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FITNESS AND FUEL

Are You Fit to Exercise?

"Take it slow and steady"
By: James BarramedaAre You Fit to Exercise?

Before plunging in a serious training program, are you sure you are physically capable of exercising? If you have an existing medical condition like heart disease or back injury, better get yourself cleared by your doctor.  By consulting your doctor before engaging in a more demanding form of physical activity, you’ll save yourself from potential injury or worse physical condition.

As a general rule, never get into heavy work out immediately—like running a marathon, if you’re coming from a life of lying on the couch all day. Your body needs to be conditioned to be able to exercise without hurting yourself. Always start slow and gradually increase intensity to get your body adjusted to the type of workout you wish to do.

Consult a trainer if you absolutely have no idea what workout program to execute. You can do this by visiting a gym and setting a consultation appointment or by researching on some recommended beginner training programs on the Internet.

When you consult a real person who is knowledgeable in the field of physical fitness, you will receive a customized evaluation of your present fitness level based on your weight, height, vital statistics, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. The trainer then provides you with a corresponding program that can address your problem areas or train your body for a sports activity like a marathon event or a competition. Your trainer can also teach you how to properly execute the different forms, lifts, stretches, and movements while using fitness machines and equipment.

A common fitness myth, especially among bodybuilders, goes “If a fitness program works for your friend, it must be good for you too". The truth behind this is that your physiological makeup and your body’s response to different exercise protocols are not the same with that of your gym buddy. Genetics, gender, age, diet and by many other factors make it so. To find a program that works for you, you’ll have to try several techniques and figure it out by yourself. This means you may have to change the number of reps, a number of weights to be lifted, or substitute one exercise for another in order to find the workout that works best for you.

Other fitness myths are:

  • If you want to bulk up your body with muscles, eat lots of protein. Protein is needed by the body, however, if you surpass the daily requirement for it, between 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, your body simply treats it like any excess carbs and fat. 
  • If you're not sweating, you're not working hard enough. Sweating is body’s natural way of cooling itself. If you can sweat while doing nothing, then it is also possible to burn a significant amount of calories while working out without breaking a single sweat. Sweating is affected by many factors, which include sex, age, fitness level, and environmental factors.
  • A steady moderate-intensity cardio for an hour is best for burning fat. The body burns more fat calories from working at a moderate heart rate but doing it for long period of time at a steady pace is not the most effective way. HIIT or high-intensity interval training is a cardio workout made up of short bursts of very intense exercises alternated by low-intensity exercises. 20-30 minutes of HIIT allows you to burn fat nine times more with compared to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise. 
  • No pain, no gain. It is normal to feel a little ache from muscle exertion but if an activity gets really painful to do, especially when the level of pain increases as you continue—you need to stop and rest. If pain continues, then it’s either you’re doing it all wrong or you have an injury. Have it checked by a doctor right away.
  • Work your heart out to get desired results. You can’t expect to max yourself out every day with exercise and survive for long—you need to allow your body to recuperate and repair itself so that you become better when you return. Alternating a day of rest in between gym visits will keep you more motivated and energized when it counts the most.
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