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  • The benefits and myths of stretching

    Published on

    Stretch! Everyone knows we should stretch after exercise and that it brings tremendous benefits for our bodies but equally there are many myths and misunderstandings about stretching.

    First, it´s time to dispel a widespread myth about stretching – it doesn´t help avoid the pain caused by exercise. What stretching does do is protect you from injuries by preparing your muscles for the stress caused by exercise movements and your joints to increase their range of motion - in short, it is well proven that a muscle that has been stretched is stronger than a muscle that has not been stretched. But what does not do is save you from the effects of lactic acid produced as a result of exercise, i.e. the metabolic (or, in other words, the chemical) waste produced by the body during exercise, which is the cause of the pain felt the day after all the effort of your training session!

    In fact, if you want to advance closer to your aim, this very pain is a good sign of progress as it indicates that your muscles have not yet adapted to the exercise but rather than they - and your body - are still changing. As they say, 'no pain, no gain'! And even the act of stretching itself can cause pain to a beginner even if you don´t do anything but stretch during a training session, as the muscle fibers are not prepared for such lengthening.

    But even if stretching does not save you from pain, its benefits should not be underestimated. The act of stretching the muscles represents great benefits for the body - allowing a greater range of joint movement, preventing injury, oxygenating muscles, preparing muscles for physical activity ... the list of benefits is a very long one!

    But, contrary to the misunderstandings of many, it´s not good to stretch at all points during training. It is important to know the key moments for stretching and, above all, not to fall into the bad habit of interrupting the benefits of training by stopping to pull your arm towards the middle of your back!

    There are really only two key moments in which muscles should be stretched in a training session: immediately after warm-up and after completion of the main part of the session.

    In other words, in a well-planned stretching session, the key moments are:

    • 1. Warm up
    • 2. Stretch (a general stretching of the major muscle groups along with special attention to stretching the muscles to be used in the main part of the session)
    • 3. Main part of the session (strength training, aerobics, etc.)
    • 4. Stretch (stretching of the muscles that have particularly been worked during the session)
    • 5. Cool-down (relaxation at the end of the session)

    A good personal trainer will always help you enjoy all the benefits of stretching and by following his/her good advice, you will be able to stretch your muscles with awareness, calmness and peace of mind!

  • Why train three times a week or more!

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    One of the most common questions that a personal trainer is asked is: How many times a week should I train? The easy answer is a minimum of three times a week ... but actually the correct answer relates to how your body works in reaction to training and recovery between sessions.

    As we all know, the energy you have at the beginning of a training session is slowly depleted during the session…to the point that you feel that your body can take no more! But this feeling of exhaustion does not last, your body recovers and, during the recovery period, reaches a point of rendition above and beyond the start point. This is the improvement that exercise gives you and that we all want to keep moving forwards our goal of a better body and health.

    Obviously - unfortunately - this improvement does not last - otherwise one training session would suffice for a lifetime! After a certain time, the body´s performance potential starts to decrease again. Therefore, it is important to train again before the performance of your body you've worked so hard to achieve begins to be lost again.

    Leaving too much time between sessions means that the speed of your progress will be very slow or your body may even stagnate, leaving you with no benefits from exercise and in a state of utter frustration. Of course, once you have achieved the perfect body that you so desire, stagnation is not so bad and you can slow down the pace a bit but first we need to get to this happy point ...

    On the other hand, when training sessions are too constant, your body is not given the time it needs to recover and reach the peak of its performance improvement after the previous session - it may even be that your body still has not recovered and that can even cause a loss of performance. In other words, you'd be taking a step backwards instead of running forward!

    The challenge is knowing when your body is ready for the next session without submitting it to an enormous number of physiological tests every time. On average, I suggest at least twenty-four hours of rest between sessions - that is, three times a week. But, beware, there is no specific formula – and further training sessions are not prohibited within twenty-four hours. It's all depends upon which muscle groups you have worked or the predominant 'energy pathway (' metabolism ') you have use in one session or another. And when I advise the client about when and how often to train, I also take into account a number of other considerations like:

    • • Intensity (how much did you sweat!);
    • • Volume (how many times did you lift that dumbbell);
    • • Density (how many minutes were you working those muscles compared with the time sipping water at the dispenser?);
    • • Duration (did you last out the whole hour or you fall on the floor after a few minutes?);
    • • Frequency (have you been super motivated this week or you prefer to lay on the couch in front of the TV instead of training?);

    In summary, the three golden rules are:

    • • Too much rest between workouts, slow changes!
    • • Too frequent training, overtraining!
    • • • Consistent training, fast results!
  • The perfect training partner: A good diet

    Published on

    Today when we see or hear the word 'diet' we immediately think of weight loss, but a diet is more than that. A good diet plays a key role in your training programme: it is your perfect companion with which you can achieve any goal: reach your perfect clothes side, increase your size or maintain your current form and shape.

    But, whatever the desired size, most of us spend hours training in search of that perfect sculpted, defined, body. Of course you need to put many hours of training to achieve that but, no matter how hard you train, you will be disappointed when you look in the mirror if your nutrition is poor - if you're not giving your body the magical balance of nutrients it needs to excel and perform well.

    As you know, food is a source of energy, fuel for your muscles. And there are certain types of foods that constitute the perfect energy source to get the most out of your workout: slow burning (absorption) carbohydrates. These are perfect to give you constant levels of energy to endure long sessions, the magic solution to reduce your anxieties and cravings for those junk food meals that work against your efforts, and are key to allowing your body to use fat as an energy source instead of putting tyres around your waist!

    So where do we find these then slow release carbohydrates? Well, protein, high-fiber foods, seeds, dairy products, to give just a few examples.

    And what is the difference with other types of carbohydrates? Who are the bad guys in this story? Well, that would be quick burn carbohydrates and starches, refined sugars, sweets, juices, sodas, cereals lacking fiber to give some examples so please stay away from them! These are the foods that we know give you a sudden burst of energy through the sudden shot of insulin levels released in the blood .... but after a few minutes cause anxiety and cravings. Anyway, these bad guys of the story are responsible for your gelatinous arms and abdomen and that terrible drop in energy levels meaning the last thing you want to do is exercise!

    However, its not always essential to avoid quick burn carbohydrates. In fact, the only time of day when you can take advantage of them is immediately after training precisely because of the insulin they release and the way they restore the stock of glycogen in your muscles that was depleted during intense training.

    What else can you do? Here are a few small but valuable pieces of advice that if you stick to everyday will get you closer to your goal:

    • 1. Choose - as an important component of your diet and especially in the morning - slowly burn carbohydrates, e.g. foods high in protein and fiber (to name a few: eggs, tinned tuna in water, salmon, vegetables, seeds, high fiber cereals etc)
    • 2. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, starches and sugars (if refined)
    • 3. Opt for lean meats
    • 4. Do not eliminate fat from your diet especially that emanating from fish and certain nuts.
    • 5. Eat at least 5 meals a day. But keep an eye on your portions - we want quality, not quantity!
    • 6. Make an estimate of how many calories you need per day (including to cover the needs of your exercise) and try not to eat more than that amount.
    • 7. Keep up a regular consumption of green, black, red tea ... All have their particular properties tea that will help you. And try innovative mixes of different teas and thus feel the benefits of each in a single cup!
    • 8. Try to rest and sleep properly and sufficiently.
    • 9. Do not follow fad diets - especially those that are not supported by scientific evidence.

    And finally, one day a week, forget the restrictions and eat what you want (without abusing!).

Two options

  • A

    Training in person

    In a professional private studio in Clayton, Panama City, with a dedicated trainer, motivating and supporting you every step of the way.

  • B

    Virtual training

    Coming soon: Individualized programmes online.


Second floor,
Clayton square,
Carrol Street
(corner of Basilio Lakas, opposite Clayton Park towers).
Phone: 209 5481 / 209 5479 / 6652 0480