Ten Amazing Ways To Get Fit and Stay Fit

Year after year, we make resolutions to say fit and keep our health in check. Then, as months dwindle till the year comes to a close and holidays approach again, we’re back to square one- obese and unhealthy. It is an unending cycle that we all can’t break if we are not determined to make lifestyle changes. Keeping fit is directly connected with our diets, because we are what we eat.

A fit, healthy lifestyle is achievable if we’re willing to commit to a lifestyle of good nutrient-dense foods, exercise and healthy habits. This is why you need to read these ten amazing ways to stay and remain fit if you desire to achieve your goal of a fit rocking body.

STOP COUNTING CALORIES

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You may be surprised that this is a crucial first step, it is imperative that you stop putting pressure on yourself and start to take actions that will help you get the healthy body you long to get. If your goal is weight loss, counting calories in foods will not do much in helping you achieve that goal, it’ll rather put unnecessary pressure on yourself to shed excess weight and is not sustainable in keeping the weight off, besides, real nutrient-dense foods do not require their calories to be counted as they are chock-full of healthy nutrients that will nourish your body.

GET MOVING

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It is very paramount that you maintain an active lifestyle If you want to stay healthy. You have to make activity a priority in as many ways as possible. It is even better if you partake in outdoor activities where you can get a lot of sunshine. You may also commit yourself to different ways of stay active: join a local gym, invest in exercise equipment and get a workout buddy or sign up for Zumba classes. It doesn’t have to be boring as long as you put your mind to it.

EAT HEALTHY

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Research has shown that over 80 percent of any fitness goal is linked with our diet. As a matter of fact, cells in our bodies are replicated daily and the material used to build them comes from the nutrition we put in our bodies. Embracing healthy diet rich in essential nutrients will provide the body with the proper nourishment needed to attain fitness goals. To eat healthy, your diet should ideally be composed of:

  • 45 percent carbohydrates
  • 30 percent protein
  • 25 percent fats

These can come from all natural foods and can also be sourced from healthy sources such as gluten-free breads, unbleached rice, non-genetically modified fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, oily fish and healthy cuts of fish and meat.

DRINK WATER

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Our bodies are made from 70 percent water and should ideally be the number one fluid that we put into our bodies. Hydration is key to reaching your health and fitness goals and your top priority should be to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily. You can start with drinking water as soon as you wake up, before breakfast and before you go to sleep at night. Drinking water will also help flush toxins from your body and help your body recover from the rigors of exercise.

If you do not like the taste of water, you can add fruits like lemon or lime to your water for a sharp zing.

CATCH SOME ZZZZSS

Sleep is a very important factor for you to achieve great health and stay in shape. A good 7-8 hours of sleep will get your body’s metabolism kick started and ensure that you keep the extra pounds off. Being sleep deprived will cause your body to be in an overactive mode to help you keep up with the rigors of the day and this will leave you feeling sluggish for the rest of the day and in turn, fat and unhealthy.

EXERCISE OUTDOORS

Exercising outdoors with a community of health-conscious people is one of the best things that can happen to your goal of getting and staying fit. It helps you stay on track to achieving your health and fitness goals and also help you get lots of sunshine which according to studies helps you lose weight.

SWAP FOODS

Eating foods in their natural state as much as possible can help you achieve your dreams of health and fitness. There are several instance where you can try this out such as:

  • Brown rice/quinoa for white rice
  • Gluten-free sourdough bread for white bread
  • Avocado for mayonnaise
  • Tofu for meats
  • Lettuce wraps for flatbreads

These small changes can make a big difference in your health and fitness.

QUIT FOCUSING ON JUST ONE PART OF YOUR BODY

This is very important in achieving your goal body. If you desire to tone up a specific part of your body e.g. your tummy, doing crunches alone will be counterproductive. A wide variety of exercises are needed to achieve your fitness goals.

THE POWER OF ROUTINE

It is important for you to have routines in your health and fitness goals. Routines help you stay on track when it comes to exercising and it makes a world of difference to your workouts.

Doing different routine exercise will ensure that you spread out focusing on different parts of your body and gives your body time to recover from a specific exercise. For example, if you had leg day on a Monday, you can choose to do a cardio routine on a Tuesday to balance it out.

GET A FAMILY

Joining fitness forums online or in real life can really help kick start your health and fitness goals for the year. You will find people in the health and fitness journeys as you are, some have gone above you in achieving their goals and being on such platforms can motivate and inspire you to achieve your goals.

Exercise, nutrition and lifestyle choices have been mentioned in this article simultaneously because they cannot exist separately. To live a fit and active lifestyle, all factors must be combined to achieve a healthier, fitter you.

 

 

 

Fourteen of Australia’s best places to run

Running is a beautiful and highly personal experience, but let’s face it, most of us would prefer to pound out the kilometers on a scenic coastal path or winding bush track than a city street or industrial estate.

If you’ve ever wanted to expand your running horizons, here are 14 amazing runs around Australia sourced from personal experience, that of fellow runners, race directors and the ever-useful Cool Running forums.

There’s a combination of road and trail runs, the latter often the most scenic and sometimes technically challenging. If you want to impress an overseas visitor, or you’re heading interstate for a holiday and want to build some good runs into your itinerary, read on.

Remember if you take to the trails, dress appropriately for weather changes, especially in winter, take your own hydration source and some back-up nutrition.

Just as importantly, purchase running shoes from a retailer such as The Athlete’s Foot that will keep your goals and running style in mind when determining the best fit, brand and style.

Queensland

Mount Coot-tha.Mt Coot-tha

Just 5km from the Brisbane CBD, Mt Coot-tha has 18.5 kilometres of tracks ideal for running. Start from either JC Slaughter Falls or Simpson Falls picnic areas. The river city is also well endowed with shared bike paths so if you’re staying in the CBD, it’s easy to drop onto a path for a scenic river run away from traffic.

Noose Heads.Noosa National Park

Start from Main Beach on Hastings Street and follow the timber boardwalk to the entrance to the National Park and then onwards via the coastal Tanglewood track out to Hells Gates and back via the inland bush track for a total run of about 10km. For a longer run continue on to Alexandria Bay.

NSW

Manly Cove.Spit to Manly

In Sydney, the Spit to Manly 10km run starts at the Spit Bridge in Mosman’s Middle Harbour and ends at Manly Cove. It’s a combination of track and road plus a bit of beach, easy to follow and with views all the way. Take your camera and finish in Manly for breakfast/lunch.

Oaks Fire Trail.Blue Mountains

Park at Glenbrook, catch the train to Woodford and then run the Oaks Fire Trail back down. It’s 25km, with the final 11km downhill to Euroka camping ground, which is about 5km from Glenbrook station.

Centennial ParkCentennial Park, Paddington

You can do the 3.6km internal loop that follows the road and runs parallel with the horse-riding track, or follow the park perimeter for a quieter, more peaceful run through a variety of vegetation and wetlands.

Royal National ParkRoyal National Park

The Royal in Sydney’s south is a trail fiend’s paradise, and the jewel in the running crown is the 26km Coast Track that stretches from the village of Bundeena in the north to Otford in the south. You can do the whole thing in one hit but, be warned, there are some significant climbs that will test the fittest. Alternatively, break it up into sections and enjoy the mix of cliff tops, beaches, open grasslands and forest. Carry your own water and food.

Victoria

tmm, may, 2013, fitness, pic by daniel mahon
The Tan, South YarraThe Tan

In Melbourne, the 3.8km Tan track is mostly forgiving packed dirt, predominantly flat and starts near the Swan Street Bridge. It follows a scenic route along the Yarra River, and skirts the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Kings Domain with options to divert and add some distance. It’s close to CBD hotels without hitting much traffic.

Mount Oberon.Wilsons Promontory

The Prom National Park’s Mount Oberon summit track is a 6.8km return route with a mixture of some steep sections and steps. The summit view is of the southernmost point of Australia’s mainland. Start from Telegraph Saddle car park.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Kings Park.Kings Park

The Perth CBD landmark has myriad trails, not to mention Jacob’s Ladder – 250 steps of fun climbing, rewarded with great views and a sense of being well away from the city when in fact you’re not.

Lake MongerLake Monger Reserve

Has a 10.4km flat track through picturesque wetlands. It’s less than 5km from Perth with ample parking.

South Australia

Glenelg beach pier.Glenelg

On the coast just 11km from the Adelaide CBD. Catch a tram there and run the 8km loop, following the coast path from Glenelg Pier to Brighton Beach. Plenty of good cafes and diversionary options along the way.

Tasmania

Mount Wellington.Mount Wellington

The mountain behind Hobart has many running tracks easily reachable by car from the CBD. You can follow the road for 22km to the summit, or take the many fire trails or walking tracks. Try the 7km Springs to Lenah Valley route.

Northern Territory

Mindil Beach, Darwin.Darwin

The Esplanade at dusk offers spectacular sunset views, and on to Mindil Beach to a bike track that follows the coast to the East Point Reserve, about 10km from the city.

ACT

Lake Burley Griffin.

Lake Burley Griffin

The perimeter shoreline is 40km, but the run around it can be abbreviated or easily added to. It’s an all-bitumen shared pathway, nearly all flat, and passes by national institutions such as the High Court and the National Portrait Gallery.

The article is sponsored by The Athlete’s Foot, now stocking the New Balance 1260v5.

Pip Coates|Jul 9 2015

Five Female Fitness Myths Debunked by Science

In today’s guest article, Luke Briggs breaks down the most common myths in female fitness and backs it all up with science.

Luke is an equally talented writer and passionate coach who truly get the most out of every single one of his clients, and challenges the current fitness industry with new and innovative ideas.  Let me tell you, he doesn’t just write about training, he is an avid competitive powerlifter who truly walks the walk.

He has really put together an exhaustive list of the downright fallacies women have been burdened with in our industry.  So ladies AND gentleman, get ready to pay attention and take some notes. Time for Luke to set the record straight!

Here’s What You Need To Know…

1. Lifting weights won’t make women bulky, but it will make them strong, lean and healthy if you’re interested in that.

2. Save the pink dumbbells for a doorstop, ultra high rep training is a dead practice. Sticking to strategic rep ranges will build the body of your dreams.

3. Weight lifting is not inherently dangerous; being brutally weak is actually a more risky daily practice.

4. Cardio may help you lose weight, but that “weight” may be muscle mass, which can lead to the dreaded skinny fat appearance. Not exactly the long-term result you had in mind from your daily run.

5. Protein should be prioritized, and eating more with goals of building muscle won’t leave you fat and dumpy. It will help you stay satiated and recovering from training more effectively than ever.

The Female Fitness Industry

Step aside, guys! It’s time to share the squat rack. We are currently living in the new age of fitness. As men, you are no longer the only gender passionately pumping iron with goals of chiseling a strong physique that will turn a few heads while tossing around a few plates.

While men have traditionally dominated the global strength scene, the change is becoming blatantly clear; women are lifting, training and dominating the iron game more than every before. And no, it’s not just about toning up the muscles with pink dumbbells and yoga!

According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, the number of women who participate in strength training increased significantly from 1998 to 2004 (Kruger, Carlson and Kohl III 2006). Just think that was more than a decade ago, before the rise of CrossFit, The Glute Guy and our American obsession with the backside.

While it’s about damn time that more and more females are starting to prioritize strength, it’s a damn shame that droves of misinformation about women and strength training still exist.

Though zombie lies are as hard to kill as the monsters themselves, we need to set the record straight once and for all.

Here is where I stand on dispelling the five most heinous mainstreamed fallacies that the fitness industry force feeds down the throats of vulnerable women looking to improve their bodies and health.

#1 Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky

trap bar deadlift

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding females and strength training involves the notion that lifting weights will make them appear bulky.

Unless females take anabolic steroids or double their clean food intake, that simply won’t happen.

Hormones factor heavily in determining an individual’s size. According to Medline Plus, women naturally produce about only 5-7% as much testosterone as men.

That means men produce 14 to 20 times as much testosterone as women, so women won’t increase muscle mass at nearly the same rate unless they supplement with steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

They can work at the same intensities as men and build lean, slender physiques like fitness models instead of massive bodybuilders. This is absolutely possible, but the bulk thing? Not so much.

According to a 2004 study by Dr. Andrew Fry, “In general, females do not exhibit as great an absolute hypertrophic response when compared with males, although relative gains may be similar” (Fry, 2004).

Ladies aren’t going to throw on big slabs of muscle even if they exert the same level of effort as men. Whether this is good or bad is for you to decide, but being informed of facts, not opinions or anecdotal case studies of one, is necessary.

If women want to build muscle while losing weight, they should focus on maintaining a negative energy balance and burning off more calories than they consume. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. And guess what? That same tip can be used for men! Who would have thought?

To take it to the next level, females should work on reducing stress and getting a requisite amount of sleep per night. Again, this is not rocket science, but it has been shown that getting decreased number of hours of sleep reduces anabolic hormone levels and increases catabolic hormone concentrations (Cook, Kilduff and Jones; 2004).

While the very word “anabolic” may scare some women, it’s actually an important hormone for building lean muscle and burning fat. You’re either building muscle or losing muscle, and you definitely don’t want to decrease muscle mass because muscle burns more calories than fat.

So if females want to remain lean, they had better prioritize staying in an anabolic state.

That means ladies should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night and consume plenty of high quality, unprocessed foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. And yes, it can be that simple. Master the basics to move your goals forward.

#2 If You Want To Tone Muscle, Lift Light Weight For High Reps

lindsay bloom

Women need much more than five-pound pink dumbbells to build the bodies they desire.

If you don’t think women should lift heavy weights, take a trip to your local grocery store to find women of all types hauling massive grocery bags and lifting children over their shoulders.

First off, “heavy” is a relative term. What’s heavy for a 110-pound female will be different than what’s heavy for a 200-pound male.

A certain level of stress must be placed on the body’s muscles and joints in order to create adaptations to allow for lean muscle growth.

According to a recent research review by Brad Schoenfeld called The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and their Applications to Resistance Training, “Intensity (i.e. load) has been shown to have a significant impact on muscle hypertrophy and is arguably the most important exercise variable for stimulating muscle growth (Schoenfeld, 2010).”

Schoenfeld also indicated, “The use of high repetitions has generally proven to be inferior to moderate and lower repetition ranges in eliciting increases in muscle hypertrophy.” And we’re talking lean, toned muscles.

It should be noted that women who use strictly high repetitions will develop sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, the build-up of non-contractile fluid in muscle cells. This type of training makes muscles appear puffy. Not exactly what you are shooting for, right ladies?

Most women probably prefer to build lean, dense muscle. In this case, they should use fewer reps to achieve myofibrillar hypertrophy, an actual increase in the size of the muscle fibers.

Since we’ve already established women won’t get big and bulky unless they take steroids or eat massive amounts of food, let’s discuss the rep ranges women should use.

The majority of women (and men, yeah you guys!) exercise mainly to improve their physiques, so they don’t necessarily need to perform one-, two-, or three-rep maxes like strength athletes.

Sticking between six and 12 reps should be sufficient for optimal lean muscle development, assuming you’re working at a maximal level of intensity.

Women should make sure to use compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups to stimulate their nervous systems to the highest degree.

#3 You’ll Get Hurt If You Lift Weights

lindsay bloom female

You may actually increase your chances of getting hurt if you don’t lift weights. Like my man Bret Contreras says, “If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.”

A lot of females possess great flexibility, but lack stability. According to a 2012 report from the University of Colorado Hospital, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are four to six times more likely to happen in women than men (Osborne, 2012).

ACL injuries are more likely to occur in sports that involve jumping and changing of direction, so improving core stability and developing greater strength in the posterior chain can assist in reducing the possibility of injury.

While it’s important to have some level of flexibility, women who focus solely on stretching-based routines like yoga are short-changing themselves.

According to a 2012 study published in Yoga Journal, more than 82 percent of the 20.4 million yoga practitioners in the United States are female (Yoga Journal, 2012). The point isn’t to entice the guys to sign up for stretch class, but to put a number on the popularity of fitness fads.

Yoga is certainly a wonderful practice, and many women who are already flexible are naturally attracted to it because it’s something with which they’re going to have success. On the other hand, men tend to stick to weight lifting because they’re stronger and have more muscle mass than women. Perhaps many of them would benefit from doing more yoga.

Women can certainly get hurt lifting weights. Men can too.

Attempting to squat or deadlift under heavy load without proper form is a recipe for disaster.

That’s why; if you’re not confident with your form, seek out a qualified professional to learn proper exercise technique. You can then make sure you’re performing the proper progression for each exercise and you’re focusing on quality movement and form and build a foundation of strength to work towards for the long term.

Once you’ve gained confidence in your ability to complete a lift with perfect technique, you’ll be able to increase the weight without worry.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll start putting some men to shame with the amount of weight you have on the bar. No shame in showing up the boys every now and then!

As long as all of the movements are being performed correctly, adding in some form of resistance training is highly beneficial for females from an injury prevention standpoint. Start slow, master your movement, and you will progress faster than you would have ever dreamed.

#4 You Need To Focus On Cardio To Get Lean

lindsay bloom dr john rusin

Just about all of us have walked into a commercial gym to find dozens of exercisers on a treadmill or elliptical moving at a slow and steady pace for prolonged periods of time in an attempt to burn fat.

While there’s no question cardiovascular exercise can help you lose fat, you would be remiss to ignore strength training.

If you focus only on cardio, you’ll likely lose weight if you ensure your diet and recovery are also on point, but you’ll lose muscle if you don’t engage in resistance training.

Having more muscle speeds up your metabolism because it burns calories at a faster rate than fat. If you perform too much cardio, you can actually lose muscle. That is worth repeating, but I’ll save you the burden.

According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, “Chronic, high-volume running creates a catabolic response that can lead to muscle degradation and reduction in power (Campbell and Spano, 131).” In case you read that quickly, this is not a good thing.

If improving body composition is your goal, it’s important to incorporate, if not prioritize weight training and other exercise methods that involve working at high intensities for shorter periods of time to place your body in an anabolic state.

Protein synthesis is elevated after bouts of strength training and can remain elevated for up to two full days following your workout (Campbell and Spano, 100).

For strictly aesthetic-based goals, ladies should implement at least two or three strength-training workouts and a couple of high-intensity interval routines each week.

Steady-state cardio is OK to use occasionally, but it shouldn’t be the main focus of any exercise regimen focusing on physical appearance. This can even be said for the high level triathletes I train on a daily basis.

Ultimately, women must have a negative energy balance to lose weight, so they must make sure diet and recovery are up to par first before focusing on exercise methods. You certainly can’t out-train a bad diet, no matter how hard you train. Sorry to burst your bubble!

#5 You’ll Get Fat If You Eat Too Much Protein

lindsay bloom rusin

Exercise is important, but your diet will have a much greater impact on your physique and your health for that matter.

Making sure you have a good balance of all your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) is essential.

Protein is often talked about among men looking to bulk up, but it’s equally as important for women seeking to burn fat. Protein supports muscle and tissue growth, so it’s essential for the development of lean muscle mass, which elevates metabolism.

The Center for Disease Control recommends 56 grams of protein per day for men and 46 grams for women. But recommendations you find on food labels are generally for sedentary individuals.

Women who are active need more protein even if their goals are to lose weight and body fat.

The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends you consume between one and one-half and two grams per kilogram of body weight per day and to “maintain or slightly increase protein intake…when following a hypocaloric diet (Campbell and Spano, 192).”

So even if you’re only a 50-kilogram (110-pound) female, you should still take in between 75 and 100 grams of protein each and every day.

Also, eating protein can help you eat fewer calories overall because protein has a high thermic effect of food. It requires more energy for the body to digest than the other macronutrients.

Think about it. Have you ever eaten a piece of steak before and felt stuffed? The portion you ate was probably only a couple hundred calories at most.

You’ve probably also eaten a large bag of potato chips and still felt hungry. That bag could have been more than 1,000 calories, but because chips are mostly carbohydrates, your body processed them really quickly.

Precision Nutrition, among the world leaders in nutrition coaching, recommends females have one palm-sized serving of protein with each meal. You should be able to fit about 20 to 30 grams of protein in your palm. If you have three meals, that’s a total of 60 to 90 grams.

So, ladies, start getting in more protein if you want to build your dream body. And skip the potato chips while you’re at it!

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*All images were provided by Lindsay Bloom- Business Manger of John Rusin Fitness Systems, LLC

About The Author

luke briggs

Luke Briggs is a strength coach, powerlifter and former full time print journalist.  Luke is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association who also holds a bachelor’s degree from the prestigious University of Wisconsin’s school of journalism. Luke’s vision is to help people around the world build muscle, burn fat, get stronger and become the best versions of themselves.  With his background in print journalism, he combines his writing skills, knowledge of fitness and personal training experience to be the best possible resource for you to reach all of your strength and physique goals.

Visit Luke at  Luke Briggs Fitness

REFERENCES: 

Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.” Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. Print.

Campbell, Bill I., and Marie A. Spano. “NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition.” Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2011. Print.

Cook, Christian J., Liam P. Kilduff, and Marc R. Jones. “Recovering Effectively in High-Performance Sports.” High-Performance Training for Sports. N.p.: Human Kinetics, 2014. 325. Print.

Fry, Andrew C. “The Role of Resistance Training Intensity on Muscle Fibre Adaptations.” Sports Med 34.10 (2004): 663-78. Web. Female Fitness

Kruger, J., S. Carlson and H. Kohl, III. “Trends in Strength Training – United States, 1998-2004.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 July 2006. Web.

Osborne, Maria. “Why Do Females Injure Their Knees Four to Six Times More Than Men…And What Can You Do About It?” University of Colorado Health (2012): 1-6. University of Colorado-Denver. Female Fitness Web.

Schoenfeld, Brad J. “The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24 (2010): 2857-872. Web. Female Fitness

Yoga Journal. “New Study Finds More Than 20 Million Yogis in U.S. – Yoga Journal.” Yoga Journal. N.p., 05 Dec. 2012. Web. Female Fitness

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6 Phases of the Perfect
Dynamic Warm Up

By | May 26th, 2015|Bodybuilding, Lifestyle, Strength Training

Is your workout not working?

Is your workout getting you nowhere?

Research and lived experience indicate that many people who begin a new exercise program see little if any improvement in their health and fitness even after weeks of studiously sticking with their new routine.

Among fitness scientists, these people are known as “nonresponders.” Their bodies simply don’t respond to the exercise they are doing. And once discouraged, they often return to being nonexercisers.

But an inspiring and timely new study suggests that nonresponders to one form of exercise can probably switch to another exercise regimen to which their body will respond. And a simple test you can do at home will help you determine how well your workout is working for you.

One of the first major studies to report the phenomenon of nonresponders appeared in 2001, when researchers parsed data from dozens of previously published studies of running, cycling and other endurance exercise.

The studies showed that, on aggregate, endurance training increased people’s endurance. But when the researchers examined individual outcomes, the variations were staggering. Some people had improved their endurance as much as 100 per cent, while others had actually become less fit, even though they were following the same workout routine.

Age, sex and ethnicity had not mattered, the researchers noted. Young people and old had been outliers, as had women and men, black volunteers and white. Interestingly, nonresponse to endurance training ran in families, the researchers discovered, suggesting that genetics probably plays a significant role in how people’s bodies react to exercise.

Since then, other researchers have found that people can have extremely erratic reactions to weight training regimens, with some packing on power and mass and others losing both.

And a study published last year concentrating on brief bouts of intense interval training concluded that some people barely gained endurance with this type of workout, while others flourished, greatly augmenting their fitness.

These studies, however, were not generally designed to tell us whether someone who failed to benefit from one form of exercise might do well with another.

So for the new experiment, which was published in December in the journal PLOS One, researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and the University of Ottawa decided to focus intently on whether a nonresponder to one form of exercise could benefit by switching to another.

They began by gathering 21 healthy men and women and determining their VO2 max, a measure of how much oxygen the lungs can deliver to the muscles; heart rates; and other physiological parameters related to aerobic fitness.

Then they had each volunteer complete two very different types of workouts. Each training regimen lasted three weeks, and the researchers waited several months before starting the next regimen, so that volunteers could return to their baseline fitness.

One three-week routine involved typical endurance training: riding a stationary bicycle four times a week for 30 minutes at a moderately strenuous pace.

The second type of exercise revolved around high-intensity intervals. Each volunteer completed eight 20-second intervals of very hard pedaling on a stationary bicycle, with 10 seconds of rest after each bout. The intervals were brutal but brief.

At the end of each three-week session, the researchers again checked each volunteer’s VO2 max and other fitness measures.

As a group, they had gained admirable amounts of fitness from both workouts and to about the same extent.

But individually, the responses varied considerably.

About a third of the people had failed to show much if any improvement in one of the measures of fitness after three weeks of endurance training. Similarly, about a third had not improved their fitness much with interval training. And after each type of workout, some participants were found to be in worse shape.

A majority of the participants, in other words, had failed to respond as expected after one of the workouts.

But, importantly, no one had failed to respond at all. Every man and woman had measurably improved his or her fitness in some way after one of the sessions, if not the other.

Those who had shown little response to endurance training generally showed a robust improvement after the interval sessions, and vice versa.

These data suggest that “there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise,” said Brendon Gurd, an associate professor of kinesiology at Queen’s University who oversaw the study. “But it does seem as if there is some size that fits everyone.”

The question is how to determine which form of exercise best fits you.

The answer, Gurd says, is simple trial and error.

Before beginning a new exercise routine, he says, measure your fitness. You can do this by briskly walking up several flights of stairs or quickly stepping onto and off a box three or four times. Then check your pulse. This is your baseline number.

Now start working out. Walk. Jog. Attend interval training or spin classes.

After about a month, Gurd says, repeat the stair or step test. Your pulse rate should be slower now. Your workout sessions should also be feeling easier.

If not, you may be a nonresponder to your current exercise routine.

In that case, switch things up, Gurd recommends. If you have primarily been walking, maybe try sprinting up a few flights of stairs and walking back down, which is a simple form of interval training.

Or if you have been exercising with intervals and feeling no fitter, perhaps jog for a month or two.

The message he hopes people will glean from his and other studies of exercise nonresponders “is not that you shouldn’t bother exercising because exercise might not help you,” Gurd says. “It does help everyone, once you find your own best exercise.”

New York Times

[Original Article] GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

Why I hate Nippers and their four-wheel-driving parents

Every Sunday they descend: pink fluoro-clad Nippers like swarms of flies across our beaches. It’s not just them, it’s their surf patrol parents and their four-wheel-drive vehicles making it impossible to park on the Sabbath day that annoy me. Call me un-Australian – happily – but Nippers drive me crazy.

For those of us who like the daily ritual of swimming or surfing, there’s the ever-present danger of a collision with an errant young surf lifesaver not watching where they are going.

Yes, I know they are out there learning how to protect us when times are tough and swells are rough. It’s just the sanctimonious, self-righteous attitude of surf club members and their offspring that bothers me. They think they own the ocean.

I’m inclined to agree with the anonymous writer in The Lone Hand, the sister publication to The Bulletin also founded by J.F. Archibald, who in 1910 observed: “The lifesavers represent the very highest class. They are the samurais, the oligarchs, the elite. They strut the beaches with superiority that is insolent, yet at the same time, tolerant … of lesser breeds – a gladiator class, envied by all the men, adored by all the women.”

I am one woman who does not adore them. It’s not just their bronze medallioned superiority out in the water, but their takeover of the beach with sprinting races, running for flags in Darwinian-style survival-of-the- fittest contests. Where’s the respectful sharing of our beaches like bike riders and car drivers on some of Sydney’s roads?

Sure, Nippers celebrate champions but what about those with disabilities or who are simply slow? From my own observation in my two years as a Nippers mother, they end up feeling not so great.

Am I the only one who finds clubbies cliquey and condescending? Joining Nippers is the new country club for making contacts for parents – they are often sponsored by the local real estate agent and remain – if you ask me – the last bastions of ugly Ocker maledom.

But they didn’t ask me much in the two years I was trying to be part of the team – so I ended up becoming friends with the breakaway parents who shared my complaints.

Nippers is a cult. I know I’ll be crucified for saying that. It’s all very misanthropic of me but they make me feel like an outsider in the water; the very place I feel most at home (as an Aquarian).

We will fight them on our beaches, we will fight them in our car parks. It’s time to reclaim Sunday mornings.

 

Helen PittHelen Pitt|

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