Focus on Exercise Fitness

In order to achieve results from any form of exercise, whether your aim is to shape and sculpt your body, build muscle-mass or simply for general fitness and energy. Exercises performed incorrectly or performed without prior knowledge as to ‘How many Reps?’, ‘How many Sets?’, ‘How much Rest in between exercises?’ or even knowing whether you are training the correct muscle/muscle group in order to reach your goals. Here is a basic guide  that hopefully dispels a few myths and sets you off on the right track…

Firstly, learning how to perform each exercise correctly is a must, this especially includes maintaining correct form throughout each and every movement. This ensures that you will avoid unnecessary strain and injury, as well as reassurance that the correct muscle are being targeted throughout each exercise. Taking some time out to understand exactly how an exercise works, definitely pays off in the long term training fitness and exercies.

Now, on to the reps & sets…

If your aim is to shape & sculpt your physique through exercise, then the need to exercise using light-weights becomes essential, using high repetitions (until just before the muscle/s become fatigued) and normally between 3-5 sets of each exercise. Then repeating your complete workout 4 to 6 times each week. This ensures that your are burning off enough calories (providing your diet is correct) and allowing your muscles to become more dominant which will create a more defined, sculpted appearance.

If you intend to exercise in order to build muscle-mass, then each exercise must be performed using heavier weights, low repetitions and a maximum amount of possible sets. Increasing the amount of sets and/or weight during each subsequent workout actually increases the amount of potential for muscle growth, due to an ever increasing demand place upon each muscle, also called ‘Progressive Development’.

If you intend to exercise in order to lose body-fat, then your diet MUST come first. A simple shaping/sculpting routine as briefly described above is ideal starting point for an exercise programme, however if your nutrition plan is wrong you will be wasting your time exercising. That is the absolute, plain and simple truth!

Whilst creating any effective diet plan, predetermined goals are key to success…

When you need to lose weight, the first and foremost issue is to determine exactly how many calories your body needs to survive, then calculate the amount of calories you are currently using each day (also known as your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure), then finally, you need to know the scary old ‘How many calories am I really consuming each day?’. Once you have this information on hand, which can be obtained from various fitness calculators or health guides and books, you are now ready to take the first step in creating your own personalised diet that effectively achieves your goals.

Losing weight, is simply a matter of expending more energy (Kcals) than you are consuming, which can easily be accomplished by reducing the amount of consumed Carbohydrates and Fats in your diet. Make sure your calculations beforehand are accurate and you will succeed. There really is nothing else to it! Although this is generally a brief overview of the concept, the principles remain the same. Through correct exercise and a strict eating plan that incorporates less calories than the amount actually burned-off, your body simply has no choice but to lose weight! Forget miracle pills and juices etc… This is the only NATURAL and more importantly, SAFE way to lose weight quickly.

In order to gain mass for bodybuilding, the opposite to weight-loss is required. Excessively loaded muscle/s need high amounts of protein in order to rebuild and repair themselves. However Protein alone will not grow muscles. A bodybuilder will often need to consume a lot more calories than that required. This ensures that weight is not lost and his/her body is constantly ‘Fuelled’ and ready to grow. Consuming approximately 2.5 – 3.5g of protein per lb. of bodyweight is normal, then dividing and balancing the Protein, Carbs and Fat ratios in each meal according to the bodybuilder’s goal (Be it bulking-up or removing excess bodyfat before a competition). You will often see professional bodybuilders and think that they are just fat, you are wrong… Beneath all of that ‘Fat’ is developing muscle, for once the excess bodyfat is removed through various dieting strategies, the actual size of each muscle does not really show many visible signs of shrinkage. This is all down to a carefully calculated nutrition plan.

The importance of an effective diet strategy whilst exercising not only concerns your physical appearance either. Without eating correctly, you simply will not have the required energy or stamina to constantly and correctly perform the exercises that are required to attain your goals. An athlete for example attempting a 3000m long distance run, without enough Carbohydrates for energy would certainly collapse way before the finish line. The same applies to a person seeking to lose weight, embarking on a bodybuilding diet just because it is high in protein, will not necessarily lose weight. Probably quite the opposite…

Without applying a little science and fundamental knowledge to an exercise routine, you are simply increasing the risk of failure, injury and dissapointment (which eventually leads to demotivation and lack of interest!), trust me I have been there…

By simply learning the facts first and then reinforcing this foundation by setting accessible goals through your newly gained knowledge, you will be on your way to realizing your ultimate fitness goals. Guaranteed!

After more than 15 years in the fitness industry, I am hoping that the above information will be useful to current/aspiring athletes, bodybuilders and ‘bodyshapers’. As far as exercising goes, knowledge is essential in order to avoid the myths and bogus reports you see scattered all over the place. Don’t believe them until you know the facts!

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