You’ve just finished your aerobic workout, you’re breathing hard and heavy, and your legs are weak and are burning like their on fire. ‘That fat is going to be burned up like crazy’ you think to yourself. What you might not know is that you may have just sabotaged your fat-burning quest because of the high lactic acid levels you have generated from your hard workout.
Who can start a fitness routine? Anyone of any age can start increasing their activity level however, it is important to first get medical clearance from your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. Your doctor will assess your current health status to make sure you are ready to start exercising. This will make sure that you get started on the right track if you have any health problems that might be a concern when exercising.
You’ve pressed the snooze button 5 times already when you suddenly realize that you have 15 minutes before it’s time to leave for work. You stumble out of bed and into the shower. After dressing you grab your morning cup of coffee as you rush out the door, hoping you have time to stop at the corner store for a danish. When you get home after a long day you feel exhausted, you wish you could have gotten a better sleep last night, you wish you could be more sharp and energetic at work instead of being victim to constant energy lows, and you wish you weren’t so stressed! If some of this applies to you, then your wishes could be granted through proper exercise and nutrition techniques.
Resistance training has seen a marked rise in participation over the past number of decades. From its increase in popularity during the late 1800’s, lifting weights has become one of the most popular forms of exercise today. It can enhance athletic performance through increasing muscle mass and strength and it can help in the rehabilitation process following an injury. These results are all due to the increases in tension that the working muscles experience as they try to work against a certain amount of resistance (Tesch, 1988). Not only does the muscle respond by getting larger, but muscle strength also becomes specific to that movement (Morrisey, Harman, & Johnson, 1995). In other words, you can be strong lifting 100 pounds one way, but try to lift that 100 pounds in a different fashion and you may find yourself not nearly as strong.
Almost all types of strength training involve resistance exercises that require eccentric and concentric muscle contractions in order to stimulate strength gains (Fox, Bowers, & Foss, 1993), muscle hypertrophy (Fox et al., 1993; Tesch, 1988; Lüthi et al., 1986), neural adaptation (Sale, 1988), and metabolic adaptations (MacDougall, 1985) within the targeted muscle. It is the eccentric component of an exercise that is believed to cause the greatest amount of morphological change within the worked muscle (Armstrong, 1984; Clarkson & Tremblay, 1988; Fritz & Stauber, 1988; Stauber, Clarkson, Fritz, & Evans, 1990), strength loss (Fridén, Sjöström, & Ekblom, 1983; Newham, Jones, & Clarkson, 1987; Rödenburg, Bär, & De Boer, 1993) and muscle soreness (Abraham, 1977; Newham, 1988). These changes are believed to be due to muscle damage that is non-permanent and repairable (Fridén, 1984). In addition, muscle tissue has shown that an adaptation to this type of stress takes place during as well as after recovery that results in less damage and soreness in the targeted muscle after subsequent exercise bouts (Byrnes, Clarkson, White, and Frykman, 1985; Clarkson & Tremblay, 1988; Ebbeling & Clarkson, 1990).
Bodybuilding is a unique sport which involves the assessment of a competitor’s overall muscle symmetry, muscularity, and presentation skills in comparison to the other athletes in an appropriate weight or height class. Each contest consists of three rounds. The first round assesses the competitors overall symmetry and muscularity. The second round is the free posing round where the athletes present to the judges a posing routine that emphasizes his or her best body parts as well as their level of conditioning. Round three is the comparison round in which the athletes are compared against one another through a number of compulsory poses. Throughout all three of these rounds the judges are evaluating muscular definition, muscle shape, presentation, muscular symmetry, and other aesthetic qualities of the individual athletes.
Diurnal, ultradian, and circadian rhythms tend to govern the secretion patterns of hormones. Since few hormonal responses are truly circadian (regulated by no external stimulus) in nature, several factors such as sleep-wake cycles, nutrition, meal timing, exercise, other hormones, and stress can alter diurnal (daily) rhythm patterns. It is precisely for this reason that competitive and recreational athletes and their coaches should be aware of these cycles and related hormonal interactions as well as the individual hormonal effects of exercise. The athlete should strive to establish a set daily pattern in order to ensure regulated and optimal levels of anabolic hormones and growth factors.
Motivation is necessary for developing and performing athletic skills. It is what drives the athlete to successfully acquire a skill through long and arduous practices. The definition of a motive, associated with motivation, is stated in Webster's New World Dictionary as "some inner drive, impulse, intention, etc. that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way;..." (p. 886). High school coaches often find that motivating adolescent males and females can be particularly challenging (Robert et al, 1992). Although motivation can be sometimes difficult to achieve, attention to social influences and using techniques of reinforcement, feedback, and goal setting are ways that can instil motivation in the adolescent athlete.