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November 27, 2005 - Resistance Training

Resistance training is fabulous for increasing strength, building stronger bones, increasing metabolism so you burn more calories when sleeping, increasing energy, improving overall function, and toning your body.  Generally, you work your muscles against resistance, stopping just before your form deteriorates, you have a little rest, and then you do it again.  A gym membership is not necessary, as much can be done with bodyweight and a Swiss ball.  If resistance training is new to you, I would highly recommend seeing a personal trainer or CHEK Practitioner for at least two or three sessions, in order to be certain that the program is appropriate for your needs, well balanced, and that you completely understand how to carry out the exercises.

Start with whole body type exercises like squats, lunges, pushes and pulls, with bodyweight or light resistance for at least three weeks, in order to strengthen the tendons and ligaments adequately before increasing the load, and always maintain excellent posture throughout each exercise.  This will help prevent injuries.  Avoid weight machines that you sit or lie on.  Exercise two to three days a week with at least one day off between sessions.  When you are going through your routine, you are breaking down the muscle tissue, so you are actually weaker at the end of the workout than you were when you started.  You need at least two days for your body to rebuild the tissue stronger than it was before.  If you do the same exercise two days in a row you are simply breaking down your tissue and you will get no strength gains.  Any of the books and videos in the general fitness and strength sections on the exercise page of my website will get you started on your resistance training routine.

After about six to eight weeks, you need to change the exercises and exercise parameters in order to continue progressing and to avoid boredom, so go see your trainer again.  A well designed resistance program done in a circuit format can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout as well, so you do not need to spend extra time on the treadmill or exercise bike.

If you are injured or have chronic pain, please see a physiotherapist or a CHEK Practitioner before you begin a resistance training program, as you may need some help with stability and motor control first.

A P.S. regarding last week's tip on GMO foods - the most common genetically modified foods are corn, soy, canola and cotton.  Unless the label says organic or non-GMO, any product that contains derivatives of those foods, such as corn starch, corn syrup, soy lecithin, soy flour etc. can be assumed to contain GMO ingredients.  Even popping corn is usually genetically modified unless otherwise indicated.  Avoiding packaged foods will also help you avoid GMO foods.

Chek, Paul; Golf Biomechanic's Manual: Whole in One Golf Conditioning  Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2001
Chek, Paul; How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!  Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.