A Sitdown With A Personal Trainer
At the ripe old age of 40-something, I finally figured out that fitness is not an all-or-nothing proposition. I may never be an elite athlete, but I’m sure as hell not going to be a big ball of goo either. So I set out to maximize the limited time I have to dedicate to fitness. While exercising with a personal trainer at my side is not in the cards for this part-time writer/full-time mom, sitting down with one for an hour is.
Meet Bryan Twichell, a personal trainer certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, nutrition buff, former pro soccer player, dad and all around good guy. Though I only had an hour to pick his brain, I learned some valuable tips on how to work out smarter from someone who loves helping people realize their fitness potential. To a more serious athlete, these pieces of sage advice may just be a friendly reminder. To people like me who just want to stay fit and make smart choices, this may be news you can use.
Today’s installment: pre-workout wisdom. I will be sharing workout and post-workout wisdom from Bryan in near-future posts.
One of the biggest things I learned from Bryan is that ‘diet and exercise’ are really the power couple of the fitness world, demanding a superstar name like ‘Diercise’ (a la ‘Brangelina’). One word, one system with two moving parts. I never really thought of diet and exercise that way, even though I know both are instrumental in achieving a respectable level of fitness. But for max results, they need to work together, and timing is critical.
Here are Rock Star Bryan’s pre-workout words of wisdom, most of which I have recently incorporated into my workout routine:
1. Up to an hour before hitting the gym, have 20 grams of lean protein. (I always struggled with the to-eat-or-not-to-eat-before-a-workout question. Now I know.) The reason: lifting weights breaks down your muscles, so having protein already on board helps your muscles recover and repair faster. Also, the protein helps boost focus and energy level during the workout so you get the most out of your time. Protein shakes are a no-brainer way to get the recommended amount of protein in easily and quickly without feeling too full. Bryan recommends a mix of whey protein (fast delivery) and casein protein (slow delivery) for optimum results.
2. To start any workout routine, warm up with five to ten minutes of slow paced, low intensity cardio. That gets the blood flowing and the joints lubricating. Stretching is not recommended before doing a cardio warm-up.
3. If you choose to stretch after warm-up, it will help get the deoxygenated blood out of the muscles and replace it with oxygenated blood, which ultimately helps with recovery. Because minutes matter, I generally skip this step.
In Working Out Smarter, Part Two, Bryan answers the question, ‘Cardio then weights, or weights then cardio?’ Plus, find out which workout tip made me mad (even though I know Bryan is right). Stay tuned.