” After your exercise post I realized I was doing little to no resistance training. My current regiment is swimming 4 days per week(I do intervals and definitely get breathless and use the kick board a lot to get that “burn” especially in my legs), also I do intermediate yoga classes on my own at home. We also walk/hike outdoors when the weather is nice.
We are also in a remote place so it is hard for me to find exercise classes….any suggestion of good videos I could do at home to add some resistance/lifting to my exercise routine? Or should I try and lift-weight myself at the gym? Any tweaks you have are also welcome “o) “
I’m glad to address this question, because Exercise Is Important, for a million reasons. Here’s my answer: Any and all exercise is absolutely better than NO exercise. Our body is meant to move; as a matter of fact, interesting studies have been coming out in the past few years on the DANGERS OF SITTING AND INACTIVITY. Apparently, INACTIVITY is possibly a greater/as great a risk factor for disease and mortality as SMOKING!
That said, if you want to build a shapely, muscular, firm body, you’ve GOT to Resistance Train. Ladies, Men, there’s just no getting around this. I’m not saying you have to join a gym, and spend an hour several days a week pumping iron ( although this has AMAZING results for your body), but you do need to stress your muscles – with either body weight or external weight – to (1) tear down your muscle cells, so (2) they can “re-build” (hypertrophy) a little bigger; and you need to do this at least 2 or 3 times a week, for at least several minutes.
Ladies, getting “too muscular” is fairly impossible. We absolutely, positively, DON’T have the testosterone to put on heavy muscle; and to LOOK muscular, we’d also need to be INCREDIBLY lean, usually under 15%, but often under 10%. (That takes a long, consistent “diet” effort that I’d never endorse.)
Men, pay attention: You should be prioritizing lifting over cardio/golf/yoga; I’m not saying NOT to do any of those activities, but lifting stimulates Testosterone and Growth Hormone; cardio/golf/yoga don’t. Ladies, we want Testosterone and Growth Hormone too; they’re the hormones of YOUTH, and we all naturally produce less as we age, EXCEPT IF WE RESISTANCE TRAIN.
What about Swimming specifically? Swimming’s a GREAT exercise, especially if you LOVE it, and also if you have joint issues. There’s no “joint-loading” or “bone-strain” when you swim, also, and obviously, you don’t get hot.
And there-in lies some of the problems with swimming: these “benefits” actually cause a DECREASE in BONE DENSITY; and FEMALE SWIMMERS TEND TO HAVE MORE BODY FAT THAN ALL OTHER ATHLETES.
The Bone-Loss CAUSED by swimming is a BIG DEAL. To me ( admittedly, I don’t love swimming laps), it would be a deal breaker – we need our bone density!
That all said, WEIGHT LOSS IS DEFINITELY ABOUT EATING – NOT EXERCISE. HOWEVER…… the more MUSCLE we have, and the BIGGER and MORE ACTIVE our muscle cells are, losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier.
Everyone: We Need Muscle. It’s important, it’s critical, and it should be a big focus of our total health program. (Not THE only focus; like I said, there’s a million reasons to exercise.)
Again, all forms of exercise are wonderful, including swimming; do whatever you love and feel comfortable with. Just make sure you’re throwing in some kind of Resistance Training a few times a week.
What about Exercising on a High Fat/Low Carb diet, how’s that? Fantastic! ( The whole “Carb Loading” theory, or Fueling Your Workout With Carbs, is totally 1980’s.) We have study after study now verifying the performance of High Fat/Low Carb athlete’s from every sport, and the studies are showing excellent results. As a matter of fact, after an initial dip in performance due to the body switching from “sugar burning” to “fat burning”, … ” Muscle glycogen stores were maintained after a 5-wk high-fat diet period ..Endurance performance capacity was maintained at moderate to high-exercise intensities with a significantly larger contribution of lipids to total energy turnover.”
Do you understand what that last sentence means? After 5 weeks on a High Fat/Low Carb diet, the body burns “significantly” MORE fats than glucose during exercise. This is something I try to get across to my clients: eat a big bowl of oatmeal or an English Muffin before your workout, and your body will mostly use those carbs for fuel. Live on a High CARB diet, and your body constantly burns SUGAR. When Sugar/Glucose is in the blood stream in excess, FAT BURNING DOESN’T HAPPEN. We want to burn the fat in our butt/thighs/stomach, right?
Back to the question, some general suggestions: (1) Join a Gym. Gyms have (1) Kid Care, (2) professional trainers to TEACH you and Guide you through your workouts, (3) assorted classes that guide you through workouts, and resistance training ( of one kind or another ) is more often than not included in classes, (4) a positive and fun atmosphere that ALWAYS makes you feel good when you’re done.
(Yes, I’m a Gym Rat!) ( and I work at a BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL gym in Warrenton, Va: Old Town Athletic Club.)
********Please don’t be intimidated by Gyms; No One Is Judging You – I Swear. ******** One more piece of Gym advice, join one that’s CONVENIENT to you, that means near either your work or your home. Make the commitment and then go!
And specific suggestion ( I live in a remote area..): Youtube, DVDs, and Apps. Have you ever looked at BodyRock on YouTube? They have hundreds of free HITT workouts (high intensity interval training), there’s several yoga channels, and lifting workouts. CollageVideo has HUNDREDS of great videos on lifting/HITT/step/yoga you can buy. I use an App on my phone for Tabata Intervals ( that’s a 4 minute workout divided into 20 second intervals). There’s several Tabata ideas on YouTube.
Whatever you choose today, whether it’s the gym, hiking, or a DVD in your living room, just like with eating, make a Plan, and commit to the plan. It’s important. And be careful to avoid the mindset that any exercise you do is somehow Virtuous! It’s not! It’s just exercise. You don’t deserve a Treat for brushing your teeth, eating your vegetables, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, or working out. They’re all just Action Steps that are necessary and good for us and make our life better.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale
“Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.” Golda Meir