Diet & Exercise: Tips to help with your exercise routine

Published 5:38 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day to day I train beginners, intermediates, and folks on advanced exercise regimens. I even train other personal trainers to better their skills. I teach everyone I work with the exercise do’s and don’ts. Here are just a few. No matter your fitness level, experience or knowledge, these rules apply.

Don’t over train (last week’s column): Over training at any level is a bad idea. Remember, rest is the glue that holds your exercise program together. If, for example, you were baking a cake, and it called for one cup of sugar, you wouldn’t say “that being the case, if I use three cups of sugar, the cake will be three times as good.” Of course not (well, some of you might), because you would ruin the recipe.

Your fitness program is like a recipe, too. Now, I’m not suggesting you not workout hard at any age within your limits, but every aspect of your exercise routine has its own proper portion.

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Also, don’t do extra exercise “because you enjoy it.” It’s still over training. Think of rest as an active part of your exercise regimen, not passive.

Stretch before and after your exercise routine: When you stretch, you’re not stretching your muscles, but rather your tendons. Tendons hold muscles to bones and behave much like leather in two ways. First, the more supple tendons are, the stronger they can hold. Second, you can’t condition tendons or leather in just one day. Both have to be conditioned over and over.

When I was head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, our team stretched for a full 30 minutes before every practice. Also, never bounce a stretch, because that’s like snapping a rubber band, and could cause you to tear a muscle, or other connective tissues.

Don’t learn your exercise routine by watching a friend work out. Learning from a buddy or trying to come up with your own regimen will not only prevent progress, but can get you injured as well. Everyone is different, with individual needs. I don’t have any two clients on the same program. Get help from an expert.

Do have a workout partner. You can motivate each other, and because knowing one of you is going to show up to work out, it helps make you both accountable.

Don’t work out without staying hydrated. Remember, muscle is composed of 70-75 percent water, so if you’re dehydrated, it’s like your muscles are running on a flat tire.

Do get plenty of sleep. Even though your muscles might feel tight during a workout (that’s because they are gorged with blood), they don’t tone and strengthen until hours later while you sleep. In fact, if I’m training someone for a time sensitive event like a sport or competition, or a model for a future photo shoot, one of the first things I require of them is that they get an extra hour of sleep each night whether they have to go to bed an hour earlier or get up an hour later. A nap won’t do it, because there needs to be a cycle of sleep.

Don’t give up on yourself. No matter your fitness level, you’re going to have setbacks. At times you are going to feel like you just can’t make any more progress. Stay with it. When it comes to exercise, consistency is even more important than effort. Remember, slow and steady wins this race.

David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years.