Fun Fitness Fridays #9

Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, September 05, 2008

Happy September everyone :) I hope all you school kids are having fun in school, (it's rush week right?) and all the moms and days are enjoying having someone else babysit the little ones for a few hours. For those of you without school or kids... well... I guess we can do whatever we want ALL the time, right?

I'm glad no one spilled coffee on themselves while trying out different muscle contractions. I read those comments and thought they were great. I'm very happy so many of you so interested, it's very, very cool. So let's move forward towards what you should be doing in the gym, if you choose to lift weights, or perhaps want to get started. If you need help on rep ranges, and warm up info, just look into last week.

So you walk into the gym... and there's bright lights, some grandma in the corner wearing a headband, and a 16 year old flexing his arms in the mirror. What do you do? That's easy... do a 5 min warm up, and you get down to business. You become the Donald Trump of muscle building.

If you are new to weight lifting (which is what I'm going to assume), I would split your body training into upper and lower "splits" as we call them. So one day is an upper day, and the next is a lower day. With this approach, we can keep our workouts short and sweet, which is good for a number of reasons:
  1. It's much easier to find 45-60 minutes of free time in your schedule
  2. Staying focused beyond this time frame can be difficult
  3. Cortisol (a stress hormone) has been shown to become mass produced after 60 minutes of intense activity (this includes weight training)

The problem with cortisol is that it has both helpful and harmful effects. Without going too much in depth (so no one goes to sleep on me :) just know that having too much can reduce you immune system response, and cause catabolism... which means burning muscle tissue for energy.

So bascially we want to keep our workouts short, intense, and fun... so we can get back home, eat some delicious food (so we can heal and recover), and get back to our awesome, party time lives. In order to do this... we need to get as much exercise bang for our buck as we can.

Wait... what do you mean? You mean like lifting money?

No, I mean like doing movements that involve a number of muscles being used at the same time. If you can do an exercise that works both the butt and quadriceps (the front of your thighs) at the same time, that saves you time, rather than doing both seperately. By stimulating the most muscle at once, we do a bunch of cool things... like release more growth hormones, cause more microtears, increase your overall heartrate and conditioning, and generally get stronger and feel better. We call these "Compound Exercises". They involve more than one muscle group.

Now, feel free to check out for a quick anatomy lesson if you want... just be careful that the pictures are of super big dudes and dudettes :) Don't be scared. If you are a beginner, I would maybe start with some machines, because honestly, there's less of a chance of injury and they are easier movements to perform. The reason behind this is because until you learn how, you really don't know how to contract a muscle. Some people don't know how to flex a muscle, because their brains have never made a conscious pathway to do just that. This is not a bad thing, it's just something your brain needs to learn how to do. A machine teaches this fairly easily, and from there, we can learn how to move onto more complex, more functional type movements. I'll give you some beginner and advanced exercises to try:

For Lower Body: Beginner/Advanced
-Leg Curl Machine / Advanced can do these too

For Upper Body:
-Seated Row or Dumbell Row

These are just examples, and by all means, check out that site for any other exercise questions that you might have. They have videos and tons of cool tips to show you how to do exercises correctly. Remember to lift a weight in your desired range, which in most cases, would be between 8-10 repetitions... so that those last ones are really difficult, but you can still finish them. I want to stress this, because pushing EVERY set to failure may tire out your Central Nervous System, which takes a longer period of time to recover than your muscle.

Shoot for 3 sets for each exercise, and rest for about 90 seconds between each set. I like to choose 90 seconds because it keeps you focused, and if you've ever timed 90 seconds, it actually goes by very quick... it'll keep you warmed up and ready to go :) I would try and workout 3 or 4 times a week if your schedule allows, so each split is hit about twice every 7 -10 days. I think I mentioned working out MWF or TRSat (R meaning Thurs). Listen to your body, and if you feel sore, that's a sign you are healing... and take some more time off to rest.

That's going to be it for today. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you are further confused about any weight training. (Even though I hope not). I'm more than happy to field any questions you have ever heard. Next week I'll talk more about training and get into more food related stuff, including workout eats and nutrition... this IS a FOOD blog after all. Oh, and please root for the JETS this weekend... I haven't been this excited since um, last football season. Or the time I found cool blogging friends, or... actually I'm simple to amuse :)

Comments (25)

Ah yes, school is definitely back in session.

Hooray for strength-training information!! Love it.

Have a fabulous weekend, Adam!

I have to admit that you are getting me quite interested in working out. Maybe I'll actually go to the gym that I already pay for at school. It gets a little embarassing though when I'm sandwiched between two people who can walk the speed I run.

Oh if I listened to my body I would not go to the gym! Lol! I'm glad I don't have to think about what to do, in my gym the PTs come included, so that was very helpfull when I started. Otherwise I would have been lost when I started (didn't know you then)...
Hope you have a great weekend. Wanna a cookie?

You know this week was crazy busy for me and I don't even have kids!!
I can't wait for the abs workout, as I am so curious for the best moves for lower abs, for that 'pooch' us women get. Love the South Park pic! Too funny.
Can I say that I hate lunges? When you have 36 inch legs, lunges are a bitch to do (yes, I'm tall, 5'11"). I dread them.

Such good info! Now that the kiddos are back in school, my butt is back in the gym. This gets me motivated because I really need to lift more. And when I lift more, I get to eat more...big benefit!
And what college team do you follow, if any?

Ooo I like the new banner! Also, you won an award

Good advise about leaving the old grandma (me) in the headband alone when working out. I love your Fitness Fridays. But I think I would end up in the hospital. :)
Buffalo, huh? Well, we expect the Longhorns to cream the Miners too, but you got to be loyal to your school, right? It's just a game. It's meant to entertain. And that's all that's going to happen until Coach Price does something about the defense!!! Thanks for stopping by Adam.

I've been doing some kind of exercise or another for the past 14 years, but you make it sound so easy and fun that I want to try something new tomorrow. Another great FFF :)

Enjoy your Jets. I'm going to root for the Jets from now on.

Good information. I'd like to lift more weights and bulk up.

Thank you so much for the great tips! Reading your post reminded me anew of many of the reasons I love weight training - thank you for the renewed enthusiasm!

LOL, 'Grandma in the corner'!

Once again, excellent post, Adam.

Holy Early Riser Alert Batman! Did you seriously wake up that early on a Sunday Morning to blog hop?! I knew you had to be finding the time somewhere between work {I assume} and school and the fun carefree life of a singleton {hey, don't rub it in about the kids thing! -you'll get yours someday my pretty, I assure you!}

More great info, this is great! Isn't it amazing how you have to balance it so well between getting too much and not enough? It makes it so intimidating when you don't know much about all of this stuff -so again, thanks for taking the time to help us along!

Great post and I love the new image at the top of your site! Lifting until failure always struck me as a crazy notion.

I'm seeing so many people who are aging getting varying degrees of osteo. The whole strength training is a must - particularly for women reaching menopause.

I'm loving the Compound Exercises concept - I'm a woman, so multitasking is second nature. I'm hoping next week involves lower abs (HINT!) or glutes (HINT HINT!).

great info! I love working out.I have to because I bake so much. Good luck with your jets. I am cheering for da bears!

Adam, so nice information!! Many thanks, xxGloria

Happy September to you too. :) I've given you an award. Come by my blog to get it.

jets, really? i think it's just farve i'm annoyed at. he shouldn't be anything but a packer. and he should've either retired or not.

I so need to get off my arse this week and do some cardio and weights. This food blog business is dangerous for the figure. Thanks for the great post Adam - you have totally motivated me!

Good to know about Cortisol, I had no idea...
Thanks for the great info Adam and uhm, hope the Jets won :)

Hi Adam,
Just wanted to let you know that i referred to your blog in my post today. Thanks!

I had such a good gym routine going with my friend last week, but since then I've taken 5 days of healing and now I can't get back on track, haha! Hopefully I'll start again tomorrow :)

oh yeah baby! this is solid goodness...

My walking has increased my lung capacity, but that's about it. I still look like crap. How about I need to start doing some kind of weights? I know I do. My arms look like...well, I don't want to provide you with any visuals, but...blechhh. Thanks for all of these good tips.