Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Avoid Common Exercise Pitfalls

Exercise has numerous benefits. Unfortunately, common mistakes may prevent many well-intentioned but frustrated exercisers from realizing their goals. Mistakes can lead to injuries or at the very least be counterproductive to fitness goals. Avoid some of the following common mistakes to have a better chance of seeing the results you desire from your fitness program.

1. Not Consulting a Professional
It’s always advisable to consult with a medical professional before starting an exercise program and to work with a fitness professional to learn proper technique and avoid injuries.

2. Skipping warm-up.
Not warming up before you exercise can limit muscle function and increase the risk of injury. Take 5 to 10 minutes walk in place, jog or ride a bike so the muscles can adjust to the extra demands of exercise.

3. Skipping cool-down
Too often people head straight to the locker room after their last repetition and neglect to cool down. However, this is a very important part of the exercise process. Cooling down will return the body to pre-exercise conditions and reduce muscle soreness. Take the time to lower your heart rate through walking at a slower pace for 5 to 10 minutes and stretch. Stretching improves flexibility and prepares the body for the next workout.

4. Trying To Spot Reduce
People who want six-pack abs or try to get rid of fat in their arms think the solution is increased exercise for that body part. You can’t spot reduce! To reach your goals, you need a balanced program of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and a proper diet. As you decrease your overall body fat, your problem areas will improve.

5. No variety
One of the main reasons people plateau is because they do not change their routine. By always doing the same workout, your muscles quickly adapt and are no longer stimulated. Mix things up by trying new exercises or switching the exercise order. Experiment with barbells, dumbbells, machines or body resistance (think push-up). If you don't change your program from time to time you, and your muscles will soon become bored.

6. Overtraining
Exercising too frequently, using too much intensity, or not scheduling rest times are all signs of overtraining. Overtraining can lead to burnout, injury or abandoning exercise altogether. Muscles need at least 24 to 48 hours between weight-training sessions to heal from the stress placed upon them. Realize the importance of balance and that more is not always better.

7. Undertraining
While it's true that you don't want to overdo it, don’t go the other way, either. Sitting on an exercise bike without pedaling won’t burn many calories. Neither will socializing. You need to exercise in the proper training zone for cardiovascular training and use enough intensity to cause muscle fatigue for weight training. It’s great to enjoy your exercise time but make sure that the focus remains on physical activity.

8. Not drinking enough water
Only camels can go without water. For the rest of us it is a necessity! This cannot be stated enough times. At a minimum, drinking at least 64 ounces of water on a daily basis is important, and even more so when you exercise. Increase intake when exercising in hot, humid conditions.

9. Improper Form
Do you support your weight on the side rails of the treadmill? Without using proper form, exercise can be ineffective. Similarly, rushing through a set with no form, rhyme or reason will serve no purpose other than increasing risk of an injury. Lifting too fast uses momentum and does not exercise muscles fully. Slow down and concentrate on form to get maximum results. Use a count of two seconds up and two seconds down. Also, holding your breath can increase blood pressure. Try to breathe normally through the exercise.

10. Eating Too Much
If you are trying to watch your caloric intake, watch out for meal-replacement items that advertise high energy, which usually means high calorie -- the last thing someone who is trying to reduce weight needs. Unless you’re working out for longer than 90 minutes, energy bars and sports drinks during moderate workouts is really not necessary. A healthy, well-balanced meal plan and plenty of water are sufficient to meet most exerciser's needs.

11. Eating Too Little
No, this is not a typo! Not eating enough can be as detrimental as eating too much. When the body is not fed consistently, it goes into a starvation mode. Five to six smaller meals evenly spaced throughout the day helps keep the metabolism running smoothly.

12. No Goals or Unrealistic Goals
Despite what many advertisers would like you to believe, it’s unrealistic to think you can lose 30 pounds in 30 days. It’s good to set goals but be sure they aren’t too aggressive and realize it’s OK to periodically redefine them.

13. Improper Weights
Lifting weights that are too heavy can lead to improper form and injury. Similarly, weights that are too light can be ineffective. The objective of weight training is to challenge the muscle. The weight should be heavy enough to cause the muscle fatigue in eight to 15 repetitions. In general, if you can’t lift the weight at least eight times with good form, it’s too heavy. If you've done 15 repetitions and can do several more, it’s too light.

14. Too Much, Too Soon
Many new enthusiast start by exercising too frequently or too difficult for their fitness level. Your body needs time to adapt. Be sure to start with an exercise plan that takes your current fitness regimen (or lack of) into account. Gradually work up to 30 minutes of walking or alternate running with walking. In the beginning, it's better to end your workouts feeling as if you could do more than to end feeling really tired.

An exercise program has numerous health and fitness benefits. By avoiding some common mistakes you'll realize your goals sooner and remain injury free!

Diana Rini, ACE personal trainer, owner of Matter of Fitness Personal Training Studio in Willoughby, Ohio.


Eve :-)


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