This is a question I get asked regularly at the clinic and the easy answer is “it depends”. Depends on what? It depends on how old you are, what your fitness level is like etc, etc, most importantly it depends on what your goals are. Any exercise program should be specific to your particular goals and therefore there is no one size fits all exercise programs.
I do have some thoughts about what types of exercises are available to us here in St. James and Westwood.
If you are over 40 your goals and sensibilities around exercise are probably different then when you were in your 20’s. The time you have to devote to exercise is maybe less than when you were younger yet you recognize that the importance of making the most of this time is greater than when you were younger.
If this sounds like you, then like me, you want to get the best return on your time and effort investment. To do this there are some basic guidelines that I follow for my own exercise regime. These may work for you or they may not, depending on your specific circumstances.
HIIT training stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and over the past several years it has become the go-to recommendation for exercise for those over 40 and for those who are interested in modifying or maintaining a leaner body composition.
There are several ways to structure a HIIT style of workout but the thing they all have in common are short burst periods of difficult to very difficult of activity followed by a period of rest or recovery. One Common formula is called a Tabata workout.
The Tabata formula is 20 seconds of intense (nearly all out) exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Do this for 8 rounds which adds up to a total of a 4 min program. Sounds easy right, nope if you are doing it right it is a long 4 min.
The nice thing about this formula is that it doesn’t matter what your 20 seconds of exercise is. Running 20 on 10 off no problem, Stairs? Yup, how about Burpees? Sure thing. Almost any exercise can be incorporated in the HIIT formula.
In St. James and Westwood we are spoiled for choices on where we can go to exercise. There are lots of places and I am certainly not familiar with them all so this list is by no means exhaustive.
This is a list of local options that I am personally familiar with and by that, I mean places I have spent personal time exercising at.
This is my current favourite (full disclosure my daughter works there). This can be a very intense combination of HIIT and resistance training. What I like about it is that it is short but intense. Just show up during training hours, glove up, and be prepared to sweat.
For me, this checks off all the boxes. Quick, no wait times, HIIT and resistance, and fun (who doesn’t like kicking and punching things that don’t kick or punch back). So if you have limited time, want trainer input and are keen to work hard this is a great place.
Sometimes this is the only option life is busy and it can be hard to schedule a workout. So what to do? Put the kids to bed and watch an exercise video? I don’t have as much experience with home exercise programs as I do with getting out to the gym but I did work my way through some of the Beachbody programs, and I can tell you that insanity max 30 kicked my butt.
For more information, you can touch base with local Beachbody coach Robin Mondor. If working out at home is your thing he would be a great resource for you.
This is a nice clean facility that has everything that you need for resistance training, they also have an all-purpose room with a TRX station. On off days when I don’t get to 9 round, I often end up at Anytime.
As far as city facilities go this is a pretty good one. Lots of options, if you like to run there is a track upstairs so you can do some Tabata sprints, they also have a fully equipped weight room and of course a pool.
Where you go is not nearly as important as just getting started. Resistant exercises and HIIT style workouts can be, and should be challenging but not scary.
Make sure you consult with a health care provider before starting any type of intense exercise.
Once youstart you won’t look back because you will be too busy doing the stuff you want to do and feeling great doing it.
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