Here are some of the most important elements of a successful exercise program at Health Club.

Warm-Up and Stretching

  • Always warm up at least 10 minutes at a low intensity—try walking, jogging, cycling or calisthenics.
  • A good warm-up prepares the body for exercise by promoting blood flow to the muscles, increasing muscle temperature (for greater elasticity) and lubricating the joints.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Cardio exercise (activities such as cycling, dancing or running) is the most efficient way to burn significant amounts of calories. It also enhances your endurance and overall energy level.
  • Start off slowly, with 15–20 minutes at a low to moderate intensity and gradually increase to 30–60 minutes.
  • Cardio exercise improves the efficiency of the heart, lungs and circulatory system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including hypertension.
  • You will learn how to calculate your target heart rate from your trainer. You can use that, or your “rate of perceived exertion” (RPE) to monitor your intensity.

Strength/Resistance Training

  • Strength training increases lean muscle mass and helps reshape your body.
  • The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest; strength training increases your metabolism.
  • Generally, you should complete 8–12 repetitions of each strength exercise to most effectively increase lean muscle tissue.
  • Perform each set to the point of voluntary fatigue. That means the last few repetitions should feel difficult, but not so difficult that your form is compromised.
  • Raise and lower the weights in a controlled manner and perform each exercise through a full range of motion.
  • Proper breathing for weight lifting involves steadily exhaling while lifting the weight and steadily inhaling while lowering the weight. Do not hold your breath.
  • Let muscles rest and repair at least one day before exercising them again. Massage often helps.
  • Ask your trainer about how and when to increase the resistance you are using and about exercise variations.
  • Cool-Down and Stretching
  • Following your workout, stretch the primary muscles you worked to aid recovery. Ask your trainer to recommend appropriate stretches.
  • Hold stretches longer (20–30 seconds) post workout.
  • Stretching helps your muscles return to a normal range of motion, which may reduce the risk of injury.

Important Points to Remember

  • Rest and recovery are key to maximizing your results. Take one or two days off per week and do not work the same muscles on consecutive days. Avoid over-training.
  • Proper form is critical for best results and injury prevention.
  • Warming up and cooling down are important for all aspects of training.
  • Do not exercise on an empty stomach.
  • If at any time you feel dizzy, faint or short of breath, stop exercising.

A Little Dehydration Has a Big Impact

If you want to perform at your best in sport or exercise, you’ve got to keep your body adequately hydrated throughout your activity. Sweating away even just 1 percent of your body weight (a pound and a half for a 150-pound person) can place added stress on your cardiovascular system. Losing 2-3 percent of your weight can impair your physical performance. Dehydration can also affect your mental sharpness and hand-eye coordination putting you at a disadvantage on the court, playing field or other competitive arena. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following guidelines for keeping the body hydrated:

  • BEFORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Drink at least 16 ounces of fluid about two hours beforehand.
  • DURING ACTIVITY: Drink 5 to 10 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • AFTER ACTIVITY: Drink 16 ounces for each pound of body weight lost during activity