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Resting and circuit training

No one has time for longer workout sessions, especially now that schools are about to open. Homework, social activities, and family time are equally important. How can you optimize the time you spend at the gym?

Instead of taking a minute to rest between sets of strength training, do some cardio. You have plenty of options, such as jogging in place, doing step-ups, or jumping rope. Do this "flash" cardio for a minute between sets and then move on to the next strength training exercise. 

The outcome: You will burn more calories during and after your workout.




Maintaining your energy

If you have been doing a lot of cardio, you must feel depleted of energy and tired. You may easily hit a plateau as well. In order to move forward, try to reduce your cardio to half the time and substitute with weight training instead. Fuel your body with oatmeal before you hit the gym and intensify your weight training session. Soon you will feel your energy levels up again and your weight loss will be significant as well.



Sore muscles

You began a weight training program with great enthusiasm and now your muscles are extremely sore. What's next? Keep going with a different type of exercise but certainly do not let the muscle soreness discourage you from exercising. Take it easy while keeping consistent with your fitness regime.

To understand what creates muscle soreness and what that means for your body ready this article and keep in mind that "[a]nyone can get cramps or DOMS, from weekend warriors to elite athletes," according to experts. "The muscle discomfort is simply a symptom of using your muscles and placing stresses on them that are leading to adaptations to make them stronger and better able to perform the task the next time."




Change is good

Feeling a little stuck with your exercise routine? Changing is easier than you think. Instead of repeating your old cardio routine begin with a brief and intense weight training session. This would imply that you know how to use the weight machines or free weights properly. If you don't, find a floor attendant at your gym and ask them to quickly show you the proper technique.

Miss your cardio? Add an interval session right after you finish with your weights. You will feel more energetic and time will go by quickly.




Planning before Doing


As with everything else in life, being fit requires a little bit of energy even before stepping into a gym. This is because you need to plan how you are going to incorporate exercise into your life—which most probably is very busy already. If you keep postponing the planning stage, then perhaps you don’t really want to be fit, so you may as well move on to something else.

If you are committed to achieving a greater level of fitness you need to consider the following points:

You decide why you want to be fit and how fit you want to be

You also need to be honest with yourself and clarify for yourself whether you really want to get more involved with exercise.

You need to give this decision some sort of a rating compared to your other priorities in life. How important is it for you to be fit?

You need to be aware of your other priorities and their demands on your time and energy. You cannot do too much, all at the same time. Decide which priority is really important, in addition to being fit, and work on one or two priorities at a time.

You need to define the steps that will bring you to a higher level of fitness and you need to commit to those steps.

Finally, find an activity that really makes you happy. Would that be window-shopping with a friend? Or perhaps a chat over the phone with your favorite cousin? How about walking a friend’s dog? How about helping your friend with school homework on your favorite subject? When you decide what that activity is for you, reward yourself with time to enjoy it every time you hit your working out goals.

What should your working out goals be? Most probably one hour of cardiovascular exercise three to four times a week and three half-hour sessions of weight training each week. But we will return to that discussion at a later date. For now, think of what’s important in your life and commit to it.


(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at :

The language of physical training

        While I mainly work out on my own, there was a time when I decided to hire a trainer to learn how to exercise properly with free weights. Before agreeing on our partnership (because it is a partnership), what I thought I would get out of it was skills in proper form when training, since this is so important. In addition, I was hoping to learn a repertory of exercises to rely on when I work out on my own. Even though this was accomplished, I knew by the time our partnership came to an end that having a repertory is not enough by itself. One needs to know how the muscles work and how to challenge them on a regular basis with new movements and a variety of weights. I would like to return to this discussion some other time. For now it suffices to say that what I was expecting to gain by hiring a trainer was only a small percentage of the real value a good trainer brings to the table.

        Lisa, my trainer at Equinox at the time, works as a freelancer now, which is why we stopped working out together. My exercise time is limited to the time I spend at the gym and my schedule does not allow for additional training time with Lisa, which I now consider a luxury. Not that I ever took her for granted. The trainer-client relationship is already difficult because a trainer is a service provider. The service, which is of course physical training instruction, is measurable only up to a certain point. At least 50% of it has to do with the chemistry between the two parties and mainly with the importance the client places on the relationship. For many people this ends up being very complicated because they think that since they pay they are entitled to results for which, alas, they are mainly responsible. No matter how many routines the trainer develops, if the client does not pay attention and if she does not give it all her energy and focus, results will be very slow to materialize.

        My relationship with Lisa was wonderful. If she is reading this entry now I hope she agrees. Admittedly, we had a slow start because when I begin a project I want to know what to expect, what is the overall concept, what are the goals, and what is the strategy to achieve them. I like having the “big picture” first and then break it down to measurable and easy to accomplish tasks. I know that other people prefer taking it minute by minute because the “big picture” is something they cannot fathom. Be that as it may, I felt particularly challenged through my workouts with Lisa and eternally grateful to her for having pushed me to my limits. I felt the same gratitude twice a week and every time we trained together. I particularly felt it when I received a holiday card from her, six months into our partnership, in which she praised me for certain character traits I posses but also motivated me in a most personal way to keep it up.

        You may be wondering what is so special about that. Well, for those who know me it is noticeable that I don’t talk much and certainly not about personal matters, certainly not about myself. During a conversation, I am much more interested in finding out about the other person. One question that comes up therefore is how did Lisa know so much about me? The other issue to consider is that she really worked me very, very hard and even though we were doing weight training my heart rate was so high that I regularly felt out of breath and not able to keep up with any sort of lengthy conversation. This is when I realized that exercise is a form of language and that the way we perform it reveals a lot about our personality and our point of view. I also realized that Lisa was a keen observer of her clients as any good trainer should be and fluent in the language of exercise. I benefited tremendously from this relationship both on a technical level in perfecting my routine and an emotional one in connecting with my own body and challenging myself through my own self-discovery.

Post by Thomai Serdari