Outdated fitness rules

Originally published in the Sun.

To update the readers, here are some outdated rules and advices for physical training.

► Rest indefinitely in between sets

Well, yes. Do catch a breath and shake off the muscle fatigue after a set of exercises.

The guideline for intervals between rest sets is no more than 30-45 seconds in between sets or opt for circuit training.

If you sign up for an hour-long workout on your busy schedule, resting 2-5 minutes between sets and ­exercises is counterproductive.

Fitness is becoming more time-efficient with each ­passing day. We want results. And we want them in 30 ­minutes or less.

Shorter intervals and higher physical challenges ensure time efficiency.

By cutting down your rest time, you challenge your body to do more, while it’s still warmed up.

Longer intervals lead to muscle cool-down in between sets, which could cause injury or cramps.

Quick tip. Keep your smartphone in the locker. That way, your 3 minutes will fly by quickly.

► Pre and post workout snacks

Unless you are in the habit of getting gastric attacks or low blood pressure, then yes, have a 200 calorie snack.

If you’ve eaten a heavy meal a couple of hours before the workout, a pre-workout snack is unnecessary, ­especially if your workout goal is to lose weight.

Snacking up to 300 calories before a session to workout 300 calories? That’s not smart.

The rule, however, is more of a personal check. Do you feel hungry, tired, and low on energy 30 minutes before a workout?

If yes, then eat a pre-workout snack of 100-300 calories, depending on what your day’s calorie budget permits you. Post workout snacks are not for the average exerciser.

This method is originally intended for high intensified workouts as such of athletes and bodybuilders that last more than 2 hours.

A typical calorific ­expenditure of such is close to 1,000 cals. Fast replenishment of calories is thus needed to prevent muscle loss. For you and me, the smart choice is a planned post-workout meal.

► Is aerobics or walking best for long term fitness?

Hour long sessions of aerobics in the form of classes and walking are great exercise. But if your goal is for the long term exercise and optimal weight management, you need to work those muscles with weight training.

Cardio exercises are great for cardiovascular fitness, but not good enough for weight-loss or weight management.

Strength training directly affects weight management and benefits your body by boosting metabolism and training your body to burn calories more efficiently.

► Light weights for women, and heavy weights for men

Lift weights that challenge your body , increase muscle performance, joint strength and stability irrespective of gender or weight.

If you’re able to complete three sets of 15 reps each

without breaking into a sweat, you aren’t challenging yourself enough.

The only thing heavier weights will do is give you a leaner and stronger body that is better capable of maintaining a desired weight.

Weight lifting does not bulk up women as women just don’t have the levels of testosterone men do. Lifting weights build strength and power. Isn’t that what ­women have been striving for this century? Go women power? Well, start with the weights then.

► Yoga is enough for weight loss

Yoga is great for aiding breathing technique, digestive problems, fighting allergies, and body weight strength but it isn’t the most complete fitness workout. How yoga impacts your fitness goals, depends on what your fitness goals are.

If you just want ­flexibility, light strength and better lung power, then yoga’s the workout for you.

But if you aim to lose weight, get toned, and lose inches, then you’re better off with cardio and weight routines.

Then there is the lack of cardiovascular fitness in yoga sessions. One hour of yoga, even power yoga, burns ­approximately 200-350 ­calories only. This isn’t enough for a sustainable weight loss fitness routine.

► Spot target for abs, legs, shoulders, hips and thighs

Every once in a while, I’ll get a question like this, “I hate my thighs. Tell me what do I have to do?”

Only programmes that tackle overall weight loss or toning will help you deal with your problem areas.

Spot targeting exercises like hip abductions, a ­million crunches, lunges to hell and tricep extensions won’t lose the fat as how you would imagine.

What actually works when you spot target is waste time and make the area more pronouncedly bigger than what it is. It’s unproductive.

A well-rounded ­programme that includes cardio and strength training produce the best results.

The same amount of time spent on 10 extra sets could have in fact been spent on a more comprehensive ­programme that increases your metabolism and intensity.

Jonathan Tan is the Senior Sergeant of Rebel Boot Camp.


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