Removes the guesswork and intimidation from the gym experience…
How do I know how much weight to use?
- My Gym Trainer leaves it up to the exerciser to choose the weight and these guidelines will help you do so. If the weight is too heavy, you may risk injury. If the weight is too light, you will not see or feel results. Weight training for results requires a weight that is uncomfortable. For most exercisers, this corresponds to a 10-12 repetition max. This means that for each exercise a weight is selected with which 12 reps can be completed, but not 13. In other words, failure or fatigue is reached at 12 reps. This is a good rule of thumb for beginners, who might find the world of weights and machines a mystery at best and intimidating at worst; but don’t worry, you will soon get the hang of it.
- In general, a weight is too light if you are not sore at all in the following days and if you can perform all the sets of the exercise back to back without resting. If this is the case, increase the weight to the next closest increment. When you do find a weight that works well, you may want to record it in your Trainer journal pages beginning on the tab for Week 4, as a starting point for subsequent workouts.
- “But I Don’t Want To Bulk Up…”
- The reality is that your muscles need heavy resistance to react at all; to tone, to build, to strengthen. Many female exercisers may be wary of heavy weights because they fear “bulking up” or looking too masculine.
- The bottom line: women do not possess the necessary hormonal environment to put on enough muscle to create this look without illegal anabolic supplementation, especially when fat-burning cardiovascular activity is added along with a balanced diet.
- Muscle is denser than fat, which means that one pound of muscle will be much smaller than one pound of fat. Thus, building muscle while losing fat (which My Gym Trainer is designed to help you do), you will lose inches and display a more toned and smaller overall physique.
- If this is what you want, then choose challenging weights.
What is meant by Light, Medium and Heavy weights as used in the MGT workouts?
- WEIGHT GUIDELINES – The MTF 10-20-30 Rule:
- Heavy, means you can do no more than 10 repetitions at that weight before having to stop and rest. You may have to stop before 10, but you can still make it to 10 with brief, intermittent rests.
- Medium means that you can do no more than 20 repetitions at that weight before having to stop and rest. You may have to stop before reaching 20, but you can still make it to 20 with brief, intermittent rests.
- Light means that you can do approximately 30 repetitions at that weight before having to stop to rest. And again, you may have to stop and rest a time or two before reaching 30, however, you can make it without undue duress, using brief 2-3 second rests.
- What is Failure? Stopping to rest means you have either reached mechanical failure, where you simply cannot move or lift that weight again, or mechanical failure, where you cannot continue because of the burning sensation the muscle, known as metabolic failure.
Why aren’t there stretches included on the workouts?
- There simply wasn’t room on the cards to include stretches, however stretching is very important, especially post-workout, so we strongly encourage you to include your favorite stretches following each workout, focusing especially on the areas worked during the session.
- Flexibility training, such as yoga or stretching is important whether weight training or performing cardiovascular exercise. However, the timing and reasons for stretching varies. Flexibility training is necessary to ensure that muscles, tendons and joints receive sufficient nutrients and the ability to shuttle away metabolic debris. Stretching increases circulation to these areas and prevents muscle tightening, which can eventually lead to injury. On the other hand, extremely flexible joints can also put an individual at risk for injury by not having enough muscle strength, which can leave joints vulnerable to strain.
- When weight training using My Gym Trainer, you will be working specific muscle groups each time, and will need to stretch those muscles especially. There are numerous opinions and research showing whether stretching between sets helps or hinders the ability for those same muscles to contract (lift the weight) for subsequent sets. If you like the way it feels to stretch the working muscle in between sets, then go ahead and stretch, holding static (stationary) stretches for 5-10 seconds each as often as you like. At the end of a weight-training workout, be sure to hold the same stretches a bit longer.
- For the most part, it is best to warm-up the muscles completely before engaging in static stretches.
- Research has shown that stretching most after the entire workout is over is optimal. Stretching “cold” muscles can increase the chances for injury and does not increase performance. Instead, stretch following a thorough warm-up (8-10 minutes of walking or slow jogging) or after the workout. Static stretches should be held 20-30 seconds each.
- Be sure to stretch the major muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, chest, back, shoulders and glutes.
What is circuit training?
- Circuit Training describes a way of moving through resistance exercises that maximizes fat-burning and cardiovascular training by keeping the heart rate and breathing up throughout the workout. When performing “circuits,” you will never find yourself sitting on a machine and resting (wasting) minutes at a time. Instead, each circuit containing 2-4 exercises is designed so that you move from one exercise to the next with virtually no rest in between.
- In a Circuit, you perform a given number of repetitions for Exercise 1 and from there immediately go to Exercise 2 for the given number of repetitions, then onto Exercise 3 and so on. Once you complete the first “set” (each exercise done once for the applicable number of repetitions), go back to the beginning and start on Set #2 with Exercise 1, repeating the entire cycle, usually 3-4 times.
- In My Gym Trainer, each workout card will indicate how many sets (or times through each exercise) it should be performed. It’s okay to drink water and take short rests when necessary, but try your best to keep moving. The idea behind circuit training is to keep the heart rate elevated throughout the workout to maximize cardiovascular conditioning, while also maintaining some lactic acid in the muscles to create a burn.
- Lactic acid release is critical in forcing the body to respond, as its accumulation assures that the muscle is being sufficiently worked; so don’t be afraid of the “burn.” Doing a workout that allows for very little rest guarantees a somewhat constant stream of lactic acid accumulation in varying degrees. However, because you are doing different exercises back to back, there is some relief in that synergistic muscles are working, but at different angles.
- Overall, circuit-style training can boost fat-burning effects while saving time and improving the cardiovascular effects of resistance training.
What order should I do the workout in: cardio first or weights first?
- The workouts contained on the My Gym Trainer cards were designed so that the weight-training workouts are done first, and the cardio second. The idea is that when you are most fresh and with highest energy that you can give it your all during your metabolically-significant weight workouts. By the end of the weight-training section, your stored carbohydrate levels will be low, so that when you perform your cardio, you begin dipping into your fat-stores for elevated fat loss. However, if you are training for performance, such as for a race or endurance competition, cardio should come first for best training results. For fat loss, stick with weights first.