Monthly Archives: August 2017

How Periodization can help you acheive your fitness goals

PeriodizationThe systematic application of overload through the pre-planned variation of program proponents to optimize gains in strength (or any specific component of fitness), while preventing overuse, staleness, overtraining, and plateaus. (Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals).

Basically, it’s alternating easy, moderate, and hard phases of training.  Using periodization is probably the best way to avoid overtraining and help you get the most benefits out of your exercise program.  Using the right periodization strategy will help boost fitness gains and will train your body to be in the best shape for a specific time frame, such as for a race.

This can be done over months or even within a single week depending on what you are wanting to accomplish.  Using periodization can help you achieve your goals and help you develop a program that provides results.

  • Doing the same workouts and same intensity all the time, you’re bound to hit a plateau.  Many of us just keep doing the same things not knowing how to change up an exercise program or know the benefits of making changes.  Switching the type of exercise, intensity, repetitions, rest intervals, or tempo, will enable you to alternate low and high intensity workouts.  This will help your body get the proper recovery.
  • Rotating periods of training with the focus on intensity, time, distance, and volume or workload lets your body rest and adjust which is a huge benefit. Consistently making changes to an exercise program is more effective and decreases risk of injury.
  • Periodized training can be divided into cycles.  A macrocycle is the overall time frame of a program or goal, usually 6-12 months.  This long-range goal can be split into mesocycles that are typically 2 weeks to 3 months long and are designed to help move you toward the overall goal of the macrocycle.  A microcycle is the shortest timeframe and helps to reach the goal of the mesocycle.  For example:  you may have a 6 month macrocycle that has 2 mesocycles of 3 months each and 12 microcycles of 2 weeks each.
  • By alternating the intensity of exercise, you have more control of the physical stress put on the body.  If intensity is low, volume can be high.
  • Changing up your workouts every eight to twelve weeks will help you to continually make changes and avoid the dreaded plateau.
How to Use Periodization to Achieve your Fitness Goals! Click To Tweet

Periodization can be used for strength training programs, cardiovascular programs, and also nutrition.  (Here is some information on Periodized Nutrition for Athletes  ).

To get the most out of your training and increase fitness gains, using periodization will definitely be helpful.  Cycling through days of low-intensity, high-intensity, and proper recovery is very beneficial and will make it easier to achieve your fitness goals!

Do you periodize your training?

What steps do you take if you hit a plateau?

Magnesium: Are you getting enough?

The fourth most abundant mineral in the body and second most prevalent electrolyte, magnesium has a significant responsibility in boosting health.  Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions in the body.  Approximately 60% of adults in the Unites States do not consume the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for magnesium!

Having the proper amount of magnesium is so important.  Here are some of the key roles:

  • helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function
  • helps maintain heart rhythm
  • helps maintain blood pressure
  • helps maintain your immune system
  • helps maintain bone integrity
  • helps maintain blood glucose levels
  • promotes calcium absorption

There aren’t any reports stating that magnesium deficiency increases disease, but a low dietary  intake has been linked to chronic inflammatory stress conditions. This in turn, can contribute to hypertension, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer.

Magnesium intake is not only crucial for overall health, but it also plays a role in athletic performance.  Magnesium is involved in energy storage and production, maintaining blood glucose levels, and normal muscle function.  These functions are important to athletes as low intake can jeopardize aerobic endurance.

Research suggests that most athletes do not get proper amounts of magnesium in their diets.  Only a small amount of magnesium is found in blood (about 1%), therefore it’s hard to diagnose a deficiency.  Low levels are most likely because of not eating enough magnesium containing foods or from a situation that blocks food absorption from the intestines.

Eating foods that are high in magnesium is essential for maintaining health.  It’s always a better option to get your nutrients from food instead of supplements.  Keep in mind that taking in more than necessary could cause gastrointestinal distress.  Good food sources are:

  • dry roasted almonds
  • spinach
  • chard
  • pumpkin seeds
  • black beans
  • cashews
  • avocado
  • soy milk
  • sunflower seeds
  • figs
  • dark chocolate
  • banana
  • edamame

It’s important to note that a high intake of calcium increases magnesium requirements.  These two nutrients compete for absorption into the blood stream, so it’s necessary to be aware of the calcium to magnesium ratio.  If you get more calcium compared to magnesium, this will promote a magnesium deficiency.

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As you can see, getting adequate amounts of magnesium has protective health benefits.  It’s important for energy metabolism, therefore important for exercise performance.  Anything that impacts exercise performance, I want to know about!

Although there is some evidence that magnesium supplementation may enhance athletic performance, more research is needed to determine if it can be used as a true ergogenic aid. (Current Sports Medicine Reports)

How do you get your magnesium?

Do you ever take magnesium supplements?

3 Tips on Losing Those Last Few Pounds!

Why is it a struggle to lose those last few pounds in order to reach your weight loss goals?  While on a weight loss journey, those final pounds are very stubborn regardless of changes in nutrition and sticking with a vigorous exercise program.

Our bodies are very smart and would rather not be on a “diet”.  Supposedly, we all have a set point at which our body likes to stay at and is comfortably maintained.  When we lose weight below our set point, our body tries to return to that steady state.  Therefore, losing those last few pounds is not easy!

With a persistent action plan that targets nutrition and physical activity, you can successfully reach a new steady state or set point.  Follow these 3 tips to help lose those last few stubborn pounds and help achieve your goals.

1.  Alter your endurance program.  The goal is to burn more calories overall.  There are basically two ways to change up your aerobic exercise.  Increase the intensity during your cardio session.  If your a runner, for example, run faster or add some bursts of speed throughout your run.  If you don’t want to increase intensity, you can increase the amount of time spent doing aerobic exercise.  Either add time to each session or add an extra day or two.

2.  Strength train a minimum of 2 times per week.  If you add more muscle, you increase your metabolic rate and therefore, more calories are burned.  When you have a large amount of muscle, you can burn more calories overall than if you have low muscle mass.  When you lose weight, some of it comes from muscle so it’s important to strength train to maintain muscle mass.  Every pound of lean muscle mass burns about 6 calories per day.  So if you’re struggling to lose those last few pounds, being committed to a strength training program is essential.

3.  Eat less.  To be successful at the weight loss game, it’s important to make dietary changes.  It’s helpful to keep a food journal for a few days and take an honest look at how much food you are consuming.  Of course there are several apps you can use if you prefer.  It really is eye opening when you see it in writing!  Little snacks here and there add up.  You also want to be sure that you are eating a healthy amount to avoid nutrient deficiencies and under fueling.

3 Tips on How to Lose Those Last Few Pounds! Click To Tweet

Losing weight is not easy and requires much effort to be successful.  You need to be dedicated to making permanent changes to attain as well as maintain your weight loss goals.

Small decisions you make each day can either help or hinder your success in moving forward toward your desired result.

Do you think our bodies have a “set point”?

Do you have any tips to add?