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Back To Basics

Back To The Basics

In my role as a fitness instructor/trainer, one of the first questions I am asked is “How do I get fitter? My body is not changing and I work out all the time.”

There are several things that lead to optimal training: how many times you exercise per week, how intense you exercise and what types of exercise you perform (and of course, your diet – but we’ll cover that in another blog entry).

The Principle of Overload says that to reach a desired training improvement, you have to perform at a level higher than what you are currently doing.  Often, we get so comfortable in our fitness routine, we are no longer challenging ourselves or getting out of our comfort zone (note our recent blog entry: Mind Over Matter).

By performing at a higher level (ie. heavier weights, different type of workout, anaerobic workout), your body responds to this new stress by adapting to the increase in capacity. Fitness programs that lack overload or variation will help you maintain your current level, but not improve it.

The Principle of Progression states that for continued improvement in your fitness level, you have to continually challenge yourself over time. This means gradual increases in the frequency, intensity and type of exercise you perform without increasing your risk of injury. The length of improvement will vary depending on age, current fitness level and physical limitations.

Principle of Specificity is the key to progression! It says that your body will adapt to the demands put on it. For example, you want to run your first marathon, but you’ve never run more than 3 miles. The more you train – the longer you can run, the more miles you cover, the more your body adapts to what you are asking of it (over a gradual period of time). The changes you are making are specific to that activity. So, focus on one new activity at a time to maximize your results.

So let’s recap. To see different results, you have to challenge yourself. Pick a new workout routine…or try a different fitness program. Stay consistent in your gradual increases and push yourself. Don’t just go through the movements – get out of your comfort zone. You will start to see results.

Should You Rest?
Short answer – YES! Your body needs time to recover and your musculoskeletal system needs to rebuild from vigorous exercise (note our blog entry “Give It A Rest“). You can cause more damage than good if you do not let your body rest. Overtraining can also occur when you try to increase your intensity too quickly. In both scenarios, you are more prone to injury and will not optimize the increase in your fitness level.

I always try to incorporate at least 2 days of rest into my week (no high-intensity workouts – more leisure activities).

What If I Stop Exercising?
So, now that you know how to progress your fitness level, on the other end of the spectrum, what happens if you stop for a designated length of time?  If your training is discontinued or decreased, de-training occurs. Cardio-respiratory fitness levels decrease after only 2-3 weeks without training. Muscular fitness (strength/endurance) will decrease in 2-3 months without training. Note to self: don’t stop by choice. Objects in rest tend to stay in rest. Objects in motion, stay in motion.

Have specific questions for your fitness training? Email us. We are here to help: info@heelstolaces.com

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Mind Over Matter

As several of you may have experienced when I teach Tabata, I chant a lot about mind over matter. It’s a proven fact – if you convince your mind you can do something, you can conquer it. It’s also the theme of many of our daily posts on our Facebook page HeelsToLacesFit. One of the most recent being: “It always seems impossible until it’s


There are numerous studies that have shown by controlling your mind, you control your body. This can be applied in so many ways – in times of stress (physical or mental), in your reaction to your environment, in relationships and in the power of healing.

It’s no secret I am somewhat obsessed with Deepak Chopra. In his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind,” based on quantum physics, he advises on how to “defeat entropy,” to “believe” enough to control physical changes and to “reinterpret your body” to create renewal. By practicing these philosophies (in addition to fueling our bodies with healthy diets), we can elongate our lives by perpetuating healthy physical reactions within our body, starting on a cellular level.

Our cells renew every day. In fact, 98% of the atoms in our bodies are exchanged for new ones every year.  Chopra’s premise is that the more positive our mind is, the more beneficial the effect it will have on each and every cell we reproduce in our body.

We can mentally control and change our physical reactions. It’s a fascinating concept. You can change your body, and your outlook, simply by changing your perception. It’s how we interpret our external world. If we convince our mind we can physically accomplish the task at hand, our body will follow. If we can replace stress with positive intention we can rid ourselves of the negative reactions that follow…such as aging, damage to our organs and physical ailments.

It goes back to the premise – how are you going to react to what’s in front of you?

– If you believe you can conquer it, mostly likely, you will.
– If you are fearful or convince yourself it’s not possible, chances are, you will have a difficult time and your body will shut down.

Over time, by practicing positive thinking, you will see the positive effect it will have on your body, and in turn, the image you project to the outside world. Spending less time focusing on your obstacles in front of you and more energy on how you are going to succeed effects every aspect of your being.

So I challenge you to predetermine how you will deal with your task at hand. Begin by eliminating the fear and believing you will excel. Convince your mind you are capable…and see how your body follows.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces.

  • Robin Kelley

    Love this post! I think it’s all so true. Just have to remember it when the going gets tough. Great reminder.

  • Michelle

    Changing your perspective is the best thing you can do! Ditto to this whole post. I love that we have the power inside of us to continue to make or break our mindset and if we focus on the positive energy and thinking, we will succeed in ways we never knew before. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement. Rock on!!!!

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