps. For Janet to lift heavier, she should aim for 2-6sets of up to 6reps of heavy weights (90% of max weight) whereas Ethan would aim for roughly 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps (around 70-80% of max weight.)
Question 4: Rick wants to run a marathon in 4hours. How can he speed up his time?
a) Attempt to run a marathon regularly and beat the time each round
b) Add in interval runs and lower body strength days
c) Wing it last minute after eating a plate of pasta
Answer: B. As much as I would love to give the advice that eating a plate of pasta will help this (and it helps a lot of other things) the best thing to do is to build up slowly. Interval runs where you run for a set distance or time, walk or slow jog for a short interval, and repeat. Strength training those legs will increase power and ultimately help reduce risk of injury,
Question 5: Have I passed this test?
b) Only you would know
c) Make it stop
Answer: Secret answer D! I'm the winner!
When we are smart about how we use exercise, it can get us to those all important goals more effectively. Just going hell for leather and doing way too much can have negative effects. You might injury yourself, fatigue or plateau after a while. Neglecting the strength training side, but smashing cardio, can lead to muscle loss and even fat retention! Pure strength and no cardio will just leave that fat layer over those beautiful muscles so its absolutely pointless. It's about BALANCE.
There are theories flying around that morning workouts burn more fat. Ultimately, exercise burns calories the same way, regardless of the time of day. Later on in the day, you may find yourself having more power and strength, but in the morning you might feel lighter and more energetic. Ultimately, it boils down to whether you are a morning, afternoon or evening person. As long as you're in a calorie deficit, you are loosing weight whether it's midnight or crack of dawn.
The missing link
There's one area that often gets chucked to the side but is SO IMPORTANT. It improves balance, reduces injury, improves performance, reduces pain and decreases tension.
No matter what your goal, flexibility exercises will help. No bones about it (excuse the pun.) You can work on it by doing both "dynamic" and "static" stretching.
Dynamic stretching is ideal for warming up before a workout. Think lunge and twist, arm circles, jumping jacks, high knees...etc.
Static stretching are still stretches you can hold for 20-45seconds.
Add them into your day, every day.
Consider yourself SCHOOLED.