The Fit 5: Fighting Fatigue
Our fitness expert drops knowledge on how to hit the gym fired up with energy, each and every session.
For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Tommy Caldwell, founder of Hybrid Health Corp. as well as host and creator of the Outlaws of Health radio show on iTunes answers questions about training, eating and planning to continuously perform your best, session after session.
Q1: How much rest is appropriate in between sets? Amount of weight?
"Rest taken between sets is dependent upon the goals you have set for yourself. A good rule of thumb is to keep your rest shorter (30-60 seconds) for weight loss, or high rep/light weight training. Keep rest moderate (60-90 seconds) for strength gains, or mid rep/moderate weight training. And implement long rest periods (2 minutes plus) for power gains, or low rep/heavy weight training.
Just remember that the less weight you’re lifting, the less rest your nervous system needs. The more weight you’re lifting, the more rest your nervous system needs."
Q2: What are the best kinds of foods to eat before a high intensity workout?
"There are two macronutrients that will significantly aid in the sustainability of high intensity training: Fats (medium chained) for a more sustained energy source and carbohydrates (higher glycemic) for an immediate energy source. Either or will help fuel your training session, but the combination of the two is optimal. For fats stick to eggs, nuts, and omegas in smaller quantities and for carbs stick to fruits, coconut water, or a natural fruit juice mixed with your water.
If you’re also looking to replace the key minerals that you’re going to lose throughout your training session (electrolytes), be sure to add a pinch of sea salt or a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water."
Q3: How many days should I be working out vs. taking off?
"This is dependent upon what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re training lighter but with greater pace (muscular endurance, fat loss) you can train 5-6 days per week. If you’re training for strength with moderately heavy weights than 4-5 days is likely where you want to keep your work within. If you you’re lifting extremely heavy with big compound movements, you’ll likely want to keep your training frequency to 3-4 days.
Higher paced training with lighter resistance requires less rest in order to keep your brain in check. Heavy lifting, however, requires much more significant rest time. This may be counterintuitive since you’re likely to get less muscle soreness with heavy weights and minimal reps, but remember, your brain and nervous system require much more significant rest than your muscles do."
Q4: I've heard things about 'active recovery', what is that?
"Active recovery is essentially any physical activity that you can perform that isn’t closely related to your regular training stimulus. Let’s assume that weight training takes up the majority of your work load- basketball, squash, swimming and even running could be categorized as active rest in that case. As long as the activity is significant but completely unrelated to the movement and stimulus you’ve been putting yourself through repeatedly during the week, you can log it under the ‘active rest’ tab."
Q5: What are the most important aspects to giving 100% in my workouts?
"Get rid of the social aspect. Go to the gym to work, and don’t waste time doing anything else.
Understand what your real thresholds are. Some people believe they are working hard without ever truly testing their boundaries. Be safe, but push the envelope of your personal training barriers.
Have a plan, and stick to it. If you know what you’re setting out to accomplish before you even step into the gym (which you should), make sure that you don’t allow yourself any slack."