Last week, we talked about the comparison between the benefits of resistance training or aerobic exercise. The consensus is that a combination of both — along with the correct diet and lifestyle choices — are the holistic way to reach your peak of health.

But for a long time, many fitness officials claimed that it was a bad idea to practice both resistance and aerobic exercises on the same day. That greatly changed how people viewed coming to the gym. For example, they’d have to rotate days and come back more days per week in order to do a complete regimen. And for many, that kind of restriction and limitation could be a setback to pursuing optimal workouts — and some people who would greatly benefit from membership became hesitate to join a gym at all, because it simply seemed like too much work.

The reason that it backed the concept that these two regimens couldn’t intersect was called “muscle interference,” an explanation that stated aerobic exercise would cause muscle fatigue and people would not be able to get the most out of weight training. Conversely, muscle interference meant that weight training first might tire the muscles and keep people from performing as well during cardio. This systemic belief wasn’t a matter of ignorance; it was a widely held belief that top trainers commonly advocated for their clients.

That’s why many people in the fitness community, including those of us at Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym, were overjoyed when scientists once and for all denounced and disproved this theory. Studies came in from McMaster University in Ontario, Karolinska Institute and several Swedish organizations that finally challenged muscle interference by comparing workouts with young and middle-aged males. The reporters of each independent study stated that they did not see any indications of muscle interference for the men who did both resistance training and aerobics in one day, as opposed to one each.

The bottom line is that gym-going can now conclusively become as convenient as you’d like for it to be – and you don’t have to worry about doing too much of different tactics all in one day. So if you ever had doubt, never fear — and happy workouts!

For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about resistance training and the use of resistance weights. Now that you know about this form of exercise, you’re probably wondering how it compares to other types — namely, aerobic or cardiovascular training.

Some studies have claimed that resistance training can help you burn more fat than aerobic exercise. It accelerates weight loss, and the buildup of muscles helps you continue to burn calories even after you’ve worked out. In contrast, aerobics are mostly only good for burning calories while you’re working out, but they don’t help your body develop new ways to keep burning up consumed calories. When you’re resting, the effects stop.

One reason that cardio training continues to be the more popular form of exercise is because it’s easy to learn. You probably already know how to do the most basic moves in a group-based exercise class, not to mention that running, biking or using the elliptical machine only require inherent, repetitive movements. Meanwhile, it takes some training to learn how to appropriately use weights and resistance training to get your maximum results. You also have to learn diverse machines or techniques to target your entire body, rather than just a single motion or floor routine to generally stay moving and cover your bases. But the truth is that it can be learned, especially under the tutelage of a professional, and your body will quickly adapt after practicing your new resistance routines.

However, studies haven’t been wholly conclusive while calling one type of exercise “better” than the other type. It’s largely agreed that resistance training is better for building muscle and making the body leaner, while cardio fitness is said to help you burn more calories and lose weight. But most researchers and physical fitness professionals agree that the best overall affect on your health and weight comes through a combination of both.

To find the right regimen that combines both resistance and aerobic fitness, spend a few days with one of our Pivotal Fitness Greenville athletic club trainers, who will develop a system based on your personal strengths and needs. Access to this kind of personalized training is just one of the many perks of membership.

Check back next week to learn about the myth of muscle interference, which told athletes for many years that it wasn’t OK to do both aerobic and resistance training on the same day.

Last week, we talked about using resistance bands in order to keep working out when you’re traveling or otherwise kept away from a convenient Greenville sports club. This week, we want to delve a little deeper into the principles of resistance training.

Resistance training is broken down into two types: isometric and isotonic. Isometric exercises are slightly less common, because it happens when your muscle is holding still against an outside force; a great example is holding a weight above you in a static pose during a bench press (not raising or lowering the bar, but keeping it at its point of highest pressure). However, isotonic exercises are quite common, because your muscle is in motion against another opposing force (such as almost any type of weight machine).

When you’re doing resistance training, one important technique to get the best results is to slow down on the hardest part of your motion as you carry out a specific exercise. For example, if you’re squatting to improve your quads, you’re going to feel the burn as your bottom lowers toward the floor. Here, you can hold in the squat position for a few extra seconds every few reps in order to extend the burn and get better results. That moment where you freeze in motion and let the force itself do the work for you is the portion of your exercise that is isometric.

Here’s another great tip: You also want to follow through with concentration and controlled movement even in the easiest part of the isotonic motion, when your body is working with a weight (rather than against it). For example, it’s easier to bring down a weight than lift it, thanks to gravity, but you don’t want to just work hard when you’re lifting the weight and then go slack and take advantage of that extra help during the follow-through — or you’ll potentially diminish half of your results.

Ask our knowledgeable personal trainers how to integrate resistance training into your Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym fitness routine — this knowledge will help you improve your workout independently whether you’re working out here or at home.

A few weeks ago, we talked about lifting weights as a means for toning up at our Greenville gym. More recently, the “Journal of Applied Physiology” weighed in with its own interesting findings about the usefulness of light weights. It concluded that working out with lighter weights was less intimidating, less risky and just as effective in terms of muscle growth as working out with heavy weights over time.

The study had young men perform resistance training with varying weights over a period of ten weeks to see if the results differed. The results showed that a person might only be able to go through a few reps with a very heavy weight, and they can perform much longer with a set of lighter weights. Because working out with weights is effective when a person uses them to the point of fatigue, it might make sense for some adults to hit that point later with lighter strain along the way than pushing themselves straight to the max. Plus, some people might be intimidated by bigger weight ranges and refrain from working out with weights altogether.

Commonly using heavy weights can also cause muscle and joint strain in the long-term, and that risk is diminished with lighter weights. And those pushing themselves to achieve more with a heavier weight may stray from proper form more commonly than those using a simpler routine. Overall, the impact of light weights in a regular fitness regimen can be dramatically better for a person’s physique in the long run than higher weights.

This research just goes to show that it’s not just about showing off and achieving great strides. Don’t overexert yourself or set unrealistic goals. It’s all about honesty, moderation and confidence. Don’t be afraid to come into the gym with moderate goals. Don’t compare yourself to the bodybuilder with the huge biceps standing next to you. If you psych yourself out – or worse, quit because you think you can’t do some huge workout task – then it won’t benefit anyone. And remember, you come in here to feel good about yourself!

The key is to commit to a regular routine, set realistic limits and stay motivated. If you can only do a small amount of work at a time, come in more days of the week. If you can only handle light weights, you can do more sets. There’s no single way to work out – ask our highly trained staff and personal trainers how you can define and meet limits that work for you in order to get fit and attain your ideal body.

Resistance bands are taut, thick rubber strips with varying degrees of elasticity. You can choose the one that’s right for you based on how much strength-training you’ve previously performed and the level of challenge you’re seeking. The reason that many people prefer them to weights is because the band’s elasticity is constant and self-contained. Think about it: If you lift and lower weights, gravity is helping you out on the second half of your exercise. But when you’re working against ongoing pressure, you’re getting more of a workout from the same range of motion in the same amount of time.

This piece of equipment uses the theory of resistance training to help you tone your muscles in one of two ways. As we discussed last week, you can either perform resistance training by going with an outside force or working against it. With a resistance band, you can secure it to a wall or peg or door and pull against the strength of the band’s opposing, contracting force and then simply hold this as long as you can to build muscle endurance. Or you can repeatedly pull and release against the force, allowing your muscle to flex and contract.

One reason that this form of exercise became so popular in recent years is because resistance bands are one way to continue your training when you’re on the go. For example, if you’re traveling and can’t make it into our Greenville gym, you can throw a resistance band into your suitcase and keep up on some of the workouts you’re missing. They’re much lighter to carry around than a set of dumbbells!

Another great thing is that the resistance band can adjust to simulate several activities that may require several machines at the gym. All you need to do is master the technique necessary to perform each kind of exercise, since machines offer less wiggle room in terms of how to correctly execute resistance motions and target correct muscle groups.

At Pivotal Fitness Greenville athletic club, we’re happy to help you develop the resistance workout regimen that’s right for you. You can compliment resistance band workout with aerobic exercises for weight loss and cardiovascular strength while improving your muscle tone through such classes as yoga. Ask us about how our programs work together to compliment and include the use of a resistance band.

The purpose of resistance training is to strengthen muscles through a continued system of tests in which they’re typically working against a given force. That force may be immovable, like a floor or wall, or it may be mobile like a free weight. Weight training is one of the most commonly known forms of resistance training.

There are two standard types of resistance training: isometric and isotonic. These represent putting pressure on unmoving muscles or giving muscles greater range and motion during resistance training, respectively.

With isometric training, your body resists a given force – such as during a bench press, when you’re sustaining a single motion rather than flexing at the joint. Your muscle contracts without extended and shortening repeatedly. The advantage is that your endurance can increase for static exercises, such as a sustained pull-up. This type of exercise can also be used if you’ve recently overworked or injured the training site; the muscle sustains less wear-and-tear with isometric activity.

With isotonic training, your muscle moves in accordance with a preexisting force, like in the event of lifting and lowering bicep curls. In this case, your muscle gains the most strength at the weakest point in the exercise. But the downside is that your muscle can also be sorer at this point of stress because it’s where the muscle contracts in the repeated movement.

Another type of well-known resistance training that gained popularity in recent years is the resistance band workout, which we’ll talk about next week.

Our Greenville sports club offers a variety of equipment to get you started. Our knowledgeable staff can help you find out what type of resistance training can help you meet your muscle-building goals. And then you can create a regular schedule with a Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym trainer to stick with your sets of choice until you see the results you desire. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Last week, we looked at a debate brought up by a New York Times article on whether or not there were definitive benefits to cross-training, especially for dedicated athletes focusing on one sport. Experts are strongly divided on the issue. To recap, the ‘pro’ side of the argument involves overall strength, improved endurance, potential prevention of injury and diversification of talent.

However, in a study conducted by The University of Texas in Austin, it was concluded that the one aspect of training that actually mattered when it got down to performance output was completing rigorous training in the area that the sport enthusiast was actively practicing. There was no added, measurable benefit for those who also pursued cross-training. Specifically, neither amateur nor advanced runners who add cycling to their training don’t necessarily demonstrate excess success or skill at their craft.

The head of public and occupational health at VU Medical University in Amsterdam, upon analyzing athletic injuries, concluded that one way to reduce the likelihood of injury is to participate in other sports; however, this might only mean that less time is spent in any one sport. This reduces the emphasis of stress on any single muscle group, which can result in strain or injury due to repetitive motion.

Furthermore, cross-training can lead to overtraining – especially when new elements are introduced on top of your regular routine. Instead of switching up their workout, practitioners may try to do it all: keep up with what’s necessary for them to stay on top of their game in their arena of expertise while adding gym time on machines and routines that don’t have to do with improving their specific area of accomplishment.

Further research shows that resistance training may actually be more beneficial than cross-training because it markedly improves endurance, although it’s better for some types of athlete than others. You can learn more about it on our blog next week, or get a head start by asking about how you can incorporate this element into your workout the next time you visit our Greenville gym.

When most of us think about cutting back on belly fat, we’re thinking about that flabby band that’s so hard to conquer that sits between the waist and hips. At our Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym, we often hear members talking about this area as one of their main targets when it comes to losing weight and muscle tone. What many people don’t know is that while this fat might seem like your worst enemy when you’re trying to buy new jeans, it’s the fat you can’t see in the same area that can potentially be very harmful to your health.

Layers below that padding that’s visible to the naked eye is what’s known as visceral or liver fat, the cells that are distributed between your organs. This is the kind of fat that is most dangerous, because it can put your heart at risk or potentially lead to diabetes.

A new study by the Duke University Medical Center looked into the best way to combat this fat. By comparing the effects of aerobic exercise, resistance training and a combination of both, researchers determined that aerobic exercise has the biggest impact on reducing belly fat. reports that aerobic exercise not only reduced the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, it also improved fasting insulin resistance. Aerobics alone scored better than resistance training or both in each area, burning 67% more calories than just resistance training. Scientists indicated that though their test subjects underwent rigorous exercise, even moderate aerobics can go a long way.

Looking for an aerobic exercise plan that can cut back liver and visceral fat? We have options for every training level that can suit your schedule and target the parts of your body you want to work on the most. For those living in and around Greenville, sports club membership is a convenient way to improve your overall health – starting with an aerobics plan that can attack that unwanted belly fat. Don’t worry, we’ll help you cut back on that visible tummy flab, too!

On the new show Thintervention with Jackie Warner, the celebrity personal trainer puts a group of clients through intense circuit training workouts to jump start their weight loss. The first episode chronicles the first week of training ending with all of the clients losing between 4-10 pounds. If you have seen this show you might be wondering: what is circuit training and how can I use it to reach my goals? As your partner in health and fitness and your Greenville health club of choice, we will break it down for you:

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a workout that combines cardiovascular fitness and resistance training. By allowing only 30-90 seconds between each resistance training exercise (station) your heart beat rises and a cardiovascular workout is incorporated. You can incorporate as many as 6-10 workout stations in a circuit and then repeat the circuit 3-5 times. Circuit training is a great way to mix up your workouts. With so many exercises to choose from you don’t ever have to do the same circuit more than once.

Why does Circuit Training Work?

By combining your cardiovascular workout with your weight training you will be getting greater results in a shorter amount of time, reducing the need to spend long hours in the gym in order to reach your fitness goals. Plus fewer rest periods encourages the stimulation of hormones which help your muscles to grow (which increases your metabolism and fat burning capabilities).

If you are interested in incorporating circuit training into your fitness routine but don’t know how to get started, stop by and visit our personal trainers who can take you through a circuit training workout routine. Pivotal Fitness Greenville personal trainers are required to have NCAA certification and attend ongoing continuing education. As a member of our Greenville gym you are entitled to one free personal training session, so stop by today and find out how circuit training can work for you.