Saturday, February 10, 2007

Choose Your Workout by Your Personality

You know you just love to do certain things over and over without feeling bored. But there are other things that are simply not your cup of tea. Every person has different lifestyle, unique personality, likes and dislikes. Some people like fast-paced games, extreme sports or explosive power-moving activities; while others like slow-tempo activities or endurance sports.

Wouldn't it be logical to choose physical activities or workout routines that match your personality. You'll enjoy them more and stay interested longer. Exercise is supposed to be fun, not just one check-marked item on your to-do list. Sooner than later, it'll become a "postponed" or "cancelled" item.

Workout by Personality

If you're bored easily, try cross training that mixes thing up and allows you to engage in different activities throughout the week, month, season or the whole year.

If you're spiritual or like body-mind connection, try yoga, Pilates, or (internal) martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan.

If you like to do things on your own, try strength training and add some variations. You can do it solo at home or in the gym.

If you're easily discouraged, try walking. It's cheap and can be done anywhere. There is no excuse that you cannot do it.

If you're always busy, try short, frequent bursts of activity. You may not be able to schedule a block of 60 minutes to work out. But you can try to squeeze in several 15-minute periods for short and quick exercises such as walking, bodyweight circuit training, shadow boxing, jump rope, etc.

If you're a social butterfly, try anything that needs a company. Play a pickup game. Play double tennis. Go to group exercise class or spinning class. Join a running club.

If you're short-tempered or have to be constantly on-the-go, try (external) martial arts, boxing or kickboxing to release your adrenaline rush.

If you're always patient or organized, try endurance sports such as long distance running, marathon, cycling or triathlon.

Enjoy yourself and have fun!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Periodize Your Training Program To Make Continual Progress

Why Isn't Your Workout Working?

Have you been wondering why you stop making progress (e.g., growing muscle, gaining strength or losing weight)?

Have you been doing the same workout routine over and over? That is, you're bored and stuck in a fitness rut.

Have you thought about changing up your training program, mixing up workout routine or even taking a long break from training?

There are many training systems available depending on your goals and training cycle. Here is why your workout isn't working. The basic concept starts with variation and progression for a training system. It's related to so called general adaptation syndrome (Ref. 1 and 2).

It states that variation of certain training factors will lead to greater gains than no variation. When you experience a new training stimulus, your body is "shocked" with some physiological discomfort. Your body adapts to the stimulus and improve performance after a few repeated sessions. After a while your body is used to the routine and intensity and becomes more efficient, the gains start to diminish. Your body has no reason to grow if you stop working out surpassing an optimal intensity threshold.

Put it this way. There is no magic training system, sets or reps.

Everything works, but nothing works forever.

Periodization --- Keep Your Workout Working

The concept of periodization is to change the training stimulus for gains to continue to occur progressively. The training stimulus can be changed by varying volume, load and intensity. Periodization was originally modeled in terms of Olympic weightlifting. Many concepts have been applied directly to fitness training.

Periodization refers to the "planned" manipulation of training volume, load and intensity throughout a series of specific training phases or cycles. Periodization is an application of the principles of progressive training. You vary your repetitions, sets, weight and intensity during each cycle. It's a method used to make continual improvements in performance throughout the year and avoid reaching plateau.

If you follow the same workout for any length of time, your body soon adapts to the constant load and your gains diminish. However, by structuring your long-term training goals in a number of training cycles, you will be able to make gains in strength, mass and endurance all year round. It will also help you avoid overtraining and injuries.

What Is A Periodization Program?

A periodization program is divided into a number of distinct training cycles. The longest cycle is called a macrocycle and usually spans a period of one year, although shorter macrocycles can be used. This would suit those who cannot commit themselves to a year-round program or those who want greater variety in their training.

The macrocycle is then broken down into 2 to 6 shorter training cycles (mesocycles). Each mesocycle spans several weeks and emphasises a particular training goal (e.g., hypertrophy for muscle mass, strength, maximum strength/power, or muscular endurance).

A well designed traininig program starts off with higher volume, lower intensity and lower skill workouts. The program gradually increases in training intensity toward heavier weights, lower reps and requires higher skill levels. The aim is to peak at the end of your mesocycle.

Each mesocycle is followed by a short period of 1-2 week rest. Rest is very important to allow your body to recover from the intense training and relieve stresses on your bones and joints. Resting doesn't mean that you do absolutely nothing. You'll engage in "active" resting and recovery. You do only very light training, or a completely different activity for cross training such as golf or recreational swimming that does not tax your energy systems or central nervous system in the same way. Each mesocycle is then divided into week­long microcycles, around which you plan your day-to-day workouts.

Types of Periodization Program

There are many variations in the periodization program, depending on your goals, training experience and lifestyle. (ref. 3)

  • Linear Periodization: It's the classcic and straightforward method. You do something, make some progress to the next level or next thing, reach a peak, and back off for a break. "The main problem is that you constantly move away from the quality you've just developed," Alwyn says. Linear periodization starts from high reps/low loads and progresses successively to low reps/high loads. For example, you lift 15 reps in Phase One, 12 reps in Phase Two, 10 reps in Phase Three and 8 reps in Phase Four.
  • Alternating Periodization: Instead of going straight linearly from the highest reps to the lowest, you alternate reps and workloads in different phases. For example, you can lift 10 reps in Phase One, 12 reps in Phase Two, 6 reps in Phase Three and 15 reps in Phase Four.
  • Conjugate Periodization: A program can mix and match weights/reps in different stages. It combines some heavy lifts for strength, some fast lifts for power, some medium-rep sets for muscle mass, and some high-rep sets for muscular endurance.
  • Undulating Periodization: This program is designed for athletes who need to maintain high levels of muscular endurance, strength and mass throughout the season. The undulating periodization program adjusts the sets, reps, rep tempo and rest period in every single workout.

Embrace The Changes
Some periodization programs may be better or more suitable for one than the other. Any type of periodization is better than the other types of training programs. Most people respond much better if their training program is periodically changed according to these principles.

Get Professional Help

Still have problems? Hire a qualified personal trainer to help you design an individualized fitness training program. You're welcome to contact me for consultation,

1. Medvedeyev, A. A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting. Trans. Andrew Chamiga. Linovia, Russia: Sportiviny Press, 1989.
2. Fleck, S. and Kraemer, W. Designing Resistance Programs. Champaign, IL: Human Kinectics, 1988.
3. Schuler, L. and Cosgrove, A. The New Rules of Lifting. New York, NY: The Penguin Group, 2006.

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Copyright 2007 by C. Carey Yang and Beyond Fitness Solutions, LLC.
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Go Red for Women's Heart Health

We all know that doing cardiovascular exercise helps us lose weight and improve health. Even you're in great shape, you still need to continue to do cardiovasulcar exercise to keep your heart in healthy function and for long-term health benefits.

Heart disease is not just for men. Due to different heart attack symptoms and misreading, women's heart disease has been neglected for a long time. Now cardiovascular disease is number 1 killer for women over age 25! In fact, the month of February has been proclaimed as American Heart Month since 1963. American Heart Association has Go Red for Women's Heart Health campaign to raise the awareness of heart disease for women.

Read more about health, self-care and work-life balance for women:
Intensive Care for the Nurturer's Soul: Go Red for Women's Heart Health

Learn how to perform cardiovascular exercises and strength training for your strong heart:
Do the Right Kind of Cardio Exercise for Your Heart
Strength and Cardio Circuit Training to Keep Your Heart Pumping
Super Strength Circuit Training to Strengthen Your Heart Muscle

Monday, February 05, 2007

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Health and Fitness is a lifetime commitment. It should be an important area in anyone's life. With one month past the New Year, are you still on track of your New Year's Resolutions? or already slipping?

We got to learn how to lead a performance lifestyle.

How long does it take for a lifestyle change to become routine? According to John C. Norcross, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, it takes a minimum of three to six months to make a new behavior permanent.

We don't need experts to tell us about behavioral changes. Ask youself. How long does it take to learn to play tennis or piano? On the other hand, picking up a bad habit (e.g., smoking) doesn't just happen overnight, either. Right?!

Over half of the leading causes of death are lifestyle related in modern days. The modern liftstyle and working environment makes us consume more and move less. Healthy lifestyle changes are the key to successful weight loss. Consider the following areas in your life for any improvement for making healthy lifestyle changes.

  • Alcohol use
  • Tobacco use
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight and body fat levels
  • Physical fitness
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Automobile Safety
  • Relationships
  • Rest and sleep
  • Life satisfaction

There are several ways to help you stick to your healthy resolutions and make permanent lifestyle changes:

  • Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
  • Enlist your mastermind support group of friends and family.
  • Find a healthy substitute for the bad habit or behavior.
  • Establish a reward system when achieving your goal.
  • Give youself some time to see the results.
  • Get professional help for lifestyle coaching.

>>> Sign up for FREE monthly e-Newsletter to receive insider training tips, workout routines and check out your FREE bonus e-books to help you build muscles, lose fat and uncover your six pack abs.

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