To Your Health
February, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 02)
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Body by Design

By Dr. Daniel J. Cruoglio

When you walk into a gym, there is a different contraption in every corner promising results. But of course, not all exercise equipment provides the same type of workout. Should you use the treadmill, bicycle, free weights or exercise ball to get the results you're looking for? Get the answers you need to maximize your fitness efforts.

Putting together a successful health and fitness program can be easy once you know what goals you want to achieve and then take the action steps to make it happen. Whether your goals are to lose weight, build more muscle or just get in good physical condition, you will find the following information valuable in helping you get started.

There are three things that are essential for designing your ideal body: proper diet, resistive training and cardiovascular training. Having knowledge in each of these areas will help when it comes to designing your program.

1. Proper Diet

A water bottle. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The saying "You are what you eat" is certainly true if you are not providing your body with the proper nourishment it needs for you to function at your optimal level. Dr. James Chestnut, author of The 14 Foundational Premises, The Innate Diet, Innate Physical Fitness and The Innate State of Mind, says we are either deficient or toxic. We are either putting things into our body that are not good for us or we are depriving our body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to sustain us. In any workout it is important to drink water because it helps to prevent headaches and cramping, as well as to maintain your energy level. When doing resistance training, it is important to ingest protein within 30 to 60 minutes of a workout so the muscle can undergo growth and recovery. Protein should consist of eggs, chicken, fish and lean beef. When shopping for beef, it is always better to buy grass-fed rather than grain-fed beef. Good fats such as omega-3s, which can be found in cold-water fish like salmon, and good carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables, are essential in overall function. For more information on diet and proper nutrition, consult with your chiropractor.

2. Resistive Training

A pair of dumbbell weights. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Deciding whether to work out with free weights or plate-loaded machines will be determined by what you actually want to accomplish. Each one has its pros and cons. When using free weights, you will be working not only the intended muscle but also the stabilizing muscles. For example, when doing a bench press you are working the chest muscles, but in order to accomplish that movement you will be activating the triceps and rotator cuff muscles which are stabilizing the movement to prevent buckling. Free weights are an excellent way to increase overall function as you increase your strength. Because you are also using the stabilizing muscles, you are not going to be lifting as much weight as you would with the weight machines.

The weight machines are designed to isolate the intended target muscle and thus not get the stabilizing muscles involved. As a result, you will be able to lift more weight with the weight machine than you would with the free weights. So if you are looking to increase your strength and develop a specific muscle, the weight machine is your choice. If you are looking to rehab an injury or develop proprioception, balance and strength, free weights will be the way to go.