16.04.2010 When in the Gym

Workforce Wellness actively encourages a positive lifestyle including healthy eating and keeping fit.  Many people excerise from time to time, whether hopping on an exercise bike at home or going for a jog around the block.  However joining a gym for health benefits takes your workout to a new level. 
When most people think of pumping iron in the gym or working up a sweat on a treadmill, our primary goal is generally to lose weight.  While these impressions may well be the first reason we join the gym, there are plenty of other benefits that are often overlooked or even invisible.  These benefits don't just affect our physical shape but can also affect our social, financial and mental wellbeing.
Once you have found the right gym for you, you can hit the gym for a solo workout. Other gym-goers will more or less be plugged into their music or deep in concentration.  For more social fitness activities you can opt for a gym class such as spinning, aqua aerobics or kick boxing.  Classes in particular where you have to work in pairs or small groups is a great way to expand your social circle and meet like-minded people such as yourself. 
Aside from the social aspect of the gym, there's also the psychological boost that going to the gym offers.  Exercise has been scientifically proven to release positive hormones such as adrenaline and serotonin which are known to fight off depression as well as minor illnesses such as the common cold.  The combined benefit of feeling good mentally and looking good physically is not only a boost in itself but also spills into other areas such as self esteem and confidence that subsequently allows you to perform better in all areas of your working and personal life.  
Remember the gym can be fun, so enjoy it !  But also note not to over train.  Over training is essentially one of the most common ways a lot of people hold their progress back in and out of the gym.  Over training often occurs as a result of egotistical behaviour where an individual believes more is better or more innocently due to a lack of knowledge.  However, you can now learn exactly why over training is such a problem and why you should avoid it, and in particular for bodybuilders - get back on the track leading you all the way to muscle mass gains.
Over training occurs when an individual trains for a ridiculous amount of time in one session often topping the advised one hour mark by half again or even more.  Furthermore, a lot of people tend to over train particular muscle groups, otherwise known as ‘mirror muscles.’  Many gym-goers (especially with men) can crave bigger biceps and a chiselled chest, which by doing so overlooks other body parts and trains the same muscles day in day out.  These are the two most common types of over training.
The main reasons you should look to avoid over training are as follows.  Over training can lead to catabolism.  Catabolism eats away at your hard earn muscle mass, which you have put a lot of time, effort and even money to gain.  Secondly, over training leads to a decrease in strength levels which of course holds your training back no end.  This will cause you to struggle through workouts, struggle to get pumped and as a result you will lose motivation. Finally, over training can lead to severe injury of the connective tissues.  What may be a niggle at first, turns into a huge problem when you over train.
The best way to avoid over training is to simply have a 'set programme' where you hit certain muscle groups on certain days.  This way you won’t even be tempted into adding an extra biceps workout in the same week as you know you should be training your legs that night. Also, for anyone who trains properly in the gym, they will tell you it is impossible to hit the same muscle group within a couple of days.  Therefore if you feel you can train chest two or three days after your last chest workout, you are not training properly.  Don’t train for more than an hour, which gives an ample amount of time to obliterate your targeted muscle group.  Training beyond here will only deepen the effect of catabolism, not stimulate growth.  Be sure to keep your glycogen levels up via low G.I carbohydrates and supplements such as right after training to help combat catabolism.
Most reputable gyms will have Health & Fitness Instructors on hand to assist you and to give advise. 


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