If you’re on a mission to get stronger, focus more on muscle fatigue than dumbbell weight, new research in the Journal of Applied Physiology says. Whether exercisers lifted heavy weights for eight to 12 reps or lighter ones for 20 to 25 reps, as long as they hit the point of muscle exhaustion each set, they had about the same strength gains over 12 weeks.
Since both groups maxed out their muscles, regardless of the amount of weight they lifted, they used all their muscle fibres, says study author Sara Oikawa, which is key to building strength. Whichever weights you choose, do reps until you can’t go one more with proper form.
25% The amount of Singaporeans who consume sports drinks during a workout, according to the Herbalife Asia Pacific Sports Nutrition Study.
Herbalife nutritionist Irene Cheng advises those who engage in intense physical activity to fuel up with carbohydrate-containing sports drinks before and during their workouts, for optimal energy and hydration levels. Try the acai berry-flavoured Herbalife CR7 Drive Sports Drink. It has a good mix of carbohydrate, electrolytes plus vitamin B12 to provide the energy you need during a hardcore session. Each serving contains 51 calories. Available at www.herbalife.com.sg at $67.89 for 60 servings.
" Any tips to turn me into a morning-workout person?"- ADRIANNA, 24.
Consistency and simplicity can help you change your circadian rhythm. Set your alarm for eight minutes earlier than usual. Use that time to stretch and do ab moves. “This won’t impede on your day, and it will make you feel better, not more tired,” says Jeff Bernard, the lead exercise physiologist with Northwestern Executive Health in Chicago.
“It’s key to show your body that it will feel good when you move in the morning,” he says. Do this for two to three weeks, then set your alarm for a few minutes earlier and add in a couple of minutes of body-weight exercises. Stick with this quickie for two to three weeks (most studies show it takes six weeks to change a behaviour).
During this time, keep up your usual workout schedule. “You’re not breaking down tissue or challenging yourself; you’re just revving your engine,” Jeff says. Do this and you’ll be much more capable of getting your mind into the idea of putting your body through a more vigorous morning workout.
“Why do I feel bloated after I exercise?” – RACHEL, 23.
It may be because you were actually sucking wind – bloating is typically a result of trapped gas. “If you’re breathing through your mouth while you work out, you can swallow air, which can then become trapped in your GI tract and make you bloated,” says Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. Be conscious of gasping and try to control it, she says.
Another cause could be that you guzzled something too salty or sugary before or during your reps, which caused you to retain fluid or produce gas. “Sports drinks with too much salt can make you hold on to more fluid that could cause you to bloat,” Lisa says. The fix is easy: Stick with 90ml to 240ml of water every 15 minutes (you need the added electrolytes of a sports drink only if you’re pushing it hard for more than an hour).
Jaclyn Emerick is a certified personal trainer, spinning and kettlebell instructor, and sports and exercise nutrition coach.
We’re not suggesting power lifting and sprinting Monday through Sunday, but couching it for two days a week won’t do your body many favours. Instead, make it your new rule to move a little everyday. Your motivation and shape will reach new levels. Here’s how to work it all in.
REST A FEW MUSCLES
Devote two or three alternate days a week to intense training. Know what muscles your workout is hammering the hardest, and make sure that whatever you do the next day leaves them mostly alone. For example, if you did a WOD with back squats, you could swim the next day. If you went for a long run, try yoga.
RECOUP ON THE GO
Low-intensity exercise can actually help your body repair, thanks to increased blood flow to damaged muscles. Turn your rest day from a Netflix binge into an easy, low-intensity session with something like a short, comfortable jog or a slow 30-minute bike ride to brunch.
BE A YES WOMAN
You need to have some consistency in your workout routine to lose weight and build muscle, but try dedicating one or two days a week to random acts of fitness fun so you don’t hit a body or boredom plateau. Work on your tennis rally with a friend, sign up for a group class or intramural sport you’ve never taken, or go for a walk or hike somewhere new. Anything that gets your booty out of your front door counts.
TEXT: ESTELLE LOW & JACLYN EMERICK MAIN PHOTOS: 123RF.COM.