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Workouts Not Working – Learn What You May Be Doing Wrong!

Hi Darlings! I am so excited to share with you that I will be having a guest blogger every other Wednesday sharing her tips on fitness. Cynthia is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Reebok Spin, Zumba, R.I.P.P.E.D (One Stop Body Shock) and Scuba Diver – PADI Certified.  She has been teaching for 15 years. “My passion is anything fitness and physical: boxing, bootcamp, sandbag training, TRX training, weights, spinning, heavy rope training, kettlebells, step, circuit training etc. I love conventional workouts but mostly I love unconventional workouts as they challenge you in ways that you would not imagine. I love the music and high energy” 

I hope you guys enjoy the knowledge and expertise she will be bringing to “Work It Wednesday” and please make sure to leave any comments of questions you may have for her in the comments section below.  Now, please enjoy Cynthia’s first post on Mimi G Style!

My Workouts Are Not Working – What Am I Doing Wrong?

If you are working out, congrats because you are doing something RIGHT!  We all reach a point where we are doing what we do and we see no results. This is not the time to say “I give up” or “forget it” or “My destiny is to be …..”  Now is the time to stay focused and stay the course.  Staying healthy as we age is truly “the fight of our lives.”

Our “fitness regime”, I use this term to include both nutrition and exercise, is unique to each of us.  Sort of like our DNA or more simply put like “a recipe”.  You know how you get a recipe and you don’t use it exactly as it is, you change it up, add spices you like or you change the type of protein or veggies, you add nuts or take them out but basically the principle is to make it unique or to make it “your” recipe.

Well, we have to do the same with our fitness regime.  We have to tweak it to make it work for us.  And I have to add, the older we get the MORE tweaking we have to do.  No frowns here because the good news is that once you have found the formula you will continue to use it until you have to tweak again.

Some quick and immediate tweaking that you can do with the following:

  1. Nutrition – remember the old formula “calories in has to be LESS than calories out”.  Yep, that still holds true.  Now don’t run off and reduce your calories to 2 pieces of lettuce per day, this is not what I am saying.  I am saying you have to look at your diet and be honest, really honest about

  2. Portions sizes (how much are you eating)

  3. Nutritional value of the foods that you do eat – do you eat/drink low nutritional value foods (junk, soda) or do you eat/drink more high nutritional value foods (veggies, whole grains, lean protein, milk)

  4. Water intake – for most of us eight 8 oz glasses of water is good enough. The human body is 60% water and the body uses water for many important functions. For me 12 – 16 glasses feels right. For certain if you are not drinking the 8 cups per day  – try to get the eight in.

Your nutrition profile will cover all the major food groups but in the portions necessary for you based on your needs. If you don’t know where to begin, enlist the services of a registered nutritionist.  The registered nutritionist can put together a “roadmap” which will be nutritionally balanced based on what you like to eat (sans the junk food).  Once you understand your nutritional profile then you can begin to use other resources for information and tweak your own “roadmap” .  The United States Department of Agriculture website  is a great place to get additional information.

2. F.I.T.T or Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type

a.    Frequency – how often are you working out. Seriously if you are looking to reduce your body fat (notice here I did not say lose weight a topic for a later discussion),  5 – 6 times per week and 1 – 2 non consecutive days of rest is necessary.  This will include a combination of cardio and resistance training.  Cardio is done 5 times per week and resistance training is done 3 times per week. I have added 2 sessions of yoga or Pilates for myself each week as well to increase my flexibility.

b.    Intensity – how hard you are working during the workout period.  Cardio Intensity can be measured by a 1) heart rate monitor  or 2) RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion . A heart rate monitor is a device you wear and it monitors your heart rate. Great investment, but costly, and I admit I rarely put mine on now. RPE,  yep a mouthful but basically on a scale of 1 to 10 you rate how hard you perceive you are working – with 1 being “I can do this I feel good and am breathing normal” and 10 being “I am exhausted and my muscles are going to be able to do this for 10 or 20 seconds.” RPE is a common measurement in the fitness industry. Resistance training intensity can be measured by how much weight you lift, how many sets and repetitions of that exercise you do and/or how many resistance exercises you do in the total workout.  When I teach classes, most of the students do not have a heart rate monitor so I use the RPE method.

c.     Time – how long you spend doing that workout.  Intense cardio can be sustained for about 30 minutes.  However we should get about 60 minutes of cardio per day. I break my cardio into 2 sessions because I like the fact that on some days I can do 2 intense 30 minute sessions instead of one 60 minutes slow steady session. If you have the time to do 60 minutes in one session then by all means do it. Resistance training should be done 45 minutes to an hour.  I hear ya – who has the time to do all that???…….easier than it sounds and we will talk about that as another blog topic.

d.    Type –  exactly………. what you are doing.  Cardio is any activity that gets and keeps your heartrate elevated for 20 minutes or more – running, walking, biking (indoor and outdoor), dancing, swimming, sports etc. Resistance training is any activity that applies a force or resistance against the muscle i.e. resistance bands, dumbbells, machines, bodyweight, kettlebells, medicine ball, sandbags etc.

  1. Sleep/Rest – this varies for each of us – however the thought is if you needed an alarm clock to wake you up, you did not get enough sleep.  This is the period of time when your muscles repair themselves and they grow.  Without the appropriate rest we run the risk of overtraining our muscles. Over trained muscles cannot work as hard, so our workouts become less intense and it becomes a vicious cycle.  Bottom line is your body needs rest to repair and prepare you for the next workout.

One last piece of information – don’t try to tweak everything at one time. If you are working on intensity, stay with that tweak for 4 – 6 weeks to see if that is working before you change something else.  Also document, document, document because after you have changed multiple things you may not know which one, two or four were the right combination. I keep a workout notebook which includes my daily workout and any other “tweaks” I am working on.  Those “tweaks” are my SMART goals for the week/month.

Lastly, this is all for you readers, so if you have topics or questions regarding fitness/health or just want to say hi, leave a comment below. Remember consistencyis key – life if going to happen., Live it, love it, embrace it, and make a daily workout part of your plan.

Until we meet again.. yours in fitness




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