Fact or fiction? Expert answers to four common fitness questions

Fitness

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August 16 2017

When it comes to fitness, fact is always better than fiction. Adelaide Aquatic Centre Personal Trainer Jess McLeay takes time-out from the gym to answer some common fitness questions.

‘The more I sweat, the fitter I’ll get?’

Sweating isn’t automatically a sign of exertion. It’s our body’s way of cooling us down when our temperature gets too high. Even if you’re not sweating, you can still be working a particular muscle group hard or burning calories, especially in the case of weight work-outs. Lower reps, using medium to heavy weights, with fewer sets will work your muscles and fire up your metabolism, but may not leave you puffing, panting and dripping with sweat!

‘Is faster better when it comes to lifting weights?’

Some work-outs require faster movements, lighter weights and are more cardio-based – but it can be good to slow the pace and focus on ‘time under tension’ (lifting weights slowly). The best way to increase strength, technique and muscle mass is to have full range of motion through any movement. When we up the pace, form can drop and ‘half reps’ come into play. This stimulates less muscle fibres and will prevent training progress. Slow controlled movements with weights engage smaller muscles, tendons and ligaments and place focus on correct technique, reducing injury risk.

‘Stretching before I work-out will prevent injury right?’

It depends on the type of stretch. Static stretching (simply extending your muscle to the end of its range of motion, then holding it there) has no impact on preventing injury and can make damage more likely. How? Well, stretching ‘cold’ muscles this way can create little tears, making muscles more susceptible to damage/injury once you begin working out. At the start of a session you should get your muscles (and body) ready for the activity you’re going to do. Dynamic or active stretches like these below, that also elevate your heart rate slightly, better prep your muscles:

  • jogging on the spot
  • walking lunges or walking lunges with an upper torso twist
  • arm swings/circles
  • leg swings (front to back and side to side)

‘Is working out every day the best way to get results?’

When you’re on a roll it can be hard taking a day off, but not resting and allowing your body to recuperate can hinder results and potentially lead to an injury. Work-outs put stress on your body – straining muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Recovery time is vital as rest lets our immune system start the repair process. But rest days don’t necessarily mean – do nothing! It’s good to keep moving and blood flowing through your muscles, especially if you’re sore from a previous work-out. A light walk, run, swim, yoga or Pilates can help you come back firing on all cylinders.

 

Join a fitness family that will inspire and guide you. Check out Adelaide Aquatic Centre’s winter membership offer here or call 8203 7665. 

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