Tag Archives: muscle fibers

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body. It is a simple rule that many many many of us tend to forget, including myself. Well, perhaps forget is a rather passive word, but instead ignore. And what do we do? Keep pushing our bodies even though it’s saying, “Um, hi! I’m done now, please stop!” Many of us will call this “wimping out” or just a complaint that can be pushed through. But that is where you need to acquire a skill.

This skill is understanding and knowing your own body. Picking up on the language that your body uses to communicate with your mind. Often, beginners to fitness are a little out of tune with this language. It’s taken one of my clients several months to come to the point where he can really tune into his body and understand when it is telling him to stop or push just that one rep farther.

Working it right

Working it right

Take the time in your next workout to feel out what’s going on with your body. Try to learn the difference between muscle pain (good) and joint or tendon pain (bad). If your muscles are filling with lactic acid, you can feel that pressure, that burning pain, but you know you can just do one more rep to push your body to the proper place. And if you feel your elbow joint or rotator cuff hurting with a sharp pain as you continue to bench press or curl, you know to stop before pushing yourself to injury. You have to walk that tight rope of pain. You have to know which is which.

If you’re unsure, ask a trainer. Point out what’s bothering you and they can tell you if that’s A-OK (ripping muscle fibers to make them stronger!) or a big NO-NO (overly-stressing a joint or ligament). If they’re a good, quality trainer, they will want to help you. Don’t be afraid of asking. It could save you an injury or make a workout that much better.

Chris taking a rest day with the kittens

Chris taking a rest day with the kittens

Don’t be (too) stubborn. Now here, I really need to take my own advice. Tonight we did a chest and triceps workout (here’s a sample). My (we think) rotator cuff has been a bit strained and stressed lately and can get pretty painful with certain exercises like push-ups, chest press, shoulder exercises, and other triceps exercises on the bench. I endured it pretty well tonight, but it kept me from completing as full sets as I would like. However, even though I wanted to push myself harder, I knew that it was worn out after a good number of supersets. I wanted to do another superset or so, but I held back. I didn’t want to seriously injure anything. Often, I can be way too stubborn for my own good, but here is a prime example of listening to your body.

Working myself to a good place where my skin needs to get tougher!

Working myself to a good place where my skin needs to get tougher!

So next time you’re in the weight room or out on a run, keep a finely-tuned “ear” to your body and listen to it!

Cheers! And let us know if you have any questions!

15-Minute Triceps Workout

Finding it hard to squeeze a workout in? 

In this life of ridiculous busy-ness, it’s hard to get a chance to stop, put on your workout clothes (which for some reason feel tight, perhaps because they haven’t been used in a week and a half), and get into the mode. Let alone actually drive/walk/bike/bus to a gym! Big breath, you don’t need to do huge workouts every day to stay in fit. Remember that it’s exercise AND nutrition. They’ve got to walk side by side if you want results.

And another thing before I show you some exercises, is to remember how important strength and resistance training is. This means working out your muscles. No, it’s not just for boys. It’s for us big girls too. And it’s really important for your health! Think cardio is the only way to burn calories? Think again. When you rip up those muscle fibers while pushing yourself during any muscle workout (let’s take leg press), your body has to work hard after the workout as well in order to repair those fibers. Which means your body is burning calories after the workout to try and repair those fibers as quick as possible. Quads burn after that leg press the next day? Fibers are torn so it makes it sore to walk around. So muscle workouts = more calories burned afterwards. 

Onto the 15-min workout. It could be even less. It depends on the number of reps, sets, and exercises you do. I chose to do three. I actually did them watching “The Help,” figuring it was a movie I should watch and always looked good (it was). Here’s the three I did:

1. One-Arm Triceps Extension

Pretty simple. Get a weight you’re comfortable with (I started with 12 lbs and moved up to 18 lbs for my last set) and either sit or stand. Extend the weight with one arm over your head and then lower it down (with control) towards your back. Keep everything slow and controlled until your form is good. Now do the other arm. 

Reps: 12, Sets: 4

2. Two-Arm Triceps Extension

So it’s basically the same thing (read above) but with two arms holding the weight. This allows you to use a heavier weight than the single-arm. I started with 15 lbs and ended my last set with 21 lbs. 

Sets: 4, Reps: 12

3. Skull Crushers 

English: an exercise of triceps

English: an exercise of triceps

You can either do this with a bar or weights. I chose to do it with weights (dumbbells) simply because I don’t have a bar here at the apartment. Start lying down with your weights or bar extended in front of your chest and then slowly lower until your hands are right at your forehead. Then push out again. That’s one rep. Get why it’s called a skull crusher? I went around 15 lbs for this one.

Reps: 10, Sets: 4

So there you have it. A three-exercise workout that left my triceps feeling tired. You will too if you do them properly with the right number of reps and sets. Your core will also be worked if you keep it tight and do the exercises correctly. Do what feels good for you. Never push it to the point of injury, but push yourself to get that last rep. Comment below if you have any questions. Enjoy!

PS– If you are interested in getting a free training plan and/or consultation or just have some questions, please email us at alana.ppowell@gmail.com