Exercise Diversity for Maximum Results

Exercise Diversity for Maximum Results

Have you ever noticed that when you workout for the first time, where everything is brand new, it seems like a daunting and physically painful act?  Have you also noticed that when you go the second time, it’s almost immediately a bit easier?  Or if you are a seasoned gym veteran and throw in a new exercise, at first it seems difficult and you can’t move as much weight as you can with similar exercises you perform more often?  Then when you do the exercise a second time you are already stronger at it.  This is called Muscle Adaptation.  Why this is of importance to you is because utilizing your body’s ability to adapt and progress can give you that added edge in reaching and surpassing your goals in a shorter period of time.  Be it gaining muscle size, muscle strength or increasing your muscular stamina/endurance.

Muscle Adaptation Principle is when your skeletal muscle adapts physiologically and biochemically to the resistance placed upon it.  An example of this is to compare how hard it was to bench 135lbs a year ago to how hard it is now.  Also, how the shape of your chest and triceps look now compared to a year ago.  For those new to the fitness scene, think of that first time you used a piece of equipment in the gym or a dumbbell at home.  Using that same weight now should be easier, less overall effort and the actual act should be almost routine without having to think awfully hard on how to use that weight.

So how do you utilize your body’s unique ability to adapt to your benefit?  The best way is to constantly increase weight for each exercise (even if it’s only 1-2.5 pounds) and use different exercises for the same muscle groups ever 2-4 weeks.  The aforementioned is the concept of muscle overload while the latter is the theory of muscle confusion.  Let’s talk about overload first.  Overload means using more weight than you previously have on any given exercise (usually with a spotter or assisted as in a machine) to shock your muscles.

Your muscles will view that additional load like your white blood cells view a virus, adapt to maintain balance in your system.  Your muscle cells will increase in size and number, therefore will adapt to the stress put upon them in preparation for when they are called upon again to move that amount of weight a specific number of times.  For example, if you can bench press 225 pounds for 6 repetitions in week one and then throw on an extra 10-20 pounds and get that for 4.  Within two weeks of doing the exact same exercise, you should be able to either move 225 for 7 or 15-25 pounds more for 4.  The same can be said if you bench 225 for 10 with two negatives or two assisted repetitions, that within two weeks you should be able to do 12 repetitions.  Now that you have an understanding of overload to enhance muscle adaptation, let’s look into the second approach, or how I like to put it, a compliment.

Note: if you’re looking for an amazing way to help recover your muscles, check this massage gun out.

Muscle confusion is simply, confusing your muscles.  For every muscle group (i.e. chest, shoulders, back, etc.), there are numerous muscle tie-ins and stabilizer muscle groups (synergists).  Doing one simple exercise, the bench press, actually involves numerous other muscles to perform that one pressing motion.  So in order to get the most development of any one muscle group you not only have to attack that muscle in different ways but also the muscles that are the support group.

And since your muscles adapt quickly (roughly 2-4 weeks), doing a decline bench press for week 1-3, then an incline bench press for weeks 4-6, then back to flat for weeks 7-9 can actually strengthen, create greater muscle size and tone from all angles for the agonist (main muscle being work) as well as the synergist (i.e. triceps).  Never let your muscles know how you plan to attack them and they will respond accordingly in the most beneficial way.

For the next 12 weeks of your resistance training program, try at least 1 different exercise per week and per body part, increase weight for every exercise (even slightly), and never do the same exercises in the same order for more than 2-4 weeks at a time.  Not only will you feel the difference in your workouts, see the difference in your body but it may even help give you that added push to continue working hard to reach your goals.

Women’s Easy Event: Stress-Busting Massage Party: Spa-Like Atmosphere Creates Relaxing Gathering for Women

Gather a small group of BFFs, add in a massage therapist who makes house calls, play some light classical music and enjoy the relaxation!

Concept Set up an in-home spa treatment that will relax the guests. Start with a personal invitation to those friends that could benefit from a relaxing afternoon. The best invitation is a personal phone call to explain the afternoon, why your guest will benefit and whether he or she should bring specific clothing or items to the event.

Pre-Event Preparation

This event requires a significant amount of setup in order to ensure its success. That being said, nothing is particularly difficult about the recommended set up requirements. Start by contracting with a recommended massage therapist. Check for recommendations with your friends, with your local health club, or the American Massage Therapy Association. If funds are limited, ask the massage therapist to offer you a reduced fee or no fee, in exchange for the opportunity to present his or her services to your event’s guests.

Determine if the massage therapist has specific needs, such as towels or access to a source of heat. It will likely be necessary to rearrange the room’s furniture to accommodate the massage table or massage chair and provide a sitting area for the remaining guests. Place a coffee table or end table near the sitting area to hold snacks and drinks. Filter some light, ethereal music through the party space, at a subdued volume. For some great suggestions and easy downloads, go to Amazon.com and search for “spa music,” “meditation music,” or “massage music.”

Food and Beverage

Since this event is a health and wellness gathering, focus any refreshments on light, fresh items.

Chilled water with lemon slices or chilled bottled water: since this is a sophisticated event, use real glassware to serve the chilled water. While a beautiful pitcher of iced water with lemon slices is more economical, chilled bottles of designer water are simpler. However, when one considers that bottles of water are significantly less eco-friendly than the other option, the choice becomes less clear. Ultimately, the decision is up to the hostess.

Food should include fresh fruits such as luscious berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries), along with some refreshing, ripe cantaloupe. Take the time to create melon balls; these are easily served on a pretty, floral platter, along with toothpicks for a simple “finger food” option. The berries can be served in individual china teacups with silver spoons for eating, reinforcing the sophisticated atmosphere of this event.

Exercise Performance

Sleep Deprivation and the Effect on Exercise Performance

Getting the most out of your exercise programs starts with the sleep quality you get when going to bed. It is the sleep deprivation and the effect on exercise performance that may have you changing your sleep habits to help improve your overall health and fitness.

It is estimated by the CDC that roughly 30% of adults do not get the recommended seven hours of sleep they need each night to fully recharge the body. Proper sleep is just as essential as eating right when it comes to getting the most out of your exercise routine. While you may feel okay if you have gone several nights without good sleep, the results of numerous studies indicate that what you feel is not really what is happening to your mind and body.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Exercise

Even a single night of deprived sleep can lead to poorer performance when exercising. A lack of sleep can have the following effects.

  • Reduced Endurance
  • Limits on Muscle Strength
  • More Difficult to Perform Complex Movement

But it may be the psychological effect that is the most pronounced. When you do not get enough sleep, the exercise feels harder to accomplish. This can lead to discouragement and cause you to fatigue faster even if you have been doing the same routines time and time again.

A lack of good sleep can start a cycle that is difficult to stop unless you start sleeping better. The fatigue works quickly to lower your motivation to workout. This leads to working out less and a lowering of muscle function. This can compound itself when the muscles do not get the rest needed to repair themselves. So, you exercise even less as a result.

How to Combat Sleep Deprivation

If you are not getting enough sleep at night, the answer is as straightforward as it gets. You need to start readjusting your sleep schedule to ensure you get the recommended hours needed of rest. Keep in mind that those who exercise are not only burning more energy, they are repairing and building up muscle tissue, so they need even more sleep.

Start by going to bed fifteen minutes earlier. Plus, prepare yourself for sleep before you go to bed by putting away all devices, shutting off the TV, and eliminating all light both in and entering the room. This helps prepare your mind for going to bed and you should fall asleep faster and obtain a better quality of sleep as a result.

When you miss out on good quality sleep, your mind and body will remember, so there will be some catching up you need to do. Once you have caught up, keep your sleep routine the same every night. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time.

There is little doubt of the correlation between sleep deprivation and the effect on exercise performance. What is not fully understood is how much deprivation of quality sleep is needed to create a negative effect. That depends on the amount of sleep quality that is deprived and the individual who may react differently than others under the same circumstances.

Mental Health

How Does Mental Health Affect Athletic Performance?

Athletes are judged by their physical performance in their sport. How fast they can run, how quickly they can react, and how strong their muscles can be are all factors that can be measured. But the mental health of an athlete is a different story. How does mental health affect athletic performance is difficult. This is because psychological factors cannot be measured exactly, but they can have a negative effect on the performance of an athlete.

Identifying issues affecting the mental health of an athlete is vital to determining the type of treatment needed to overcome such problems. Keep in mind that such issues may be small, large, or unrelated to the sport in which an athlete participates. Another factor is the individual who may ignore or be overly affected by relatively small issues concerning their mental state.

Effects of Mental Health

The negative effects that may be seen from an athlete with mental health issues may range from small, such as an increase in perspiration, a tightening of the muscles, or a lack of focus at a crucial moment. Then again, such issues may be substantial, such as the inability to concentrate, perform at the expected physical level, or even breaking down or quitting during the event.

While such major issues are rare, it only takes a small problem affecting the mental health of an athlete to make a big difference in their performance. This means that once an issue with the mental health of an athlete is identified, it needs to be addressed.

How to Combat Mental Health Issues in Athletes?

The first step is to identify the cause. It might be small, it might be large, and it might something that cannot be solved right away. But once the identification of the issue is known, then steps can be taken to mitigate its effects. Beyond simply addressing the issue itself, coaches and athletes can do the following.

  • Set Goals
  • Establish Positive Routines
  • Visualize Winning or Succeeding
  • Bolster Confidence through Repetition

Goal setting may be the most important aspect in addressing a mental health concern. By setting smaller, more realistic goals that can be met quickly, larger goals get more in reach. The overall effect is that it boosts the confidence of the athlete because they can see themselves overcoming what is keeping them back.

Other treatments such as mixing up exercise routines, injecting fun into practice, and taking the pressure down during preparation helps the athlete to relax and focus when it is time to compete. Combined with establishing positive routines and visualizing success, these things can help overcome obstacles and establish better mental health for the athlete.

Understanding how does mental health affect athletic performance starts with an athlete’s performance can be altered. Such factors may cause breakdowns, loss of focus, improper preparation, and even in some cases injuries. These disruptions may be small or large. But in all cases, they may cause a negative effect that would not be present if the mental health state was a healthy one.