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How to Get Fit - Maximize Your Workout!

Maximize Your Workout by Following These 6 Essential Training Principles

get fitSo, you want to get fit. You have decided, finally, to make it a priority—you have the time, the energy, and the desire. You feel, finally, that all the stars are in alignment.  So, you turn to the experts. You type into your search engine: “how to get fit”

And you are instantly overwhelmed.

When it comes to ideas on how to get fit, there exists an absolutely mind-boggling amount of information; a lot of this information is valid and based in sound, legitimate scientific discourse. But, just as much of this information is made up of weird and illogical suppositions, anecdotal evidence, and good ol’ fashioned capitalistic greed. And, as we all know, in the age of the internet, it can seem absolutely impossible to separate the truth from the fiction. Which theories are valid and effective? Which ones will drain your valuable time, energy, and money? The good news is Infofit Educators can help clarify and simplify things for you.

In this article, we have done the work for you: we have slogged through the morass to give you the most essential, effective, heavily-researched, and valid principles of fitness and exercise science. These theories have been repeatedly studied and reproduced and are widely accepted by most scientific and fitness communities. We at Infofit, arm our students and elite personal trainers with these effective “get fit” theories, and it is upon these theories that we stake our reputation (which is excellent, by the way).

Let’s get started and Get Fit!

  1. First, a disclaimer: every body is different

This may seem like a cop-out or, at the very least, an eye-rolling obvious statement. But anyone well-versed in fitness and/or health knows that the conditions that effect change in one population or in one person, will not always be produced in another population or body. This is why your 22-year old boyfriend can inhale a personal meat lovers pizza every day and still sport a set of abs as rock-hard and ridged and an abacus, and you, on the other hand, haven’t so much as nibbled on a pizza-flavoured Dorito in over a year, and your stomach has all the fluffiness and softness as one of those Royale toilet paper kittens.

So, take this rule, as a caveat. Fitness is not about working against your body; it is about knowing your body and working with it to gently tease it to change.  So many people want to contort their bodies into a shape or size that, honestly, is not possible with their genetic programming. You won’t get very far, very fast if you’re constantly battling your own biology. Besides being physically impossible and unsustainable, you’re setting up a condition for yourself that will very quickly drain you of your energy and motivation—and which may actually damage your body in the long-term.

So, how do you proceed to get fit, knowing that your body and its needs are special and unique? Well, you may want to consider a personal trainer; if he or she is any good, an elite personal trainer will be able to a) take into account your fitness objectives, and b) recognize and accommodate for your specific needs, lifestyle, and genetic baseline. That being said, we know that a personal trainer isn’t in the cards for everyone. So, read on, my friend, and find out how to maximize your workout and get fit!

  1. The Principle of Overload: You must challenge yourself

If you were looking for a way to get fit and build muscle without having to actually get off the couch, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Years of research across myriad populations have widely concluded that in order to gain fitness and build strength—and this includes both the cardiovascular and the muscular systems—a stress must be present. Basically, you have to give your body a reason to become stronger, or faster, or more flexible. And we can safely promise that you won’t find that reason sitting in front of your TV. That being said, there are methods for introducing new stressors upon your body that will decrease your risk for injury and maximize your results.

  1. The Principle of Progression

Any personal trainer worth his or her salt knows to design an exercise program that progresses slowly; oftentimes, this means resisting the client who demands immediate and extreme intensity because he or she thinks that this will lead to faster and more radical results. Usually, this kind of extreme effort, which is not in line with the client’s actual fitness levels or skill, leads to injury and/or burnout. For a weight-training program specifically, intensity can be increased by a) increasing the workload, b) increasing the repetitions and sets, or c) decreasing the rest time between reps and sets. We at Infofit recommend increasing the intensity first by increasing the reps performed (e.g. shooting for one rep more than you did last week on your first set), then adding on another set a week or two later.  Also, it is imperative that only one of these variables be changed at a time; don’t increase your weight and decrease your rest at the same time, for example.

  1. Recovery is essential

Related to the principle of progression, is the principle of recovery. In order for adaptation and gains in strength to occur, one must take adequate rest; rest occurs between reps, between sets, and between workouts. Believe it or not, many dedicated exercisers often have a difficult time with rest; once improvements in fitness are observed—whether those improvements be in strength, size, speed, or stamina–it can be tempting to “amp up” the intensity, operating with the logic that greater intensity = greater gains. This is often not true. Absolutely essential to growth is what fitness experts refer to as the anabolic phase; the anabolic phase is the period following the breakdown of muscle and nutrients (AKA your workout)–the catabolic phase. Actual growth and improvements occur in the anabolic phase, so it’s absolutely essential that you maximize this period by eating nutrient-rich foods (most importantly, protein!) and getting lots of quality sleep to repair your muscles and replenish your energy for the next workout!

  1. Use it or lose it

You have likely heard of the phenomenon of atrophy; atrophy is the breakdown of a muscle or organ due to disuse or disease. Atrophy is what happens when you break your arm and you remove the cast two months down the road to find your arm half its original size and strength. Atrophy also occurs once you reach a certain age (some experts guess as early as 30) and your disused muscles begin to lose mass and strength—albeit, at a much slower rate than when you break your arm (or if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in a coma). And when a person stops training, the loss of the benefits of exercise occur at a faster rate than it took to achieve them—drops in fitness have been observed to occur after as little as 10-14 days of inactivity (which is why it’s important to decrease your risk of injury and burnout by progressing slowly!). The good news is that with proper exercise and nutrition, you can achieve hypertrophy—the building of muscle size and strength—well into old age.

  1. Enjoy your workout!

This is perhaps the most important—and most understated—principle of exercise; basically, in order to observe the benefits of exercise, you have to do it continuously, and in order to do this, you have to enjoy it! Or, at the very least, you have to not hate doing it. Recently, it has been widely accepted by psychologists that each person is supplied with a ‘budget’ of willpower every day, so if you are daily having to force yourself to work out, and thus depleting your precious stores of willpower, it will be pretty much impossible to maintain a regular and effective exercise regimen. This is where a personal trainer can come in handy: he or she can design an enjoyable and effective workout program for you, while also providing the necessary motivation that you may require, at least at the beginning. There are so many ways to move your body, so, at the very least, do something that you can tolerate for a long period of time!

If you are interested in going in more depth with exercise science—or just looking to get fit and maximize your own gains—Infofit provides all of the knowledge and training necessary to create your own perfect, personalized workout and exercise programs. Through Infofit, you will learn the foundations of exercise science, such as basic anatomy, exercise physiology, exercise analysis, exercise safety, and the fundamental principles of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training. We will also educate you on the practice of fitness training, including performing physical assessments, a comprehensive health screening, and a heart disease risk profile; and, of course, we will show you how to develop the most safe and effective exercise programs for yourself and others!

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Infofit is in compliance with the WorkSafe BC and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders. Personal Training Certification Courses are in person. Please visit Standards of Safety for more information.