4 Reasons You Have Low Energy at the Gym

Despite what sport or workout you do, recovery is crucial. Without taking the time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining and making yourself more prone to low energy and injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do recovery methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Different Recovery Methods to Avoid Low Energy

How to Recover from Cardio

Hydration is key to help avoid low energy. You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more.

If you’ve only done moderate level cardio, then It’s best to stay away from sports drinks that are marketed towards athletes. These drinks contain high levels of added sugar that aren’t needed for moderate workouts.

You can drink these sports drinks and other liquids with electrolytes after longer cardio sessions.

How to Recover from HIIT

HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, consists of short bursts of extreme exercise followed by rest break. This definitely gets your heart ramping up a lot quicker than LISS or moderate exercise. You’ll also be burning calories after your workout thanks to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen it takes to restore your body to its normal state. HIIT boosts this process.

As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). This way, you are feeding your body the fuel it needs by letting your muscles grow and restore glycogen stores.

HIIT is very taxing on the body so it is best to give yourself one full day in between to recover. Doing it every day or even multiple times a day can really increase your risk of overtraining. Do yourself a favor, and take a break in order to avoid bouts of low energy from too much intense exercise.

How to Recover from Running

After a run, you would have sweat quite a bit. So, surprise, surprise, you will need to restore your fluids. Water and/or electrolytes is your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drink/snack that you can have. It embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need, and of course, it’s delicious.

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

Just remember to incorporate rest days into your schedule. Running puts a lot of stress and pressure on your joints, so it’s crucial to give them a break. At least one rest day a week is ideal, and maybe even two.

If you find it difficult to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sedentary the entire day. Go for a walk, or do some low-impact activities. Swimming is a great one because it takes the stress off your joints, while still allowing you to get some exercise in.

How to Recover from Strength Training

As strength training focuses primarily on building your muscles, you’ll need to make sure you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a workout. You would have depleted your muscle stores so it’s important to refuel. This will aid in recovery, help avoid low energy, as well as promote muscle growth.

You’ll also need to ensure that you drink water and have a good, filling meal. Stick to the 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio to maximize recovery. You have probably heard the perfect recovery drink with this exact ratio is chocolate milk.

The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, such as back, shoulders, legs, etc, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week.

If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a days rest in between to recover.

Just Listen to Your Body

While the general rule of thumb is to give the same muscle group a rest day, minimum, in between workouts. Otherwise, you risk overtraining. And at the end of the day, just listen to your body. If you’re feeling the effects of training that transcends beyond normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then take a break. You won’t ruin your progress by taking a couple of days off, in fact, you’ll probably help it. Use a foam roller post workout to help recover faster and help with DOMS.

Make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll facilitate the muscle recovery process and help to speed it up. It might be a good idea to foam roll as well. This will lessen the recovery times for each activtity.

Workout with Jefit

Track your training, record your progress, and customize your workout plan with Jefit. Jefit is a workout log app that provides you with all the tools you need to hit your fitness goals. We even have a members-only Facebook group where you can connect with like-minded people and share fitness and nutrition tips and advice.

Inactivity Physiology: What is it and How to Avoid it

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We are all coming off a year where – most likely – our workouts and total energy expenditure dropped off dramatically during the course of a typical day. It is totally understandable.

A whole new field of study has developed recently called inactivity physiology.

Inactivity Physiology Defined

The inactivity physiology paradigm can be defined as:

“Inactivity physiology represents a paradigm shift for how we think about how lifestyle causes disease. Simply put, the inactivity physiology paradigm says that “too little exercise” is not the same as “too much sitting” (physical inactivity) and that too much sitting has very potent effects on the body contributing to the most common diseases.”

Think about this for a minute. You get up early to go for an hour run or head to the gym for a long workout. You then hop in the car and drive 30-45 minutes to work. Once you arrive at the office, what happens? That’s right, you sit in front of your computer to work and for meetings. You then typically sit more through lunch and throughout the rest of the day. After work you repeat the 30-45 minute drive home, which is now most likely longer due to rush hour traffic. After you get home you relax a bit, sit and catch the news, sit more during dinner and then watch more TV following dinner.

Well if that is the case, then (most) of the benefits derived from your workout earlier in the day may be erased. Now I know you stressed your body during that hour run or strength workout at the gym. You may think loading your bones and muscles and alleviating some stress is enough. This is all good. Sure, but the issue remains, you’re sitting for eight hours or more each day.

Let’s be honest, we can all increase our activity level a bit more …don’t you think? You need to increase the activity you do throughout the day – above and beyond your exercise session…it’s critical. There is abundance of research showing that additional energy expenditure during the day is vital for long-term health. According to Knudsen and colleagues, “aerobic capacity fell 7 percent in 14 days after reducing steps from 10,000 to 1,500 a day in active men not in exercise programs.  Here are some examples to help avoid this and help add more activity into your day.

10 Ways to Help Prevent Inactivity Physiology

To offset this try adding a few of the following throughout your day to increase daily activity especially while at work:

  • Build a standing work station at the office.
  • Kneel periodically at your desk (when checking emails) and stretch those tight hip flexors.
  • Get up every 20 minutes if you have a desk job and move and/or stretch.
  • If your errands are <1 mile from your house – choose walking/biking rather than driving.
  • Have “walking conference call” meetings at the office rather than sitting at a conference table.
  • Whenever you take calls on a cell phone make sure you get up and walk and talk.
  • Wear a pedometer and add 500 steps a day (goal: 10k/day) see Knudsen research paper below.
  • Turn your lunch into your workout time. Or take a long walk.
  • Limit your TV watching to <10 hours a week.
  • Your goal this week: try to stand one hour each day over the course of the week.

Suggested Reading:

Too Much Sitting is Hazardous to Your Health. Len Kravitz, PhD 

Are We Facing a New Paradigm of Inactivity Physiology? Br J Sports Medicine.

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? NY Times article by James Vlahos

Genomic Aspects of Exercise, Inactivity, and Health, Frank Booth, PhD

Reference:

Knudsen, S. H., Hansen, L. S., Pedersen, M., Dejgaard, T. et al. (2012). Changes in insulin sensitivity precede changes in body composition during 14 days of step reduction combined with overfeeding in healthy young men. Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time?

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

As a runner, you don’t just have to stick to running. And as someone who lifts weights, you don’t have to avoid any form of cardio like running as though it were the plague. In fact, cross training is actually really beneficial to both sides of the spectrum. So if you are wondering whether you can run and strength train at the same time, here are the reasons why you definitely should.

Why Runners Should Strength Train

Strengthen your leg muscles

Runners can really benefit from weight training, especially with your legs. By including it in your workout, you can strengthen your leg muscles. Doing so will give you more endurance to last longer in your runs. It can also make your steps more powerful so you can propel yourself forward with more force, without having to exert more energy.

Prevent injury

Running can cause injuries. The most common injury is the Runner’s Knee. It can really be debilitating to your performance and cause you to have to stop training while you recover. If you run and strength train simultaneously though, you will be able to lessen the risk of injuries such as the Runner’s Knee.

Focus on building the hips and glutes so that your leg muscles are really developed and can help support and stabilize your lower body.

Build core strength

By building your core strength, you will be able to maintain a better posture even while running. Good posture is especially important for long-distance runners and really great for your body overall. This is also something that you should apply to your everyday life as well.

How to run and strength train for runners?

If you are a runner looking to strength train, make sure you start slowly to get used to it. Focus on compound exercises (multi-joint movements) such as the deadlift and squat. Bodyweight exercises also are very beneficial. Because they are not as taxing on the body as weights, they are a great way to build strength while you are recovering from running. Not to mention, they are convenient and can be done anywhere, anytime.

Why lifters should run

Don’t want to lose your gains? This is why most lifters tend to avoid cardio work, including running. For the fear of losing the muscle that they painstakingly built in the gym. However, while it is important to work on your strength, it is important to include aerobic exercise in your training. Weight training does not account for your cardiovascular health, which is where running comes in.

Improve your cardiovascular health

Running really works your cardiovascular health, which is great for a number of reasons. One, it will improve your heart health. This means that you will lower your risk of developing heart disease, cardiovascular disease. You’ll also lessen the risk of a stroke. By keeping your heart working and elevated, you keep it strong and healthy. And two, you will increase your oxygen capacity. By constantly working your heart through running, you will be able to take in my oxygen, so when you lift, more oxygen will be delivered to your muscles. This means you will be able to lift heavier and for longer.

Strengthen your legs

Running is a great way to build leg muscles. Depending on the type of running program you do, you can train your slow-twitch muscle fibers as well as your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Combine running with your strength training, especially leg day, you’ll really develop those leg muscles, particularly your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings.

Burn more calories

Want to burn more calories? Running is a great way to do this. It is a great form of cardio that can really get your metabolism fired up so will keep burning fat long after you finished training.

How to run and strength train for lifters?

If you are a lifter looking to run, try incorporating a low to moderate running day two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes. This helps to give you the benefits of running but also won’t hinder your strength training performance.

There are multiple benefits of cross training. To run and strength train simultaneously means giving your body a well-rounded workout that hits both strength and cardio components. Plus, each of these exercises actually complements each other and can really enhance your performance as a runner or a lifter.

Workout with Jefit

Want to run and strength train at the same time? Use Jefit as your very own customizable workout planner and scheduler. With the ability to log your workouts and track your progress, you can make sure that you are headed towards your fitness goals. We even have our very own members-only Facebook page where you can talk and connect with your fellow Jefit members. Join now here!

Can I Run and Strength Train at the Same Time_

7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises to Calm Your Mind

best stress-relieving exercises

One of the best benefits of exercise is that it reduces stress. Whether you are smashing out a boxing class or going for a run, your body releases endorphins that can take away stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling calmer and happier. Especially in this busy, on-the-go lifestyle that so many of us lead, it is so important to give yourself that mental break and get active. So, here are the best stress-relieving exercises to leave you stress-free.

The 7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises

1. Yoga

When you think about reducing stress through exercise, most people tend to steer towards the intense, fast-paced activities. While there is definitely room for that (and we will get to them later), there is also a place for yoga. Yoga is the opposite, and it is this reason why it is a great stress-reliever. It calms your mind by helping you focus on your breathing and helps you find your serenity.

It is a mind-body practice that can really help your sense of wellbeing, along with all the other physical benefits as well such as improved flexibility, posture, and strength.

2. Boxing

If you’re stressed, why not box it away? Often, we can hold in our anger and anxieties, which is very unhealthy to do. Boxing gives us a safe place to reduce our stress while letting us get in our exercise. Plus, it teaches us new skills as well.

Punching that punching bag as hard as you can stimulate the production of endorphins, helping you feel better instantly. Many people like to picture the source of their stress as the punching bag, which amps up the intensity, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises!

3. HIIT

HIIT has so many great mental health benefits, as well as physical ones. It consists of alternating between vigorous exercises with rest periods in between. Because it is shorter than the average workout class, it is very high in intensity. And once you get into your HIIT class, you’ll be too busy focusing on your exercises to even worry about whatever is stressing you out. And once the class is over, your endorphins will be running high and you will feel much better than when you started.

4. Group Training

Whatever group training exercise you enjoy, whether it is HIIT, aerobics, Zumba, it is one of the best stress-relieving exercises. This is because you will be surrounded by your friends who are also looking to get fit and healthy too. Being in a social environment and with people, you enjoy being with can really lift your mood and make you feel much better.

5. Desk Stretches

Sometimes, you’ll be really stressed out at work and you can’t leave. When this happens, try some of the best stress-relieving exercises at your desk:

Seated twist – You don’t even have to get up from your chair to do this one. Remain seated with your feet planted on the ground. Then twist the top half of your body to the left. Hold for 5 seconds, breathing in and out deeply before switching to the other side. This helps to relax the back muscles and elongates your spine, really helpful to clear your stress and reset your body after being seated all day.

Touch your toes – Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch both hands all the way up to the ceiling, really feeling the stretch in your back. Then fall forward to touch your toes (or however far you can reach) in a forward fold. Then inhale and stand back up, swinging your arms above you again and repeat. This will help to calm your mind and relieve your stress.

Pec stretch – You can remain seated or standing for this one. Bring your hands behind your head and clasp your fingers. Bring your elbows back as far as you can and squeeze. Hold it for a few breaths before releasing the tension and repeat. This is an easy one to do throughout the day, that loosens your pectoral muscles.

6. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is very gentle and meditative in practice, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do. It is based on the concept of qi (your energy flow) and works to balance both your physical and mental forces. Not only can it help tone your body and promote better balance but it reduces your stress and anxiety so you will be left with a calm and peaceful mind.

7. Running

There is a reason why people tend to put on their running shoes and go for a run when they are feeling restless or anxious. There is something therapeutic about running, getting into the rhythm with your steps and breathing. Whether you do it outdoors or on the treadmill, running is one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner and scheduler. It helps you keep track of your progress so that you know you are heading in the right direction towards your fitness goals. It also comes with an extensive exercise library so you can choose what exercises suit you. Join our members-only Facebook page as well, so you can stay connected to your fellow Jefit members!

best stress-relieving exercises

Five Proven Exercise Strategies to Improve Mood and Anxiety

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Packaging the health benefits of exercise into a bottle or pill would be comparable to finding the Holy Grail. Though that won’t happen any time soon, you can still take advantage of what exercise has to offer. According to a study published in the Lancet Psychiatry, people report an average of 3.5 days of poor mental health in a given month. The amazing thing is we already know that there are exercise strategies for improving mood and anxiety. More of us just need to take advantage of doing these types of exercise on a regular basis.

The good news regarding this topic is any form exercise – from walking to housework – will reduce that number by an average of 1.5 days a month. Playing any type of team sport, in addition to aerobic exercise, and strength training seem to have the biggest affect on mood; with reports of these activities reducing the number of mental health days by 20 percent.

Amount of Exercise Needed

Individuals who exercise for 20 to 60 minutes a day, three to five days a week, receive the most benefit, compared with those who exercise either less or more. In fact, people who exercised 23 times a month and for longer than 90 minutes per workout, actually had worse mental health compared to those who exercised less often or for shorter periods of time, as noted in the study.

The following list includes five different activities that are proven exercise strategies that will improve mood and decrease anxiety. The goal is to get more of people doing some type of daily activity. Only 23 percent of Americans, over 18 years old, exercise on a regular basis. Meaning, they perform both cardio and strength training during the week, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”

Hippocrates

Manageable Exercise Strategies to Improve Mood: Walking & Hiking

These are grouped together for no particular reason other than hiking is a more challenging progression of walking. Both are great for reducing stress and improving mood. This is especially true if you happen to be walking or hiking in the forest. The Japanese actually have a name for their strolls in the forest, they call it “Shinrinyoku.” They regard their walks or hikes in the forest as being similar to natural aromatherapy.

Newer research seems to reinforce the idea that spending time out in nature can be good for your mental health. A 2015 study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, as an example, discovered that when young adults went on a 50-minute walk out in nature, they felt less anxious and had improved memory function.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, research scientists found a single bout of exercise – walking for 30-minutes – could instantly improve the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. Some scientists believe the reason for this is more neurobiological than anything.

“Walking and hiking works on stress by increasing arousal and energy levels and secondarily by reducing tension. The energy boost is immediate, while the tension reduction reveals itself later and over time. The enhanced energy enables you to better cope with stress, so that you are less likely to become tense in the first place.”

Running is a Big Stress Buster

Aerobic exercise, such as running, can produce positive changes in mood at least on a short-term basis across both young and older adults. Running 30-minutes during a week for three weeks has been shown to boost sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Additional research showed a positive affect on trained runners who ran on a treadmill compared to untrained subjects; moderate-intensity running versus high-intensity running was shown to be have the best impact on “mood states.”

The mental benefits of running can be especially powerful for people who suffer from high anxiety and even depression. In a 2006 review published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, researchers found evidence that exercise, like running, can work in a way that is similar to how antidepressants work.

Yoga Benefits

You have probably heard before how important your breath is, especially nasal breathing. No other activity focuses more on breath than meditation and yoga. The simple act of sitting or lying supine for even a few minutes, focusing on your breath, can make an impact on both mood and stress levels. Asanas work on stretching, lengthening, balancing and releasing stress in the muscles. These various postures can help release built-up muscle tension and stiffness in the body.

According Harvard Medical School, “by reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. There is evidence that yoga also increases heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress.

Strength Training Goes a Long Way

We know regular bouts of strength training can benefit our muscles, connective tissue and bones. The affects of regular training can go well beyond that. For instance, JAMA Psychiatry, reported “people with mild to moderate depression who performed resistance training two or more days a week saw “significant” reductions in their symptoms, compared with people who did not.” The research looked at 33 randomized clinical trials involving more than 1,800 subjects, and the findings “suggested that resistance exercises may be even more beneficial for those with more severe depressive symptoms.”

Research published in American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2010) reviewed seven resistance training studies to determine if training could be used as an intervention for people with anxiety. Their review on this topic demonstrated that resistance training is in fact a meaningful intervention for people suffering from anxiety. Two of the seven studies compared the effects of high-intensity resistance training (80% of 1-RM) to moderate-intensity (50%-60% of 1-RM). The results indicated that anxiety was reduced more with moderate-intensity resistance training. Stay Strong with Jefit.

References

Yanker, G., Burton, K., Walking Medicine. McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1990.

O’Connor, P.J., Herring, M.P. and Carvalho, A. Mental health benefits of strength training in adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4(5), 377-396., 2010.

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