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    What is your safest and most exciting maximum ?

    Posted on 10th January 2013 by Dan
      Something I seem to have been talking to people a lot about recently are the variables that go into how your body responds to exercise and how each individual reacts to the same stimulus.   Some key variables would be Goal: Weight loss, muscle gain, athletic performance or general health and wellness ? Mode: What exercises are you doing Set Intensity: How close to your maxcimum is each set of exercises Rest between sets: This one is obvious right Volume of exercise: Both in the session and across the week. Frequency: How often do we exercise (Lifestyle, work and time available often dictate) Food: Quamtity, quality, variety, frequency, portions Sleep: Again fairly obvious – are you sleeping well Toxins: Most relevant is – are you out on the lash pretty often? Recovery: Food, sleep, stress, and pro-active recovery strategies such as days dedicated only to warming up, mobilising and stretching. Age, Hormonal State: The above variables might need adjusting according to the exercisors age. This is largely due to hormones and rate of recovery – but any hormone treatments, or states such as pregnancy, menopause – constant high levels of stress, or constant lack of sleep are also relevant.   Genetics: Your own personal response to exercise   When we make a plan it’s fair to say that each individual has a different list of the above.   The goal basically sets what sort of exercises we want to do, but after that, how many times a week you can reasonably be expected to make time for exercise, age and opportunity for recovery will start to dictate the actual approach.   Once we get under way with a good plan, there are a lot of things for your trainer to keep an eye on if we are going to have successful outcome. Most importantly the only options available to us are those with an acceptable level of risk – that means if you can’t make time to be pro-active about recovery, then we will have to include some of that in our hour or stay shy of your maximal performance.   We want you to work at your safe maximum all the time – and as often as possible, eat well and recover well. You are are largely in control of how hard and how often that actually is.   Lets imagine that your desired result is at the centre of a large block of stone and you are hitting it with a pick everytime you exercise.You could reach the triumph at the centre quicker by hitting it more often, or harder or both more often and harder.   Too little exercise that is too mild will still get you somewhere eventually and it will be a lot closer than if you do nothing – but if you want to reach the triumph in the centre of the block in 12 weeks then hitting it often enough is going to be important and so is hitting it hard enough.   The body has a level of tolerance to exercise – it can work out at a more gentle level more often and remain safe, or workout hard with adequate recovery. Every individual is going to have a different tolerance for how hard they can hit it, and how often.   What’s most important to know is how hard or often is too hard and too often – because all exercise carries risk, so we don’t want to be recklessly increasing that risk – ie you want to chip away and reveal the triumph as quickly as possible but it’s essential not to break the pick when you’re halfway there.   Its easy to focus on the workout, but you’re only looking at half the picture if you’re not looking at the recovery.   Assuming all is well, some clients retain muscle tension more than others, or require more/less/different food for the same result. Part of this is genetics but a lot is lifestyle, stress at work, how you sleep whether you spend your day hunched over a laptop or behind a wheel, or on you feet.   Basically your training plan takes something that is hard to you now and makes it easier and easier as you become fitter and stronger, once its easy you can do it more often and maybe a bit more hard again and recover well enough to continue with effective and regular strikes at the rock face. Eventually what used to be dangerous to do becomes very safe and you get to chop into the stone and pull out your result with ever increasing effectiveness   And what dictates how hard, how often and in what way you should hit the block are all the variables at the bottom of the list above – age, sleep, food, pro-active recovery, stress, lifestyle.   Some of that tolerance is genetic but lot’s is about whether you sit behind the wheel of a car most the day, sleep well, eat well or booze a little or a lot.   Our trainers will be taking all of the above into account when they lead your overall plan and take your session. Not everyone has the opportunity for great rest and recovery or regular low intensity workouts where they are pro-active with recovery – if that’s you and your lifestyle means you want to get the most out of the little time you are able to make for exercise, it’s even more important that your PT is professional enough to be considering all the variables when deciding if you should be doing more or less or differently.   Your body doesn’t care about your job, or how little time you have to sleep well, eat right etc – so it’s important to have a PT that can help you manage those things, and understands what your safest and most exciting maximum is.          

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