Entering a fitness facility can be an overwhelming task. The infinite number of thoughts that run through your mind can be exhausting. You ask yourself: what should I do; how many sets; and reps? A majority of facilities have an endless amount of equipment to choose from which, causes your novice trainee to try everything. Every workout trainees tend to switch exercise selection constantly which lacks structure and limits results. Committing to an exercises program is more then just playing on abdominal machines and looking at yourself in the mirror. Creating an exercise prescription should be based on the needs and goals of the individual.
The goal of loosing body fat is a typical expectation for woman. Using the glute and back extension machine is not your answer. Isolating muscles group is time consuming and burns minimal calories. Remember the more muscle involved the higher the metabolic demand. There are no studies in exercise physiology that validate the effectiveness of isolating muscle groups. Incorporating exercises involving large muscle groups such as squats, lunges, resisted sprints increases calorie expenditure during and after exercise.
Men on the other hand have different goals compared to woman. A majority of male trainees want to build muscle mass. Building muscle requires the use of multi joint exercises such a dead lifts, bb squats, bb rows and bench press. The National Strength and Conditioning Association claims performing 8-12 reps for 3 sets will build muscle mass. Research also indicates high reps with minimal rest time of 30 seconds releases hormones in the body which signal muscle growth. A typical mass building program should be structured in a way to vary the intensity, reps, and sets. Varying a program’s volume allows the body to adapt slowly and prevents overtraining. Most male trainees tend to over exert themselves constantly which leads to a lack of progress and frustration. Using the principle of no pain no gain clearly is dangerous and brainless.
Obviously this information is much to take in. A beginner or advanced trainee should invest in a personal trainer for expertise in program design and body mechanics. If you decide to hire a trainer make sure you do your research and hire someone with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science and with a well known certification such as NSCA or ACSM. Hiring a trainer with the guidance of a Physical Therapist will also contribute to the effectiveness of an exercise program. Physical Therapist provides a wealth of knowledge for a trainer in dealing with clients who have orthopedic limitations or restrictions. The next time you enter a gym think large muscle groups with multiple joint motions or set up an appointment with a personal trainer for permanent results.
Richard Pohler BS, ACSM, CSCS
Head Trainer Body Solutions.