Perhaps at some point in all our personal fitness careers (however advanced or modest) we’ve all had one of those “doh!” moments, when we realized we did something really stupid that now has us writhing in pain. (It could be an immediate or slightly delayed awareness – stuck in the recliner later that night unable to move. Anyone?) Sometimes these strains are the result of momentary carelessness, and sometimes they’re caused by ongoing ignorance (coupled with bravado or bad advice).
And then there are the exercises that maybe don’t leave us regretting our very existences but that seem to keep us (knowingly or unknowingly) endlessly circling the same fitness territory with little to no measurable progress. How come none of the other Saturday gym rats seem stuck in the same rut? What am I doing wrong?
This week instead of focusing on one reader question and giving a lengthy, detailed response I thought I’d change it up a bit by publicly addressing a number of reader questions with quick responses and links to archived posts. Let me know if you like the format. That is, do you prefer an in-depth analysis of a single reader’s question as per most of my “Dear Mark” posts or would you rather see more questions answered in a succinct, to-the-point manner? Give me your feedback and I’ll handle “Dear Mark” posts accordingly. More than likely I’ll do a good mix of both in the future. Thanks, everyone!
60 in 3 reminds us that while there are a lot of new-fangled devices out there for sculpting six-pack abs, sometimes getting on the floor and bustin’ out a few good ol’ fashioned crunches is the best (and cheapest) way to get an ab workout.
Almost Vegetarian shows us that olive oil can be subbed in for butter (even in baking!)
The Diet Blog profiles a graphic that recently ran in the New York Times depicting exactly what it is the “typical” American is noshing on these days.
Summer weather got you feeling lazy? Dumb Little Man offers six reasons to shake the lazy bug.
Stop the presses: A new study published online in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that eating two eggs for breakfast (and not just the whites!) is healthier than eating a bagel.
As avid Mark’s Daily Apple readers, this one is easy to chalk up as a “well…duh” type of study, but the researchers note that the importance of the study is that it lends further support to the importance of high-quality protein in the diet. In fact, a special issue published in May in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that not getting enough protein may increase your risk for obesity, muscle deterioration and chronic disease.
Boredom. Monotony. Tedium. The same day after day. Dull as tombs. Nothing new under the sun. As fun as watching paint dry. While we hope these phrases don’t apply to any part of your life, we definitely hope they don’t describe, above all things, your workout! We’re half-kidding, of course. Nonetheless, variety is definitely the proverbial (and, we’d argue, essential) spice of a fitness program.
Of course, there’s the issue of motivation. If you’re schlepping yourself to the gym with the look of the “Time to make the donuts” guy, it’s time to shake things up a bit. And, wouldn’t you know it, research out of the University of Florida in Gainesville suggests the same. The study divided 114 men and women into three groups. The first group was given specific exercise instructions for their workouts that incorporated frequent variety. The second group was also given instructions for their workouts, but they were the same for each session. Researchers did not give the third group any guidelines regarding workout schedule or specific exercises. The study period lasted eight weeks, and those in the first two groups were instructed to exercise three times a week throughout the duration of the study. The group with the best retention and most reported satisfaction was – as I open the envelope – the first group that incorporated both structure and variety.
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