Karl Henry's 10 steps to turn your health around
Step 4: learn the benefits of resistance training
Last week we looked at cardiovascular exercise and why it is so important. This week, we will look at resistance exercise. Each week I have given you a resistance exercise to do and this week I want you to up the ante and do all four for your resistance training workout.
So you will perform your tricep dip, side leg raises, table press up and your static ski squat in that order. Perform each one for one minute before catching your breath and moving on to the next one. This will give you a good full body workout.
Resistance exercise is the most beneficial form of exercise that you can do, it will deliver more benefits than any other form of exercise and when done properly, it is one of the safest ways to workout, yet people are scared of it for different reasons.
It is ideal if you are overweight or a bit older as it is more controlled and you are less likely to put pressure on your joints as you could with running, for example. Other people fear getting muscular - that is a very common fear but ask any athlete how difficult it is to build muscle and your fears will be allayed. The reality is that any one of any age can do resistance training and my role is to simplify it.
So what is it? Resistance training is any form of training that uses a weight. The weight can be your own body or else a form of weight such as a dumbbell, barbell, medicine ball or kettlebell.
Some of the benefits are:
* Endorphin release
* Anti-ageing benefits
* Human growth hormone production
* Reduction of body fat
* More tone and shape
* Improved bone strength and density
* Stress reduction
The style of training I have used in the 10 step turnaround so far is perfect for people of all fitness levels. No matter what fitness level you are at you simply work to the talk test point, where you feel out of breath but can still hold a conversation. As with any new exercise programme, check with your doctor before you begin.
If you find that the plan is too easy then you can look to other areas to supplement your workouts such as Health & Living magazine, which comes with this paper every Monday, the fitness section of independent.ie or the Operation Transformation website.
Don't forget the cardio though - you need to keep pushing yourself in this area too. We are building on the previous weeks, so each week should be a little bit harder. Good luck with the steps and keep up the good work!
Week four food task:
Add healthy fats. Snack on nuts or seeds - no more than a palmful or 1/4 of an avocado once a day and pour olive oil, coconut oil or rapeseed oil over salads.
Five foods for the fridge
1 beetroot: Beetroot is great for the body and a great way to flavour salads and dinners. They are great for your digestive system and actually a very good test for the efficiency of your digestion, as you don't absorb much from the beetroot, it passes through you quite quickly if your digestive system is working well.
2 Organic soups: Soups are quick and handy, full of nutrients and something that you should always have in the fridge or freezer. If you are buying them, avoid the creamy ones and aim for lots of vegetables. A really healthy alternative when you are just in the door from work!
3 White meats, turkey or chicken: White sliced meats are high in protein, low in fat and super handy when you are looking for a healthy snack in between meals. Ideally go for organic here too or even better, why not cook a chicken or turkey at the weekend and slice it yourself for during the week?
4 Jalapenos/chillis: Spicy foods are great for your body, metabolism and overall health. The hotter the dish the better so you can mix up the spices to suit. I use jalapeños in salads and stir frys all the time and find that they are a great way to flavour your foods without adding calories.
5 Water: We all know that you should be getting between two to three litres of water a day for optimum health, but water is even better for you when served cold. So try to store your water in the fridge and drink it cold, adding in some lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar to give it a kick.
* Check your weight, waist measurement and your fitness levels to measure your progress.
* Up your efforts on resistance and try and do the four exercises you have learned during your resistance workouts. Always work to your ability and take breaks.
* Add fats. Eat oats or eggs for breakfast, have greens with at least two meals and swap your white food for brown.
Week four: summary
Exercises at a glance
Tuesday: Resistance - Tricep dip, side leg raises, static ski squat , Table press-up- five sets of one minute for each
Wednesday: Fitness test
Thursday: Resistance - as Tuesday
Friday: Cardio (running, walking or tennis, etc)
Saturday: As Thursday
Exercise of the week
What you need: Table, bench or a wall
Frequency: Perform the exercise for one minute, take a break and repeat x 4
Sit on the chair, place your hands either side of your hips
Place your feet out in front. To make the exercise harder simply place your feet further away.
Simply lower your bum towards the floor, bending your elbows and keeping your back close to the chair and then return to the start.