The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

volume 2006 issue 3

       

 

Warm-up / Cool-down

Ok, I know you want to get right to that treadmill, or just start pumping out some reps in the weight room, but it is important to start at the beginning of the workout where you are supposed to.  Too often, people bypass the warm-up, stretching, and cool-down periods of their workout because they want to get right to the "fun stuff".  This mentality not only creates a greater risk of injury, but can cheat you out of many of the physiological benefits associated with these vital stages in your exercise session. 

The warm up should consist of graduated aerobic warm-up activity as well as flexibility exercise specific to the biomechanical  nature of the primary conditioning activity.  Activities should gradually increase the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, dilation of the blood vessels, elasticity of the active muscles, and the heat produced by the active muscle groups.  

The flexibility exercise (pre-stretch), in preparation for activity, is aimed at decreasing tissue stiffness, focusing particularly on the muscles that will be used in the activity to follow.  Stretching after exercise may also enhance muscle relaxation, facilitating normal resting length, circulation to structures, and removal of unwanted waste products.

The cool-down prevents post exercise venous blood pooling and too rapid a drop in blood pressure thereby reducing the likelihood of post exercise lightheadedness or fainting.  It reduces the immediate post exercise tendency for muscle spasm or cramping.  The cool-down also reduces the concentration of exercise hormones that are at relatively high levels immediately after vigorous aerobic exercise.  This reduction will lower the probability of post exercise disturbances in cardiac rhythm.

The Starting Line 

Well, before you get too far along in you "lifestyle change", you might want to keep track of where you are first. Heck, you might not recognize the "old you" next year! For many people, they simply step on the scale and then watch the numbers each week or each day. Aside from being VERY frustrating, these numbers don't tell you the whole story. For starters, body weight doesn't tell you anything about body fat or muscle density. For people that have been previously sedentary, your weight may not drop significantly at the beginning of an exercise program. Although you will probably be burning body fat, an increase in muscle could make those numbers on the scale give you the wrong picture.
If you don't have a personal trainer to do it for you, get out a piece of paper and start a log of your body composition statistics. If you are seriously committed to big changes, you may even want to take a "before picture" of what you look like right now! In addition to checking your body weight, there are a few more stats that you can track to better judge your progress:

Circumference measurements: These measurements will give you a picture of how your body is responding to your exercise program and where the changes are taking place.

Body Fat: The most effective and practical means of testing body fat is by having a skin fold test performed on you using body fat calipers. These calibrated "pinching" devices measure the amount of fat under the skin and apply the measurement to a formula to compute the percentage of body fat. By taking measurements at several points on your body (ie. arm, waist, thigh) a personal trainer can tell you what percentage of your body is fat, how many pounds are fat and how many pounds are lean weight, and how many "fat pounds" you should lose to facilitate meeting your fitness goals.

Even though your goals may revolve around the way you look, the benefits of an exercise program will go further than that. Fitness tests can, and should, also be performed to measure flexibility, muscle endurance, muscle strength and aerobic response. These attributes can add to your longevity and quality of life... as well as make you feel GREAT!
 

Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!


1 Leg Split Squat
 

Target
Legs (quadriceps & gluteus)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Starting in the up position, with your back leg on a chair or bench. Working leg should be forward enough so that your knee does not go past your toes in the down position.  Lower your non working knee towards the floor and then press back up.  Variations include adding weights to your hands for added resistance, supporting your non-working leg on a stability ball for more emphasis on core, or any combination of both.  When using the stability ball, start with the top of your foot on the ball and roll the ball backwards on the downward motion of the exercise.



NEW SERVICE:  online personal training

The Online Personal Trainer service at TODAY! Fitness offers a complete exercise-training program with the convenience of a self paced alternative.  The programs can be tailored to fit your exercise goals as well as your equipment availability.  Even if you do not have access to equipment, a full workout can be accomplished using only your bodyweight.  The service is comprehensive and follows a similar format to that of a standard training session. 

All correspondence is done through a combination of online web pages and email communication.  After completing the online questionnaire for medical history, exercise history and fitness goals, the correspondence will walk you through basic body composition measurements, fitness testing, and goal evaluation.  Once the results are received and reviewed, a customized program will be sent to you complete with visual representations of each exercise... much like the ones represented below.  Email correspondence (24hour response time) for questions or alternative exercises are available to subscribers throughout the month.  Follow-up is performed weekly with requests for exercise feedback and inquiries in regards to necessity for program change as well as evaluation of progress.

Click here to find out more about the new online training service.
 

It's Go Time!

3 issues down so far... so am I boring you yet?  If so, you can simply just send me an email and I'll take you off the distribution list.  Hey, I'm having fun with it, and if the information in the newsletter is helpful to at least 1 person, then I'm ok with that.  Sometimes it's the lack of education and the fear of starting something that cause people to procrastinate on engaging in an exercise program.  I am hoping that the content in these newsletters is beneficial as well as educational to some of you.

You can review prior issues of this newsletter on my website at www.todayfitness.net/news.  Your input in regards to format, content, or anything relevant is always welcome.  Just shoot me an email with your suggestions or comments and I will take them into consideration.

If you would like to add someone to this distribution list, please send an email to news@todayfitness.net and include their name and email address.  Likewise, if you would like to be removed from this distribution list, please state this in an email to the same address.

Well... it's getting late.  I have to get to bed so that I can wake up at 5am to work out.  Hey, with a 5 year old at home it is the easiest time for me to get it done without feeling guilty about it.  Like I said, if it's important to you, you CAN make time for it!  Next excuse?

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo
pmazzeo@todayfitness.net

"You only fail when you stop trying"

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2006 TODAY! Fitness, LLC. , Bear, Delaware