Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Fitness and Exercise 101

By Nicole Yamanaka on Sep 13 2010 • Filed under Health

I don’t need to preach to the choir about having limited time (and often budget) when you’re a student. And as an entrepreneur, not only are you busy running your business, but you’re probably constantly upgrading your skills in classes, conferences and seminars.

If you’re attempting to tackle the subject of health for the first time and add a fitness routine to your repertoire, fear not, it doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated. Sure, there are hundreds of books, websites and personal trainers preaching all sorts of diets, exercise trends and new research, but let’s simplify the process. I bring you “Fitness and Exercise 101.” Here is a sample of some popular terms that you will encounter.

Reps: Short for “repetition,” it refers to the number of times you will perform the movement, like a bicep curl.

Sets: Refers to a series of movements in your exercise regime. For example, you might be asked to do three sets of your exercises, consisting of squats, bicep curls and ab crunches.

Circuit Training: A style of workout in which breaks in between each exercise are removed. You will move from one exercise to the next, to the next, to the next (etc.) without taking a break until the very end. At the end of that set, you can take a break, then repeat all the exercises again from the start.

Cross Training: Often recommended to prevent boredom and break through plateaus. When someone says you should “cross train,” literally they are saying you should change up your routine by “crossing a variety of training styles.” This summer, I ran a boot camp for experienced runners (running would be classified as a repetitive endurance activity). By incorporating resistance training, anaerobic intervals, quick bursts of speed and rotational elements, cross training gave their body a break from the repetition, and they improved their speeds, achieving better race times.

Core: There is no “correct” definition of core. Most people refer to it as the mid-section of your body, while rehabilitation professionals refer to very specific muscle groups. Pilates experts may refer to the entire torso as your core, or powerhouse. Many people interchange “abs” or “belly” with “core.” If you are consulting someone on working your core, get specific about what you want, and ignore the jargon. An experienced professional will ask you the right questions to understand your focus for your midsection.

Toning: Did you know there is no such thing as “toning” your muscles? For muscle gain, weight and fat loss, endurance or strength training, there are formulas to achieve the best results, but the word “tone” actually refers to the state of your muscles. During rest, your muscles are constantly semi-contracted in order to be ready for action. The 'tone' of your muscles is involuntary, so you can't change it by lifting weights a certain way.

This is just a start, but I’m confident that you will be able to sort through all the bits and pieces out there. More importantly, empower yourself to ask the right questions and get the right program designed for you. Good luck!

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