Q&A with Sarah

This month to change it up I decided to walk through the gym and ask members if they had any questions they would like answered in the Fix.

1. "How do I prevent muscle soreness after I exercise?"-Josh
Before you train make sure you are well rested, have eaten and are hydrated. A good joint mobility warm up helps get your heart rate up and the elasticity of your muscles ready to prevent overstraining. When training, try not to work harder than your body is prepared for and don't annihilate your muscles. Make sure you cool down afterwards and have good post workout nutrition. If your muscles are still sore the next few days here are a few ideas: light cardio followed with pain free stretching, a soak in an Epsom salt bath or hot tub, a contrast shower (hot 20sec, cold 20sec) to flush your muscles, a massage, and/or go a little easier on yourself next time to figure out where your ‘muscle pain’ intensity is.

2. "I do not enjoy doing core. Is it really necessary?"-Dani

While you do get involvement from your core during most exercises, I always think that specific core exercises can significantly help improve your posture, sport and prevent injuries. Traditionally, trainers save core for the last 15 minutes of a workout which is never a motivating time to do something you do not enjoy. A better option might be to integrate core exercises into your workout, for example doing a set between each new exercise you introduce. If you are doing a circuit, add a core exercise in every third exercise. This should help sneak them in and get them done to avoid dreading them.

3."What are the best back strengthening exercises for my lower back?" –Deanne
I could probably write pages on this subject, but the bottom line is always strengthening your core and making sure you have proper lower back posture (half way between arched and flat) throughout the day.

My favourite core exercises for the lower back are the following, both start on the floor on your stomach:
1. Superman: lift bellybutton off the floor and lift opposite arm/leg without letting stomach down or hips twist. (I sometimes place a broomstick across my stomach so I can feel if my stomach lowers as I lift.) Hold two seconds and repeat, alternating for 20 reps.
2. Back extension: fingernails on your forehead, squeeze your glutes (bum) together and lift head and chest off ground. Lift only two inches, then freeze and return to start. Relax your glutes and abs after each lift. Repeat ten-20 reps. Remember to keep all of your exercises pain free.

4. “How do you fit a full body workout in an hour?” –Mackenzie
Circuit train! Choose one exercise for each muscle group and do eight-20 reps (depending on your goal: eight for size/power, 12 for toning or 20 for endurance). Without stopping, rotate through your exercises from lower body, upper body, to core until you have completed a full round. You will likely have time to repeat your list, maybe even twice. The rotation allows muscle to recover while working a different muscle group and the lack of stopping also gives you a good cardio workout.