What do I need to know?

by 01 Apr 2008

What do I need to know?

Last fortnight we stated that “anaerobic activity can improve the cardiovascular system, while aerobic activity stimulates muscle growth”. Obviously, the words “anaerobic”and “aerobic” should be switched in that statement, so if you’ve been trying to bulk up by running marathons, our apologies, but hopefully you’re enjoying the increased cardiovascular endurance.

If you’re sedentary, just about any kind of physical activity or diet modification will help. Once active, however, a working knowledge of fitness concepts and how to implement them is essential for improvement. Imagine two people – one unskilled and unemployed, and another who’s been in the same job for five years. For the first person, any job with any wage would be a step up. The second person’s already in the game, but they may want to reignite the momentum in their career. That requires a focused effort to learn new skills and try new things.

Fitness isn’t much different from your career when you think about it. You won’t move far up the corporate ladder if you do the same thing for 20 years. Likewise, you need to challenge your body all the time to avoid plateaus or even relapses in progress. If you’re a jogger, try some resistance training. If you spend all your time in the gym, try an outdoor session. If you love what you’re doing, some simple changes in technique might make all the difference.

Just about any trainer who’s been on the job more than a couple months has a client who’s made the following statement: “I work out all the time and my diet is great, but I just can’t lose the weight.” Upon further questioning, it turns out that the person in question might take a light walk every other day, and eats nutritious food (in not-so-nutritious portions), mixed in with the occasional beer, chocolate or deep-fried chicken. Not good enough.

If you’ve been serious about your exercise routine, but haven’t seen results, it’s time to get real and change your game plan.

By Brian Merrill, certified fitness trainer. Email b.e.merrill@gmail.com