Getting the gains

By accredited and practising professionals Chris Eldridge, Dietician (left) and Mitchell Vautin, Exercise Physiologist (right).

Despite the fact the cooler months are coming, now is as better time than ever to start thinking about taking your health and fitness to the  next level. For some, this may be increasing exercise levels, improving your diet or finally being consistent with taking your supplements  recommended by your doctor.

As with everyone, I like keeping it real and love a good analogy or two. For Tradies, this is no exception. After all, you spend so much money  and time to look after your tools, often neglecting the most important piece of equipment…yourselves!

I’m going to be touching on some structured exercise programs (with the input from a few Accredited Exercise Physiologists from Exercise  Healthcare Australia) that can be done to strengthen your own body and to assist with a common question I get asked daily as a dietitian –  “what supplements are the best for me?”.

So, what rewards come from a structured exercise program? Well, to name a few:

  • Weight Loss
  • Muscle Gain
  • Improved Mood
  • Reduced Fatigue
  • Increased Energy
  • Even… Improved Sexual Function

What do you need to do?

Resistance Exercise: To get the most benefit out of a resistance training program, you want to follow a structured program for about 6 to 8  weeks. During this time, you want to ensure you are increasing either the volume or intensity of each session, each week.

This can be done by:

  • Increasing weight for the same amount of reps
  • Increasing reps for the same amount of weight
  • Reduce rest periods
  • Super-setting Exercises
  • Increasing time under tension by slowing movements at the same weight and reps
  • Adding intensifiers, like drop sets, rest pause sets or Iso holds.

Within your program you want to ensure you include the four big movements which are:

  1. Squats, such as: Barbell Squat, Goblet Squat, Hack Squat, Leg Press, Split Squats
  2. Hinge/Thrust: Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Hip Thrust
  3. Push: Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press, Barbell/Dumbbell Overhead Press, Machine Chest Press, Machine Overhead Press
  4. Pull:, Chin Ups, Barbell or Dumbbell Rows, Cable Row, Lat Pulldowns

These exercises will form the base to a good gym program, you can then add in your accessory movements to target muscles in isolation. This may be exercise like:

  1. Arms: Bicep Curls, Tricep Pushdowns
  2. Delts: Upright Rows, Lateral Raise
  3. Chest: Dumbbell Flys, Cable Flys
  4. Calves: Calf Raises
  5. Quads: Leg Extension
  6. Hamstrings: Leg Curl
  7. Abs: Planks, Crunches, Hanging Leg Raise

Aerobic Exercise: To get all the benefits of exercise the incorporation of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is beneficial. This can be walking,  cycling, swimming, rowing, or any form of rhythmic movement. You want to do this at a minimum intensity of about a 6 out of 10. This  means you would achieve heavy breathing, and just be able to hold a short conversation. You want to do this for about 30 to 90 minutes. If  you don’t have time for that, you could work a little harder for a shorter period.

Improved fitness has been shown with high intensity efforts, most used was a 4 x 4-minute protocol, working for four minutes at a high  intensity, resting for three minutes and repeating. If that still seems unachievable another good strategy is to incorporate 5 to 10 minutes at  either the start or end of your resistance training sessions.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about supplements to improve your health and well-being!

So, many people have so many different goals that I could not possibly cover them all, so I’ll just focus on basic supplement stacks. I just  want to preface this and say all the supplementation in the world will not help if your diet is not correct. The adage “you are what you eat”, is  never truer than it is with your health. If your diet is horrible, your body reflects it.

The below stacks are what I recommend for those who are deficient in certain vitamins, or I know they will be unable to make it up through  their diet. Everyone is different, so just because an example is listed below, does not mean this is right for you.

Examples of where supplements are recommended in stacks:
Joint care: Glucosamine, Turmeric and Curcumin, Fish Oil, Chondroitin
Men’s Health: Multivitamin, Fish Oil, COQ10, Probiotic + correction for other deficiencies
Women’s Health: Multivitamin, Magnesium, Probiotic, COQ10 + correction for other deficiencies
Sports stack: Multivitamin, Fish Oil, COQ10, Probiotic, Protein Powder after working out + correction for other deficiencies.

Well, there you have it! Try some of these exercises to improve your health and wellbeing if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. Remember, not all supplements are needed and to always seek the guidance of your qualified health practitioner.