Thursday, March 13, 2008

Health Week: Working Out!

No matter who you are, exercise needs to be an important part of your life. As a pageant contestant, whether you’re naturally thin or working to drop a few pounds, consistently working out needs to be a part of your routine for two key reasons:

1. You’ll never get the results you want if you only workout the month or two before a pageant; trust me, I know this from experience!

2. If you are fortunate enough to win a state or national title, you will need stamina to stay healthy as your body undergoes the shock of a new schedule and stress of traveling and speaking.

I am by no means an expert, but Loren and I recently joined a brand new gym and the information I learned in my complimentary personal training session blew my mind!
Check it out:

Work your muscles first, then do cardio!

I had always done it the other way around, and thus had been doing myself a great disservice. This website can describe why better than me:

When you eat carbohydrates, the body stores them in the form of glycogen in your liver. Then, as you need to use them for energy, the glycogen stores are used until they are depleted. The problem is that the body will not burn fat until the glycogen stores are depleted. In other words, until you burn all your stored carbs, the body will not turn to your fat stores for energy and no fat will be burned. Now for the really bad news. Studies have indicated that it can take as much as 29 minutes of cardiovascular activity to deplete your glycogen stores. So, when you did that 30 minute cardio session after eating carbs sometime within several hours of beginning the session, you burned fat for a whopping minute--ONE MINUTE.

So, the best thing to do is burn your glycogen by working your muscles, whatever that means to you- free weights, resistance machines, exercise and medicine balls, etc…
THEN, after you’ve burnt your glycogen by building your muscles, do cardio to burn fat!

Even if you don’t think you like weight training, for every pound of lean muscle you have, your body will burn fifty calories a day automatically- without you doing a thing! Keep in mind, when you work your muscles you’re tearing them at the cellular level; the repair processes as you rest is what builds them. Thus, you need to allow your body to repair itself by waiting a couple days between muscle groups.

One last key that the trainers stressed is that people reach work out plateaus because your muscles get used to whatever it is you’re doing. About every two weeks it’s important that you do different types of exercises to shock your body.



  1. As a former certified teacher and trainer myself, I will agree with almost everything you said. These principles apply the most if you do your workouts in the afternoon, after work, etc. If you get up and workout first thing in the morning, cardio will burn through the stored glycogen from the previous day AND rev up your metabolism for the entire day ahead. It's very important not to have ANYTHING BUT WATER before that initial workout though, or your going to be in the scenario you stated about burning off what you just ate OR drank. If you can't work out in the morning, the best thing possible for your body is to have a good breakfast with a lean protein, a minimal complex carb, and a good unsaturated fat. Breakfast is quite possibly the best tool for weight loss. You MUST eat to start your metabolism's burning mechanism, with the protein for muscle growth, the complex carb for brain function, and the fat for satiety. Studies have shown that combination of foods to be the key. More carbs, less fat=hunger pangs more frequently and quicker than it's counterpart.

  2. Thanks for the tip about working the muscles first and then doing cardio. I've always done it the other way too. Today when I went to the gym I tried working my muscles first and then doing cardio, and I felt a HUGE difference. I couldn't believe it! Thanks!!!


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