90/10 Rule: Exercise is 10%
I’m not a trainer, but this is what I’ve noticed just by people watching at the gym and through my own experiences about exercise:
1. A bikini body is only 10% exercise. I wrote more about the “eating clean” component in a previous blog post, so this one focuses more on exercise. In a nutshell, if you just diet you will have a smaller version of your frumpy body. If you just exercise you will have a svelte body completely hidden under a layer of fat. Combine the two and presto! Bikini body!
2. CARDIO, CARDIO, CARDIO. Cardio is the key to burning off the layer of fat. (Combined with eating healthy, of course.) I thought you had to do high intensity sprints and such for this to work. Not so! Daniel has me doing a combination of high intensity and low intensity cardio work outs. When I first started and was grossly out of shape he only had me do cardio 40 minutes, three days a week to build up stamina. Now I do an hour and a half per day, six days per week; 55 minutes are done in the morning on an empty stomach and 35 minutes are done in the afternoon/evening before my weight lifting.
3. Divide and Conquer. When you lift weights you are actually tearing your muscle tissues. They need at least a day to recover and rebuild themselves into the new and improved stronger versions. Thus, it is important to focus on different muscle groups each day. A sample rotation might be: Mondays = back and biceps, Tuesdays = legs and butt, Wednesday = abdominals, Thursday = chest and triceps and Friday = take a rest! You might hear fancy lingo around the gym like, “Yeah, I’m doing a 5-2 split.” That just means you’re lifting weights five days per week and resting two days. But it sounds really cool, so make sure you say it in front of some newbie who has no idea what you’re talking about.
4. Form is King. I injured myself the first month because 1) I was too busy talking to my friend instead of paying attention to what I was doing, 2) the weight I lifted was too heavy and 3) I continued lifting even when my shoulder didn’t feel right. These are all rookie mistakes with easy solutions. First, until you know the proper form for each exercise hold off on the socializing and concentrate on basics like posture, grip and foot position. Second, lighter weights lifted properly are more effective at growing muscle mass than super heavy weights flung up in an Hail Mary effort where you throw out your back. Third, if it hurts when you lift, listen to your body. Pain is your muscle screaming at you, “You’re doing it wrong! Stop!”
5. Stretching Is Your Friend. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles from their contracted state. Stretching increases flexibility, which in turn reduces the risk for injury. It also feels really great when you do it in the sauna while listing to the more mellow love ballads from U2’s greatest hits CD. Disclaimer: I confess I’m guilty on skipping the stretching unless I feel pain somewhere. This is a really dumb way of doing things. If I just stretched every day like I’m supposed to I probably wouldn’t get the pain in the first place, so honestly #5 is more of a personal reminder for me. Do as I say, not as I not stretch.
When done correctly, exercising will make your body look like beautifully sculpted statue. When done wrong it will give you a doctor/chiropractor bill. If you’re new to weight training get a trainer to learn proper form and listen to him/her! You can also watch You Tube videos of the exercises before you work out.
Hope this helps and enjoy getting in shape!
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