Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Words of Inspiration
feeling of belonging can provide one
considerable social support, which directly
promotes happiness and health. Indeed, hundreds
of studies have documented that social support
has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular
system, the endocrine system, the immune system,
and even on gene expression (Cacioppo & Patrick,
2008; Uchino et al., 1996). Being social
excluded seems to have a negative impact on all
people, even when people are rejected by those
who they vilify (Williams, 2007).
People with greater perceived social support
enjoy greater self-esteem, fewer illnesses, and
longer lives. In fact, research has shown that
people not only demonstrate better outcomes
(e.g., less depression, less loneliness, greater
self-esteem, greater happiness) from better
quality relationships with people, but that even
the quality of interactions with one's dog can
provide additional benefits above and beyond
human social support (McConnell et al., 2011).
Social connection is a perception rather than an
objective quality, and many sources may play an
important role in augmenting one's sense of
connection and belongingness. Act now.
Question & Answer
I am completely frustrated. I have been counting calories, lifting weights and
doing massive amounts of cardio. I have stopped burning fat. No longer can I fit
into smaller and smaller clothes; the scale is unchanged for days, perhaps
weeks. I have hit a weight-loss plateau.
If your workout has hit a snag, don't despair.
By implementing the following strategies, you
can blast through a plateau and take your
physique to new heights.
Create A Game Plan
The first step in creating a game plan is to
clarify your fitness goals. Determine what you
want to get out of your training efforts. Is it
more size? Better symmetry? Enhanced definition?
Each of these objectives requires specific
training protocols and, thus, a different game
plan. By defining exactly where you want to go,
you'll have a much easier time getting there.
Once you have qualified your goals, you then can
formulate a routine. It is important to plan out
each workout in advance. You must know precisely
what you are going to do prior to entering the
gym. Decide on the exercises, sets and reps that
you will perform. Write them down, if necessary.
Account for any possible contingencies. In this
way, nothing will be left to chance.
During training, avoid any interruptions or
distractions that might arise. Now is not the
time to socialize or daydream. Save these
activities until after you've completed your
last set. All of your energies should be focused
on carrying out your game plan. Remember, your
time in the gym is precious. If you want to make
ongoing progress, make sure that every moment is
Vary Your Routine
The best way to avoid complacency is by
constantly varying your exercise regimen.
Variety is the spice of training. Not only does
it help to keep your workouts fresh, but it also
fosters more complete development of your
physique. You see, the human body is a very
resourceful entity and readily adapts to a
repetitive stress. When the same stimulus is
applied on a regular basis, the body doesn't
respond as well to the stimulus. Only by keeping
your body off guard will you continue to reap
One way to vary your routine is by utilizing a
wide array of exercises. You should strive to
perform different movements every time you
train. For instance, if you normally perform
bicep curls, cable curls and concentration curls
for your biceps, change your routine to include
hammer curls and incline bench curl in your next
session. In the following workout, you might
employ preacher curls. There are dozens and
dozens of different exercises at your
disposal-make use of as many as possible.
Another way to interject variety is by changing
the composition of your routine. If, for
example, you work your back and chest on Monday,
shoulders and arms on Wednesday, and legs on
Friday, switch things around so you train
shoulders, chest and triceps on Monday, legs on
Wednesday, and back and biceps on Friday. Or
perhaps split your routine into four days,
performing shoulders and triceps on Monday, back
and hamstrings on Tuesday, chest and biceps on
Thursday and quadriceps and calves on Friday.
You could even employ a total body workout where
each major muscle group is trained with only one
basic exercise. As you can see, by using a
little ingenuity, the possibilities for
variation are endless.
Go All Out
In order to elicit further gains, you need to
train harder and harder. If you don't, a plateau
An excellent way to generate increased intensity
is by the selective use of forced repetitions.
Forced reps allow you to go "beyond" failure,
taking your body as far as it can go. The only
caveat is that you need the assistance of a
spotter. When you reach the point of muscular
failure, have the spotter gently help you to
pump out an extra rep or two. It's important,
though, to limit the amount of forced reps to no
more than two per set. Any more and your partner
will be doing the majority of work.
Allow for Adequate Recovery
Contrary to popular belief, weight training
doesn't build up your muscles-it breaks them
down. Intense anaerobic exercise places
tremendous demands on your body, resulting in a
catabolism of muscle tissue, depletion of
glycogen reserves, production of free-radicals
and overall fatigue of your entire neuromuscular
system. Adaptations to these stresses take place
during rest. Provided that you have trained hard
enough to stimulate muscular gains, your body
will use the recovery period to repair,
replenish and regenerate itself, growing bigger
and stronger in the process. If recuperation is
shortchanged, you're destined to hit a plateau
or even regress in your training efforts.
Without question, rest is a critical component
of exercise. It is almost as important as
training itself. All too often, women mistakenly
subscribe to the theory that if a little bit is
good more must be better. They go to the gym and
pound their body on a daily basis, rarely taking
a day off. Don't fall into this trap! The
accrual of muscular mass is your body's way of
preparing to cope with future high-intensity
stresses. By training too frequently, your body
never has the chance to adequately recover from
the extreme demands being placed on it.
Inevitably, you will become grossly over-trained
and muscular growth will be brought to a
grinding halt. With respect to weight training,
less can be more!
But how much is too much? Since everyone has
varying recuperative abilities, this is a
difficult question to answer. However, a good
rule of thumb is to allow 48 hours between
intense training sessions. This generally will
be sufficient for your body to replenish its
energy stores and facilitate neuromuscular
repair. According to WF fitness experts it is
best to schedule workouts on three,
non-consecutive days per week (i.e. Monday,
Wednesday, Friday, etc), with off-days reserved
for light, relaxed activities. While you can
experiment with other combinations (i.e.
two-on/one-off, two-on/two-off, etc), be very
conscious as to how your body recovers between
It is better to under train than
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