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Starting three weeks ago, Dr. Jacques has been my personal trainer. I'm pretty lucky to have had him working with me and the great thing is that you can follow along and get instruction as well. It's been an interesting three weeks. I am a bicyclist and have never really been into resistance training.
As always, the info on the Dr. Gourmet web site is not a replacement for seeing your physician and your doctor would want you to speak with him or her before starting any new exercise program.
Dr. H.: This has been great and I am getting better after three weeks. It's interesting what I can and can't do. I don't like really the Shoulder Circles and actually have gone backwards with the weight to try to do them better.
Dr. C.: Congratulations on finishing your first workout! Now try to eat as soon as you can. You have to consume foods that your body can use to build the muscle that you just worked so hard to earn. I recommend a sandwich, because it is a perfect mixture of complex carbohydrates, which will give your body the energy to grow, and protein, which is a nutrient necessary for muscle growth. So use wheat bread and enjoy whatever lean meat you want. The sooner that you can eat after a workout, the better.
Also be sure to drink plenty of water. Usually a cup or two after a workout will suffice.
Tomorrow, avoid lifting any weights. You never want to do resistance training on two consecutive days.
The exceptions are when you train different muscle groups on each day. For example, if you work legs on Mondays and arms on Tuesdays, that's okay. I prefer to workout the total body three times a week. But keep your workout schedule flexible and do what works for you.
Dr. H.: There have been two weeks where I have only been able to work out two days. Can I work out with extra sets or reps during the sessions that I can do that week? Double up as it were.
Dr. C.: While three days of resistance training a week is optimal, working out two days a week can still offer you a significant benefit. Grant it, the Schwartzenegger chest will take a little longer to achieve, but resistance training still offers tons of other benefits, even if only done 2 days per week.
Should you double up? No, you can only benefit so much from a particular exercise. Researchers have not been able to quite tease out how many repetitions and sets are optimal per muscle group, per workout. But, with a moderate weight workout, 3 sets of 8-12 is optimal. Anymore than that and you are likely wasting your time. Don't beat yourself up about two days per week, but try to do three if at all possible.
Dr. H.: What about other equipment? Gloves? A weight belt for support?
Dr. C.: In addition to the proper footwear and exercise clothing, everyone should workout with a pair of workout gloves if possible. If you are using light weights, they are not that important to use. However, when you start lifting weight over 10 lbs, weight gloves can prevent callous formation, protect the muscles, bones and nerves in the hands and provide support for the wrist. If lifting heavy weight, it is worth investing in gloves that wrap the wrists well.
Do you need a weight belt? No. Developing strong abdominal and back muscles acts as a natural weight belt. Weight belts have actually been shown to be possibly harmful when working out, because they prevent you from learning to develop proper posture and form. Besides, I'm personally not an advocate for squatting heavy weight, which is the exercise most people use a weight belt for. But, we can get into that later.
Dr. H.: I'll keep working on this plan and in a few weeks we can discuss extending my work out. Thanks for your help, this has been a lot of fun.
For more information and interviews with Dr. Jacques about what we talked about today, click through to these videos: