Tips From An Exercise Specialist That You May Not Know

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Exercise specialists have advice on all aspects of fitness at the individual level including diet, nutrition, creating a workout routine and more.  It is important to be knowledgeable about what to do both before and after you start a workout routine in order to reach your full potential.

Should we stretch after every workout? If yes for how long?

Amanda LaPointe: Yes. Stretching after the workout is super important. This tends to be a question that I get asked frequently. The idea is to stretch after your workout in a static way where you are holding the stretch. It is best to do this type of stretching afterwards because your muscles are super warm and warmed up. You just moved around a lot so there is a lot blood flow going on. If you really need to change the quality of the shape or the length of the muscle tissue it is really great to do it afterwards when you are nice and warm. It really depends as far as the time goes, maybe 5 minutes, depending on how many things you need to stretch. You maybe spend a minute or two on one area and move on to the next.

What is really important is the fact that you are stretching the things that need to be stretched. Some people may not even realize that and they go to stretch their hamstrings but they do not know that their hamstrings are already nice and lengthened. They do not really need to be stretching them. Overstretching is not really a great thing. That is where you have to know where you need the stretching and where you might not need it so you are not stretching something that does not need to be stretched and that you are not avoiding stretching something that really could use a stretch.

What is the best pre and post workout meal?

Amanda LaPointe: Yeah that tends to be another question too a lot of people ask. I am really big on making sure that you are just eating real good quality foods. At lot of times before and after your workouts the food tends to be the same so you always want to get some carbs and protein in before and after you workout.  You are going to get a little bit more carbs to give you some energy to get through your workout but you want to still get that protein during and right after your workout.  That way you are building and repairing by using that protein. After obviously a little bit more protein and some carbs in there to just refuel what you just used. It is just really important to make sure that you are getting real food and that it is good quality. Obviously if you do a workout you do not want to go eat something kind of crappy right after, but it really tends to be carbs and protein before and after.

Should we work out at the same time every day?

Amanda LaPointe: That is a good question. I want to say that I as an individual I tend to tell people to do what works best for them. Each person is different so if somebody really likes working out in the morning and they are a person that wants to get up and do their workout and then go to work they should probably do that, but if there is somebody who can not climb out of bed super early in the morning to work out then they probably should not be working out in the morning.

It really depends on what time works best for you and then creating that habit. If people struggle to even get to the gym, to even get to a workout, if going to a workout after work at 6:00 is going to help you create that habit and continue to get you working out then yeah you should probably work out at that same time every day if that is going to help you reach your goals. It is really about what works best for you. If you can stick to that schedule, stick to it, especially if you are someone who needs some extra motivation or a little extra push. It is really about the individual.

Should we follow a set routine to get the best results or mix it up?

Amanda LaPointe: My initial answer is definitely mix it up. I am a big fan of mixing things up throughout the workout each day. I hardly ever do the same thing when I work out. Again depending on the goals. If there is an athlete who needs to put on muscle mass and they need to get a lot stronger for their sport they are probably going to want to focus in and maybe do the same things or at least similar things for 4 weeks or 6 weeks or something like that.

If you are the general population, you want to move better, you want to feel better, you should probably switch things up. Maybe that means every single day you are going do the same type of workout but tweak things up depending on how you feel.  Maybe that means going to a yoga class one day and then going to a different type of class the next day. As much as you can mix it up you should mix it up unless you really, really have a specific goal that you are focusing on.

Even with that goal you can tweak things up a little bit and get some variation in there because if you do too much of the same thing that will create some problems too. Maybe you are going to lift heavy weights and do those shoulder presses all the time and that will get you stronger but that might run you into some overuse issues and stuff like that. It is always good to at least change it up a little bit even if you have a goal that means you have to do the same thing week to week. A little variety is always good.

Do nutritional supplements make a difference? If yes what is the best to take?

Amanda LaPointe: With supplements, this can get a little bit tough because there is so many out there. There is so many that we don’t really know the quality of them. We don’t know if they are good quality. We don’t necessarily know what is in them. You have to be really careful in what you are going to put in your body. For me, I have never been a huge fan of using supplements, diet stuff like that. Maybe when I was working out super hard I would have a protein drink after my workout or at night or something like that.

Talking about nutritional supplements more on a nutrition and health topic, I have gotten blood work done so I know for me specifically what I need to be taking because of what I’m lacking. If I were to tell anybody that they are interested in getting some supplements I would tell them to try to find a place where they can get blood work done so they can see exactly what they need. What is the point if someone thinks they are low in iron just because they have some of the symptoms or something and they are taking an iron supplement but come to find out when they do their blood work they are not low in iron. They are just wasting their money by getting that supplement. Just finding out exactly what you need, there is no point in supplementing if you do not need the supplement in that area.

You just want to be really careful in what you are going to take and try to get blood work if you can so you know exactly what you need. From there, I am right now just taking a multivitamin based on my blood work and maybe using some collagen here and there, but I know what I need. Because of that blood work I know exactly what I need and that is what I take. They do work as long as you know what you need. If it is making you feel good and making you feel better then of course take it.

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