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Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Overload Principle

This is probably the most important principle of exercise and training. Simply stated, the Overload Principle means that the body will adapt to the stresses placed upon it. The more you do, the more you are capable of doing.  This is how all the training adaptations occur in exercise and training.  The human body is an amazing machine. When you stress the body through lifting a weight that the body is unaccustomed to lifting, the body will react by causing physiologic changes to be able to handle that stress the next time it occurs.  This concept is similar in cardiovascular training.  If you ask the heart, lungs and endurance muscles to do work not previously done, it will make changes to the body to be able to handle that task better the next time. This is how people get stronger, bigger, faster and increase their physical fitness level.

When you are working out, you want to strive to somehow increase the workload you are doing above what you did on your previous workout so you have overloaded your body to create a training adaptation.  This increase in workout stress can be a very small increase, as many small increases over time will eventually be a large increase or adaptation.

The stress placed upon the body in a workout relates to numerous factors such as:

  • Amount of Time to Accomplish the Workout
  • Amount of Force Generated During the Workout
  • Amount of Total Workload in a Training Session

Some ways to increase the workload of a training session over a previous workout session include:

Decrease Workout Time

If you perform the same exact workout on two days, but on one day it took less time, you have increased the workload on the day that it took less time for the workout.  This is due to the fact that time is a component of determining workload, therefore; you have increased the intensity of the workout by decreasing the amount of time to complete it.

Increase Force Generated During an Exercise

This can be as simple as adding more weight or resistance to an exercise or to the body as in cycling, running or stair climbing. Adding just a small increase in weight, resistance or incline, whenever possible, to an exercise will soon accumulate to large gains in workload performed. Other methods to increase force include performing exercises with accelerating speed and a greater range of motion.

Increase Total Workload

Some examples of increasing a training session workload include doing more exercises, doing more sets, going farther or going faster. Some of these benefits can be offset by a corresponding substantial increase in time to perform the increased workload as time is a component in work performed. The goal is to increase work while decreasing time to a point that determines a maximum workload for a training session.   This provides for maximum intensity and efficient, productive training.

Apply these fundamental principles to your training and you will feel the difference…… quickly.

Enjoy your training

StefanIndoor Boot Camp

Boot Camp - Interval Training

Boot Camp - Interval Training

Effects of Training on EPOC

On completion of any cardiovascular exercise or weight training, the body will continue requiring oxygen at an elevated  rate compared to before the exercise began.  This sustained oxygen consumption is known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).  This has originally been referred to as an oxygen debt.  From research it seems this hypothesis was first deduced in 1922. They theorized that the body needed to replace the oxygen used by the working muscles during mild to intense bouts of exercise.  However more recently, researchers have used the term EPOC to describe several different events that occur within the body as it returns itself to rest.

As the body starts to restore itself to its pre-exercise state, consuming oxygen at an elevated rate, the rate of energy expenditure is also elevated, meaning calorific burn is also higher.

The following occurs during EPOC:
1) Replenishment of Energy Resources:  Replenishment occurs for the immediate energy source, known as the phosphagen system, which is comprised of creatine phosphate and ATP (adenosine triphosphate).   In addition, lactate which is a molecule that is produced during more intense exercise is being converted to pyruvate for fuel utilization.  The body is also restoring the muscle glycogen that has been used during the exercise session.
2) Re-oxygenation of Blood and Restoration of Circulatory Hormones: During exercise, large amounts of oxygen is utilised to break down food stuffs for energy, therefore the body continues to expend energy after exercise to re-oxygenate the blood.  During the post-exercise period, the body restores the levels of circulatory hormones, which increased during exercise, back to normal levels.
3) Decrease in Body Temperature: As energy substrates are removed from the exercising muscle tissues of the body, heat is produced and the body must expend energy to return to the normal core body temperature.
4) Return to normal Heart and Breathing Rate: Energy expenditure is greatly elevated as the body rapidly returns to a normal Breathing and Heart rate.

Weight Management and EPOC
Due to the body continuing to expend energy after exercise, EPOC has an essential role to play when considering an exercise program devised for weight management or loss. It seems researchers are interested in the effect different forms of exercise have on EPOC.
The evidence suggests that a high-intensity, interval type training session has an increased effect on EPOC.  It also seems to appear from research that resistance or strength based training produces greater EPOC responses than steady state aerobic exercise. The research suggests that high-intensity resistance exercise alters the body’s homeostasis to a greater degree than aerobic exercise.  The result is a greater energy requirement after exercise to restore the body’s systems to normal.

Application of Training:

Hill Image

Irrespective of your type of sport or exercise activity, all participants should utilise high intensity / short duration training as a means of either maintaining weight or as a practical weight loss component.  It would be inappropriate for a beginner to begin such activity but when guided by a fitness professional, research suggests this will have a positive influence upon any individual.

Enjoy your training

Stefan Taylor

stefantaylorfitness

It helps when it's in my genes

It helps when it's in my genes

  • As a Personal Trainer I am constantly working out using functionl movements for strength gains but occasionally I go through a session isolating a body part I feel might need attention.  I generally have the mind set that if you utilise multiple body parts that you have a greater metabolic gain as a result ie Squat/Shoulder Press combination.  As the leg muscle are the largest in the body they will burn greater calories and result in a greater EPOC.

I have gone through a chest session today using PowerBlock dumbells.

Todays’ chest session started 30mins before any exercise with 2 scoops of N.O.Explode in 300ml of cold water.

Main Part:  Warm-Up 2 x 20  reps incline Dumbell Press – 15kg

Incline Press:

1 x 15 reps – 20kg

1 x 12 reps – 22.5kg

1 x 10 reps – 25kg

Flat Bench Press:

1 x 15 reps – 20kg

1 x 12 reps – 22.5kg

1 x 10 reps – 25kg

Incline Flys:

1 x 15 reps – 11.5kg

1 x 12 reps – 13.5kg

1 x 10 reps – 15kg

Wide Arm Press – Ups: 3 x 20 reps with hands on dumbells to increase ROM.

Dips: 3 x 15 reps with minimum of 90 degree elbow flexion and good posture.

While training slowly consuming 44gram  of Syntha-6 Protein powder in 300ml of water.  Post training full stretch of all essential upper body muscle components with 500ml of water for hydration.

I always enjoy a good quality isolation muscle group work out with dumbells as it challenges all of the stabilizers and fixators, around the shoulder on this occassion as well as your proprioception, which you tend not to get from fixed resistance machines.

Enjoy your training

Strength Interval

Strength Interval at Boot Camp

Fitness Boot Camp

New 4 week cycle of Boot Camps, now with a 50/50 focus on functional body weight strength and Cardio.  Strength exercises included Jump Squats, Squat Press, Pyramids and The Plank and with the Dynamic Side Steps with Lunges and 15m Sprints with jog recovery making up the Cardio Phase.

All Boot Campers completed 3 full circuits of the session working for 40 – 45 secs per exercise station.

The gains from this session are as a result of each person working above the 75% effort level, their EPOC (excess post-exercise consumption) values would have been elevated thus burning a greater amount of calories during the first hour post exercise.  The functional combination of exercise ie. a Squat with a Shoulder Press, helps develop a greater level of co-ordination between upper and lower limbs and promotes total body strength.

Week 2 will follow similar functional and Cardio inclusions.

Enjoy your Boot Camp

Stefan Taylor

stefantaylorfitness

Hot and cold showers – Don’t underestimate their effectiveness

You may think including any sort of cold water into your morning shower routine is a little bit crazy but this may actually help you improve neural function, improve internal health and may even become enjoyable.  Although all you bath lovers may chuckle to yourselves as you relax in the warmth, the health benefits of hot / cold showering may be worth giving it a go next time.

When your body gets hot under a shower, oxygenated blood rushes to the skin and feeds it, if you then immediately put on the cold, the blood rushes to the internal organs.  You will feel your skin temperature fall but what is happening is that your blood is flushing out your skin and leaving it oxygenated.  Then again turn to a hot shower and blood rushes to your skin from your internal organs acting like a flush. The optimum is 5 or 6 alternate hot and cold showers.

You may want to work up to this process by ending your shower with 30 secs – 1 minute cold then back to warm before you get out, this way you can progress up to the above alternating patterns.  As we are moving towards the colder months we all like to have a little extra warmth and warm showers do feel good, particularly after your Boot Camp Session.

Here are some benefits that you gain by incorporating a cold shower into your shower routine:

1. Better Circulation
Warm water makes the blood rush to your skin and cool water makes the blood rush to your organs.  Switching between hot and cold water, triggers better circulation in your blood by forcing the blood to move. The ideal practice would be to switch 5 – 6 times between hot and cold water but merely ending the shower with cold water does help with circulation, so you’ll need to work up to it gradually.   Why should you worry about having good circulation?  Well, it prevents such problems as hypertension, hardening of the arteries, and the appearance of varicose veins. Good circulation improves the performance of your body systems and helps you look and feel better.

2. Better looking skin
When you shower with warm water, it opens up your pores. Then you wash and this cleans up your pores. That’s all good. When you end, it would be best to close your pores and cold water does just that. It’s good to close your pores after you are all cleaned up because it will prevent the pores from being easily clogged by dirt and oil, which may cause skin imperfections such as acne for example.  Another benefit is that cold water makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes (where skin is at its thinnest) and this provides you with a young, healthy glow.

3.  Healthier hair
Cold water makes your hair look healthier and shinier. As a matter of fact, cool air makes your hair shinier too.  What the cold water does is that it closes the cuticle which makes the hair stronger and prevents dirt from easily accumulating within your scalp.  Basically the same principle with how it closes the pores of your skin as mentioned above.  Stronger hair of course prevents hair from being easily pulled out when you are combing and it helps in slowing down overall hair loss.  For further advice on healthy hair go to gavintaylorhair.com

Ending your shower with cold water clearly has its advantages.  I know this is something that can be very difficult for many people to do, the key is to not torture yourself on your first attempt as with a structured fitness program you should graduate your new healthy lifestyle addition.  Start with a level of cold you can deal with and slowly make it colder after each shower you will be on your way to making a habit out of it and enjoy the benefits that this practice can bring you.

Please note: There is some evidence to say Cold showers should not be taken during a woman’s menstrual cycle and it may be too much for the reproductive system during such time and a lukewarm shower is recommended.

Also if you have any form of circulatory dysfunction you should use caution when going through any such process.

Enjoy your new training in the shower

Stefan Taylor

stefantaylorfitness

A Personal Trainers Essentials

A Personal Trainers Essentials

Do I Really Need to Exercise – Where do I start?

Starting an exercise regime can be difficult, in terms of saying to yourself, have I got time? What can I do? Will I be able to cope? But these are questions that can easily be answered if you apply some simple steps to try to ensure you are in a positive frame of mind about what your goals are and that they are achievable for you at this point.  Exercise shouldn’t be a reminder of taking part in PE at school, which for some may not have been a pleasant experience, it should be enjoyable, social and rewarding and you may well surprise yourself in terms of what you can achieve, many people of all ages and experience levels find themselves becoming healthier, fitter and having increased confidence as a result.

Why not try following the following steps to make a change to your life today:

  1. Start Small
    Exercise is not an all or nothing endeavour, it’s definitely a continuum. Keep in mind that a little is better than none and you can do something today, so don’t worry about what you will do next month as this perspective is hard for anyone who expects a lot from themselves and sets long-term fitness goals. Don’t expect results overnight but do expect to take small steps every day.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Your exercise program doesn’t need to be elaborate, it doesn’t require you to join a gym or sweat for an hour every day, simply look at your current routine and you may discover you already walk 30 minutes at a time taking the dog for a walk or walking to the shop for groceries, this is all exercise. You can use that as a jumpstart and add another 5 minutes or walk at a faster pace, start from where you are.
  3. Surround Yourself with Good Role Models
    If none your friends currently exercise, odds are you will have a hard time becoming active.  By no means does it mean stopping spending time with your friends but take time to chat with people who already exercise regularly or ask if they have any books or magazines which are good for beginners or know of any classes or clubs which may suit your needs.  If you surround yourself with more positivity about exercise, it will be easy for you to stay active as well. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing if you use it in positive ways.
  4. Set Weekly Goals
    Check in with yourself each week by setting attainable, yet realistic goals. Try to set a plan to go faster, farther or longer with your routine. You can even set nutrition goals which can be monitored by simply writing down all you eat and drink during the day, this is an extremely good way of changing mind sets when it comes to food and drink. Your goal can be as simple as taking a daily 15 minute walk or as intense as completing your first marathon. Only you know what is realistic for you.
  5. Try Something New
    If you have tried a walking program and always drop out after a few weeks, don’t worry, it may not be the exercise you can’t stick with but the type of exercise. You may need to try a variety of activities before you find one that you really like and want to do long-term.  Sign up for stefan taylor fitness Boot Camp or try running or biking instead of walking, go with others or go alone, try exercising at different times of the day. Keep your options open and find exercise you enjoy so you never view exercise as a chore. It should be fun and fulfilling.
  6. Find an Exercise Buddy
    Even if this person doesn’t exercise with you; let someone know of your plans and goals to help support your efforts. Making yourself accountable to another is a great way to keep you honest about your success and challenges with starting a new exercise program.
  7. Make Exercise a Priority
    If your exercise plans and goals are at the bottom of your priority list, you will never reach them.  You have to believe that this is important enough to make it happen, dedicate time to giving exercise a positive priority. Take a serious look at your words, desires and behaviour. Do you always talk about wanting to get active, but never actually do anything about it? If so, you are only going to continue the cycle.  Be honest with yourself about what you really want and how much you are willing to work to make it happen and you’ll be surprised how easy it falls into place once you put your energy into action.

Simply by reading through these 7 tips to creating a healthier you, you have already made the very first important step to making the changes to your lifestyle.   You may find that you have already started to apply some of these simple tips but now can apply the remainder to give you that kick start you may need.  There are many people in Quorn who share similar interests, why not share exercise as a new interest.

Enjoy your training

Stefan Taylor

stefantaylorfitness