We all have good intentions when we begin a new exercise program because we want our hard work and sweat to pay off in some way, such as increased weight/fat loss, toned muscles, increased energy, better mood or improved athletic performance. However, statistics tell us that most people who begin an exercise program don’t succeed.
Many current exercise programs are to blame for this high failure rate because they are too intense and time-consuming, and they hold us hostage by expecting us to work out like an “exercise-aholic” nearly every day of the week – that’s crazy! None of us should be pushing ourselves to the brink of physical exhaustion every day thinking this is the ONLY way to achieve fitness, health and wellness. While you may see some positive results in the short term, it does little, if anything, to keep you motivated in the long term.
Fortunately, in my last blog “RISE Up!”, I introduced the exercise program I developed (R.I.S.E.™) that has been scientifically proven to work, and is designed to fit easily into a busy lifestyle. I’m excited to coach you through each of the RISE™ exercise routines in the coming months. I have already provided a sensible exercise intensity scale to help monitor your effort during exercise (again, see RISE Up!). So, here I provide a few helpful strategies as you prepare for each of the RISE™ routines.
1) What to Eat/Drink: What you eat (and drink) will either sabotage or boost your response to exercise. Remember… what you eat TRUMPS exercise ALL the time, so the goal is to have food intake and exercise work in synergy, not against one another. Therefore, begin each exercise session well-hydrated by drinking 16 ounces of water within 1 hour of starting. The ideal time to exercise is first thing in the morning but if this isn’t possible, schedule it into your day as an appointment so you have to be there! For some people, eating a small meal (250-500 kcals) consisting of whole grains, fresh vegetables or fruit and a lean protein 3-4 hours prior is helpful. If you are exercising for less than an hour, water should be all you need to drink during the exercise routine. However, if you are exercising for more than an hour or in hot and humid environments then a glucose (sugar) and electrolyte beverage is needed.
2) What to Wear and Bring: Choose comfortable and appropriate fitting clothing and footwear for each type of exercise. The type (mode) of exercise will determine the appropriate clothing and footwear needed. For example, the exercise session may require a bathing suit, cycling or running clothes, yoga or weight training clothes, layered clothing for outdoors and a change of clothes. Be prepared for changing conditions and bring a stopwatch to stay on time. What you wear does make a difference.
3) Warm-Up and Cool-down: Before starting each RISE™ exercise routine, perform a walk/jog warm-up for 5 minutes at a moderate pace (Intensity Level 4-7). Following this light walk/jog, perform a dynamic warm-up for an additional 5-10 minutes using the exercises shown below. This dynamic warm-up will prepare your heart, lungs, muscles, bones and joints for the exercise and help reduce your risk of injury. Notice the warm-up is active and doesn’t involve static, gentle stretching. Your cool-down (or recovery) at the end of each exercise routine should include the static, gentle stretching for 5-10 minutes. For a complete listing of dynamic warm-up exercises visit http://www.nourishingscience.com/ and Dr. Paul’s Training Journal.
Freely swing your leg across your body while relaxing the muscles in your hip. Then freely swing your leg front to back. Try not to bend forward or backwards when swinging. For each, increase the range of motion with each swing. Perform 12-15 swings then switch legs.
Bend right knee and lift as high as possible, then interlock fingers below knee and lift knee to chest. Keep your back straight and lift onto the ball of your foot. Resist bending forward at the waist. Repeat on left side. Perform 10-12 reps with each leg.
Reach your right knee as far behind you as you can and then lift and bring to the front of your body and place your foot down on ground. Perform on left side and repeat alternating legs as you go for 12-15 steps forward.
Begin by lifting right knee in front of your body as high as possible then pull back behind your body as you step back. Perform on left side and repeat alternating legs for 12-15 steps backward.
Perform side shuffles while swinging your arms in front of your body down at your waist and overhead. Repeat for 8-10 shuffles then switch directions.