Why You Should Lift Heavy Every Now and Then

You’ve done it! You joined the MAC, stuck to a routine for 3 months, and have started to gain strength, endurance and even lose weight! Then things stall out... Now what? If you find that you’ve hit a stalemate in your progress, it may be time to switch things up. If you have been lifting the same amount of weight for 10-15 reps time and time again, your body will start to adapt and become used to this and stop making progress. This is where heavier lifting can come to the rescue!

It’s important to change up your exercise routine every now and then to avoid what we refer to as a plateau. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to boost your progress. It can be as simple as manipulating sets, reps and weight. In weightlifting there is an inverse relationship between intensity (weight) and volume (sets x reps), in other words: as weights get heavier, the number of reps you can do will and should decrease.

If you are ready to switch things up here’s what to do: Keep all of your exercises the same in your routine and increase the weights by 5-10lbs and decrease reps by 2-4. For example 10 reps at 10 lbs should become 6-8 reps at 20lbs. The weights and exercises should feel difficult but not impossible. If you are struggling to squeeze out the last rep every exercise, then the weight is too heavy. Making this change will give your body the shock it needs and help break through your plateau. In addition to helping your fitness progress, lifting heavy has a myriad of other benefits including strengthening of bones and tissues, increasing muscle mass, and increasing confidence. Respectively, this can mean a decrease in injuries from falls, an increase in fat burning capability, and a higher self-esteem!

Once you have performed your routine at the heavier weight for 4-6 weeks you can switch back to your old routine of higher reps. You should find that the weights you were once using feel much lighter so be sure to increase weight. Continue to flip-flop between these

The most important thing when lifting heavier weights is that your form is near perfect. Lifting heavier weights increases stress and load on your body and if done improperly can lead to injury. If you are unsure about your exercise form and technique or want to learn more ways to shake up your training, contact a MAC trainer or join one of our great programs like WomenStrong that will instruct you to lift with proper form and technique.

Written by: Matt Pudvah
SPI Programs Director & Head Strength Coach
Manchester Athletic Club

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More Than Just a Trophy

A big personal goal that I set for the MAC Tennis Academy program from its very beginning is that above any trophy or good results, the  program would always focus first on the development of the athlete as a person. A child that has respect for his or her peers, for the environment, and for the rest of the people around them is going to be a child with a better chance of maximizing his or her potential as an athlete. Beyond all of that, a kid who is respectful, but also grateful for the opportunity to train at an awesome place like the MAC and be surrounded by incredible people day in and day out, is what the program reinforces all the time.

During the past few months, the entire MAC program, and a many people from our general membership, donated a bunch of used rackets, bags, clothes, and shoes. In recent weeks, one of our long time students, Jennifer Riester and most of her immediate family, did a tennis trip to Cali Colombia (South America). This was NOT the usual trip for someone training in the academy: a national or international tournament. This trip was about service and gratefulness. Jennifer and her family took all of the donations and spent an entire week teaching tennis, English and spreading the equipment to less privileged kids who love the sport and who look to the sport to give them a chance for a better future.

The entire experience was so impactful that it inspired us to think of new ways to help. The lives of those kids were touched positively forever by the generosity of our program and the love, care and good lessons that the Riesters provided. Their trip was about supporting those kids’ dreams and possibilities without expecting anything in return. A big Thank you to the entire Riester family for taking a leadership position to manifest our gratefulness for being a part of this beautiful sport and incredible community.

Written By:  Francisco Montoya
MAC Tennis Academy Director

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Taking Women’s Health to Heart

I recently attended a continuing education webinar with one of my medical guru’s Dr. Cynthia Geyer. Dr Geyer is the medical director at Canyon Ranch, she is triple board certified in functional, lifestyle and internal medicine; she is also on the team of Food as Medicine faculty at Kripalu where I received my certification as a Food as Medicine Coach.

Dr. Geyer and her team have done extensive research on heart disease and women and what they have discovered is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over 50. One third of women over 50 will die of a heart attack or stroke. These statics are alarming however; lifestyle and exercise can greatly reduce this risk.

It is important to be aware of the risk factors such as family history, obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, stress and the western diet. Women who have frequent migraines and suffer from Raynaud’s disease also have an increased risk of a cardiac event. You can evaluate your risk at www.goredforwomen.org

35 % of US adults and 50% of those over 60 meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome which increases your risk of diabetes, heart attack or stroke. So what can we do?

80% of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes may be preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle.

What constitutes a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, proper body composition, no smoking, low alcohol intake, eating whole foods, proper sleep and keeping stress levels low. Sadly, only 2% of the US population meets this criteria.

Dr Geyer and her team have looked at a number of different studies on lifestyle and heart health.The INTERHEART Study looked at psychosocial stress levels across 52 different countries.What they discovered is that our emotions and stress levels are reflected in our heart rhythms. When we are frustrated or stressed, our heart rhythms are short and jagged, when we are in a deep state of appreciation, our heart rhythms are long, supple and smooth, like a wave.

Nutrition plays a key role in women’s heart health, Dr Geyer recommends the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable plan. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, polyphenols, folate, vitamins C and E. Late night eating increases the risk of obesity by 50%, try to have your last meal of the day at least 3-4 hours before you go to bed. If you must eat late, eat light.

Proper sleep is extremely important for heart health, try to create a sanctuary for sleep, turn of all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime, develop a meditation practice if you have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Exercise with a friend or in a group. Djembe drumming, which is a low to moderate form of exercise ; lowers stress and anxiety.  Interestingly, when drumming in a circle or in a group, everyone’s heart rhythms synchronize.

Your Mac team is here for you offering fitness, wellness, group exercise, massage and acupuncture. Together we can assist you with your lifestyle and fitness goals.

Written By: Marlene Dickinson
Holistic Wellness Coach/Director of Wellness
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition/Food as Medicine

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