Tag Archives: working out

4 Ways to Steer Clear of Overtraining Syndrome

Overtraining syndrome is easy to catch and hard to shake.  With new year’s resolutions, goals and dreams in full swing this season, it’s especially something to be careful to avoid.  When you’re starting a new routine there are a few things to take seriously so you can avoid being forced to take an unwanted break from working out due to to overtraining syndrome.

Overtraining syndrome occurs when the body is exercised at a frequency and intensity that exceed its recovery time.  How can you tell if you’re over training?  The results of overtraining can include exhaustion, a loss of progress in both strength and cardiovascular fitness and injury.  Feeling sluggish after a workout instead of energized and having disrupted sleep patterns are also symptoms.  If you’ve been overtraining, take enough time off to heal fully even it seems like forever.  Of course, the best way to treat overtraining is to avoid it in the first place.  Here are 4 ways to prevent it from sabotaging your plans for the new year.

1)  Food is fuel.  Make sure your diet isn’t the reason workouts aren’t going well.  Eat enough calories to give you the energy you need to get through the day and replenish post workout.   Stick with quality whole foods and remember that the what you put in is what you get out.overtraining syndrome

2)  Mix it up.  Your body needs constant change to keep adapting, getting stronger and improving.  If you start to lose motivation or get bored, throw something new into your routine.  Try a spin class or kick boxing while alternating hard and easy days to give yourself excitement and variety.

3)  Take recovery and rest days seriously.  Your next workout is only as good as your last recovery.  If you’re not foam rolling or hitting mobility drills each day your body is going to get worn out quickly.  Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise and not giving your body enough time to recover from strenuous exercise will inevitably cause fatigue, moodiness, and injury.  Take at least one day a week away from the gym or running and be serious about it.  Use the rest day(s) to replenish the things your body has burned through, like carbohydrates, proteins, fluids and sleep.

4)  Listen to your body.  Still feeling sluggish four days after a hard workout?  Are your knees or shoulders hurting more than they should?  Is soreness sticking around beyond two days?  Is your performance slipping?  These are all signals your body gives to let you know it needs a break.  An extra day or two or five off won’t ruin the gains you’ve made.  Take the time to recover your body is asking for and you’ll not only feel better, but come back to better results.

Coach Meredith

When Should You Do Your Cardio?

Many people wonder when they should do their cardio.  Do it before or after they lift weights?  The answer is different for every individual, but no matter what your fitness goals are, cardiovascular training is an incredibly important part of your routine.  Here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of your cardio training time.

We get most of our workout energy from a compound in our bodies called glycogen.  Glycogen is long term energy storage produced and stored in muscles and fat cells.  We get the glycogen we need from the food we eat, so the most important thing to know about any workout is that doing it on an empty stomach is a bad idea.  If you haven’t eaten before your session, your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to perform at an optimal level.  This means you won’t see the results you want or expect because your body will start to feed on valuable muscle cells, rather than food stores to power the workout.

If your goal is to lose weight, you want your workout to have the largest afterburn effect possible.  The afterburn effect is best for weight loss because calories burn for up to 48 hours after your session, not just during it.  Heavy resistance training workouts have been shown to induce big afterburn effects, increasing cardiovascular health and strength, though scientific evidence is ultimately inconclusive.  Another excellent reason to save your cardio for second is safety.  Doing cardio before lifting uses up the glycogen stored in muscles, which means you don’t have it to help you pick those weights up.  By lifting first, you have the help you need to perform weight lifting exercises safely and correctly.  Not only does doing cardio second keep you safe, by the time you get to the cardio portion of your session, the lower glycogen stores in your muscles will lead your body to start using energy stores from fat cells.

If you have time in your day, you want to separate your lifting and cardio sessions into two separate times of day with two or more hours in between.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have that much time to exercise and are doing weights and cardio back to back, find what works best for you.  Try doing an intense run before you lift, try switching them and comparing how you felt after each one.  There is also the option to mix them together, doing a round of weightlifting followed by a sprint in a high intensity interval.  Since fat burn doesn’t actually occur while we work out, but one to 48 hours later, the determining factor is how much energy you expend overall.

The best answer is to do what works best for you.  Try each style of workout, writing down how you felt before, during and after each one then deciding which one you like best.  You also don’t have to stick with one style, you can always, and should regularly, change your workout so your muscles keep responding.

Questions?  Need or want help developing a plan to reach your goals?  Email us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Working Out with Music

All of the cardiovascular equipment at your gym has headphone jacks, the stereo in that Crossfit box was blasting, and even the yoga teacher had some relaxing tunes coming out of the MP3 player.  Even if you already work out with a beat to get you going, you might not know why you feel so different without it.  Listening to your favorite band while you sweat has numerous benefits, and it’s all about finding what works for you.

Listening to the right type of music has been shown in several studies to increase endurance by up to 15%.  Music also has the benefits of reducing perceived effort, helping your mood improve, and possibly even increasing your metabolic rate.  There are several reasons people see these benefits when listening up while working out, but a big one is that it distracts you from the pain of your sweat session.  If you’re singing along to one of your favorite songs, you won’t also be staring at mileage on the treadmill or rower’s calorie counter.  The predicted source of these benefits is the music’s beat.  Typically, people want to move to the beat of whatever music they’re listening to, which is why pop, rock and hip-hop are incredibly popular on workout playlists.  Syncing your body movements to the music, or getting close, can increase the efficiency of your movements as your brain and body respond to the beat.  A study done by C. J. Bacon of Sheffield Hallam University (Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2012 Aug; 52(4):359-65) found that cyclists who pedaled to music used seven percent less oxygen than those who worked in silence.

All these benefits are wonderful, so wonderful in fact, that USA Track and Field had banned any type of music device from all sanctioned races citing them as a performance enhancer.  USATF has since reformed this policy to apply only to those who are competing for money and awards, but it just goes to show how the right tunes can push you a little harder and a little farther, so throw on your head phones and get going.

You don’t have to pick a playlist just because it’s 128 beats per minute and that’s what you think you’re supposed to sweat to.  Listen to whatever motivates you.  It could be Metallica or Bach, the good news is no one else can hear it!  There are plenty of line sources for sample playlists and even more workout specific remixes and compilations to get you started.  Your best bet is to know what you like and try different things out.  Be careful about where you’re working out with your tunes pumping, however.  You need to be able to hear traffic and others around you, especially if running or biking in a busy area for cars.

Questions?  Training for a race?  Contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com for answers!