“What are good exercises to strengthen leg muscles if you have knee issues?”
· Leg day doesn’t have to mean knee pain. Exercises such as leg curls, stiff-leg deadlifts, and glute bridges are great choices because they don’t put much strain on the knee joint. Box squats are an excellent alternative to traditional squats because they encourage the lifter to “reach back” with the hips to keep the knees in the starting position and shins perpendicular to the floor, relieving strain. Lunges and step-ups can still be safe for lifters with troublesome knees as long as they’re sure to keep the knees directly over the ankle (think 90 degree angle) to avoid overstressing the joint.
“What’s the best way to achieve weight loss, cardio or strength training?”
· Fat loss occurs from a balance of proper diet, strength training, and cardiovascular exercise. First and foremost, be sure you’re eating for your goals- there’s no such thing as out-training a bad diet! Then focus on building a solid weight training routine supplemented with a cardio plan. Both cardio and strength training burn calories and should be included in a fat loss plan. However there’s hardly any “afterburn” associated with cardio, meaning your metabolism goes back to normal almost immediately. Meanwhile strength training keeps the metabolism revved for 24-48 hours AFTER the session! Furthermore, one pound of muscle raises our resting metabolism by 50 calories so our bodies burn more fat throughout the day. So whether the goal is to burn fat, build muscle, or both…always emphasize strength training for the most benefit.
How many days a week is too much weight training for your body?
That really depends on your personal weight training experience and schedule. For someone just starting off, weight training 3 days a week on alternating days is enough. After about 6 months, it’s beneficial to increase the frequency to 4-5 days a week to keep progress going. Many experienced weight lifters strength train 6 days a week, or even twice a day, with 1 full rest day a week. No matter the training frequency that fits into your schedule, it’s important to give each muscle group 24-48 hours rest between sessions for proper recovery.
“What are good pre & post workout meals?! Preferably fat burning!! Also, is it okay to push yourself hard for 4 days straight?”
Our body’s primary fuel source during exercise is carbohydrate, so the best pre and post-workout meals include some sort of carbohydrate in combination with protein. If fat loss is a concern, consume the majority of your daily carbohydrates around your workouts when your body is most likely to use them for energy and choose slow-digesting carbohydrates for sustained energy. Some good choices are whole grain breads, brown rice, sweet potatoes and fruit. In addition, 30-45 minutes before and immediately after your workout, have a small meal including 20-30 grams of carbohydrate and protein, such as a cup of yogurt, whole grain cereal and fruit. Other options include a sandwich made with whole-grain bread and lean meat or oatmeal with a side of egg whites. Many people find it difficult to eat a solid meal immediately after working out, making a whey protein shake a good choice. Blend it or eat it alongside oats and fruit for the carbohydrate source.
Although it’s ideal to alternate between lower intensity and higher intensity days, it’s okay to push yourself hard 4 days in a row as long as you’re getting plenty of rest in between (and I cannot stress that enough!!). Going too hard too often can result in mood swings, decreased energy/bad workouts, and injury. Our muscles grow outside the gym, so recover properly, stretch after each workout, and REST!
* NOTE that all advice in this post are suggestions and NOT recommendations. Everyone’s body is different as such their needs may vary. Please consult a professional for specific recommendations!
For more information please visit your local Sweat PT team at a Bailey’s near YOU!