Hi Tara Marie,
I am 57 years old, and I started weight training about two years ago. If I exercise one part of the body, how many days should I rest before I exercise the same body part again?
Thanks for writing! This is a great question and it’s one that I am often asked. There are three basic components that must be considered for muscle growth:
If, for instance, you work your chest on Monday, wait at least 24 hours before repeating a chest workout. I say “at least” because, if you are sore, I recommend waiting until the soreness has calmed.
You can do a great job working your muscles, and you can give your body great nutrition in the form of supplementation, water, and food, yet you can still hamper your development if you do not give your muscles proper rest.
Dear Tara Marie,
I just began an exercise program. I have always heard about the aerobic “target heart rate range,” but I don’t know how to find my range or what it represents. Please help!
Laurie, Staten Island, NY
I totally understand your confusion! The “target heart rate range” is considered the range in which you can do your cardiovascular activity “aerobically,” meaning depending primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. The term aerobic literally means “living in air” and refers to the use of oxygen to meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time.
Some people must monitor their heart rate diligently due to a past cardiac event or another health issue. These people should wear a heart rate monitor, which will provide an accurate, up-to-the-minute reading of their heart rate.
For people for whom there is no cardiac concern, there are 3 easy ways to gauge exercise intensity, and I teach all 3 methods to my clients.
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
THREE: Structure your time.
If you want to truly transform your life by making a plan of exercise and healthy nutrition a priority, you will literally need to MAKE it a priority. Many of us have good intentions, but the truth is we end up doing the things that we deem most important. Everything else gets done if we can fit it into our already-over-scheduled lives. I have found that when my schedule is too unstructured, I get much less done. I do what is in front of me at the moment and before I know it, the day is over and tasks remain unfinished. The best way to manage your time is to schedule blocks during which you will work on specific tasks.
When it comes to exercise, you must apply this same kind of structure to your plan. This is largely why working with a trainer is so effective. My clients have to book appointments with me in advance and without 24 hours notice, they are charged whether or not they keep a scheduled appointment. Once they book an appointment with me, they book the rest of their day around it.
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
TWO: Put exercise at the top of your list. If you are truly committed to achieving your goals, you will sometimes have to sacrifice other things to make room for your fitness program. I am not suggesting that you don’t take your sick child to the doctor, but you may have to forgo meeting your friends for drinks after work when your time is tight.
I am reminded of one of my girlfriends who is quite the social butterfly. We laugh because she doesn’t have time to always get to the gym during the week because she has a very robust social schedule and has engagements most evenings. I, however, rarely have time to socialize during the week because I go to the gym in the evening after work.
We all make time for the activities that we believe are a priority and the rest we do when and if we “have time.” The truth is, everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but we all place a different level of importance on different things. There is no right or wrong choice, but make sure that your choices are aligned with your goals.
I have worked with many movers and shakers and asked them how they make time for exercise during a busy week. Every person said the same thing: they schedule an appointment with themselves and keep the appointment, making it a priority as they do their appointments with CEOs and business clients.
Put exercise at the top of your list and book an appointment with yourself. Once you book the time, regard it as highly as you would any other appointment to which you are committed. You are certainly worth it.
Stay tuned for Tip #3!
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
ONE: Stop trying and start doing.
Set yourself up mentally for success with an “I will” attitude rather than an “I’ll try” attitude.
Saying “I’ll try” to exercise is really saying, “I will exercise if everything else gets done, if I am still in the mood, and if nothing better comes up.”
Yes, unexpected things happen and our best intentions are sometimes derailed, but the mindset that you bring to your self-care is of prime importance. If you take an “I’ll try” attitude toward your health and fitness plan, you are essentially putting yourself and your plan at the bottom of the list.
When you take an “I will” attitude, you are putting the two at the top of the list. In other words, unless you are dead or seriously disabled, you are going to find a way to fit some form of movement into your day—no excuses—period!
One of my favorite quotes is by Pat Riley, widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time. He said, “There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.”
Decide now to bring an “I will” attitude to your life. Stop trying to do things and just do them. Make a commitment and hold yourself to a high standard.
Every day when you awaken is a chance for a fresh start. Decide today to be better, do better, and live better than yesterday. Greatness begins with a quiet decision to pursue excellence.
If you can’t get to the gym as often as you’d like, you need to prioritize within your workout to maximize your results.
For example, if your priority is building muscular strength, focus on weight training rather than cardiovascular training when you manage to squeeze in a workout.
By doing this, even if you only exercise two or three times during the week, at least you worked on your primary goal of building muscle. If you are able to fit in another workout or two, that is icing on the (sugar-free/fat-free/gluten-free) cake!
I personally live by this code, as I never seem to have as many opportunities to work out as I would like. Given that I live a hectic life and have to do the best I can, when I finally do get to the gym, I follow these guidelines:
Here is Part 2 of my leg/butt workout. If you missed Part 1, please read it first. Adapt each exercise to your skill level and use an appropriate weight load. I have modified this workout for personal training clients of all different levels.
As I said when I introduced Part 1, the workout consists of twelve exercises that I do on two nonconsecutive days. Since some of the exercises are harder compound moves (using two or more joints at the same time), I put a few easy moves and a few compound moves into each workout so I can evenly divide the workload.
I do 5 to 8 sets of each exercise, and I do more sets for my weaker areas in an attempt to balance out my legs, both in terms of strength and aesthetic appeal. Look in a mirror (from all angles) and determine what parts of your lower body need extra work. Normally, we enjoy doing what comes easily to us and we avoid what is difficult. Assess your weak areas and focus on them. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Here are the final six exercises:
7. HIP ADDUCTION: This exercise works the adductors of the hips, which are all the inner thigh muscles. Using the hip adductor machine, start in a position with your legs as wide as you can and extend your legs so they are straight with your feet in the air (even if the machine is designed to be used with bent knees.) When you extend your legs, much of the work begins before you do the actual hip adduction, as you must hold your legs up against the pads. Squeeze your legs together and hold them tightly contracted for a few seconds. Then, slowly let your legs separate to work the eccentric (negative) phase of the contraction. As you work, use your abdominal muscles to your advantage by tightly contracting them as you press your legs together. Exhale as you contract. TIP: When I am trying to graduate to a higher weight, I assist myself by pressing on my upper thighs with my own hands as my hips adduct (my legs move toward the center). In this sense, I am acting as my own spotter. It is no different than using a spotter for assistance with a chest press or a chin up.
Do you want to develop great legs and a delightful derriere sure to please you and your significant other? Over the years, I have developed the perfect combination of moves to develop my legs and butt, and the best part is that ANYONE can do it. All you have to do is adapt each exercise to your skill level and use an appropriate weight load. This workout is one that I have modified to work with personal training clients of all different levels.
My lower body workout consists of twelve exercises that I do on two nonconsecutive days. Since some of the exercises are harder compound moves (using two or more joints at the same time), I like to put a few easy moves and a few compound moves into each workout so I can evenly divide the workload!
Generally, I do 5 to 8 sets of each exercise, and I do more sets for my weaker areas in an attempt to balance out my legs, both in terms of strength and aesthetic appeal. Take a good look in the mirror from all angles and determine what parts of your lower body need extra work. This was a humbling experience for me, but acknowledging our weaknesses as wells as our strengths is part of the game. Always play to win. Always train your weakest link.
This week I will give you half of my leg routine, and stay tuned next time for Part 2!
1. BARBELL SQUATS: Depending on your fitness level, choose a barbell with which you can successfully complete 6 to 10 repetitions max. I generally like to select a weight with which I can do no more than eight reps. When I can do more than eight I increase the load. I never squat lower than a 90-degree angle at the knee because I can blow out my knees when I do so. At my age, I tend to be careful and not get too crazy. TIP: Squat slowly, and when you are in your full squat, pause for about 5 seconds, and push through the heels of your feet as you press up to a standing position. Always keep your weight in your hind foot for a squat.
If you don’t know what you really want, how in the world are you going to get it? You need to set goals in such a way that you know exactly what you are working to achieve, you can measure your progress along the way, and the goals must be realistic, considering who you are and the life you lead. Here are some tips to get you started setting effective goals that will get you where you want to go.
Set specific goals: Rather than say, “I want to get in shape,” specify or detail exactly what you want. A more specific way of setting goals is to say, “I want to reduce my waist measurement by 3 inches and increase my strength and flexibility.”
Set measurable goals: How will you measure your progress? Rather than say, “I want to walk more and get in better cardiovascular condition,” say, “I want to walk two miles every day at a rate of 15 minutes per mile.” The progress of this goal can be easily measured, as the goal itself is worded in such a way that you can track your progress.
Set attainable goals: The kiss of death for most people is biting off more than they can chew. You have to set a goal that will challenge you, but not defeat you. Be realistic about who you are, the constraints on your life, and what you are willing to do (or not.)