Total Therapy Blog
Matrimonial – Fitness for the Groom
Spring is in the air, and wedding season is gearing up for many soon-to-be wed couples. Getting married is a momentous, happy occasion, but it can also equal a lot of stress. The next few articles, we’ll help you navigate the rollercoaster that is wedding planning. We’ll cover everything from staying fit and healthy, to maintaining your mental sanity, so you can enjoy the process and more importantly, your wedding day.We’ve covered fitness for the bride, but what about fitness for the groom? Society has a different set of standards for guys vs. girls. Generally speaking, the pressure is on being “built”. Call it a good ol’ case of prejudice, but guys are supposed to be big, muscular types easily capable of carrying off their brides.
OK – so we’ll leave the psychology of body images to the experts. What we will do here is provide you with a few pointers on how to get in shape safely and effectively. We also want to emphasize that sustainable change is key here – getting into shape is a lifestyle change, not just a one-shot deal to fill out a tux. Think of it like a wedding present to yourself and your partner – you’re becoming healthier for the long term.
So here it goes – fitness from the male perspective:
1. Do a warm-up
How many times have you seen a guy enter the gym and go straight for the weight racks? Not only is this unsafe practice, it also makes your workout less effective. A brief, 5 minute warm-up helps increase blood flow, reducing the risk of injury and enhancing the muscle’s ability to contract. This means you can do more in your workout without injuring yourself.
2. Start with big muscle groups first
Elite bodybuilders are familiar with the start “big and then go small” principle. The reasoning behind this is that smaller muscle groups are often “weaker” than their larger counterparts. If you train the smaller ones first, they’ll already be fatigued when you go to train the larger ones. As a result, you won’t be able to train your larger muscles as effectively because the smaller ones will already be maxed out. For example, train your pecs before you do triceps work – that way, you can adequately train the larger group without having pre-stressed the smaller, supporting muscles.
3. Mix it up
Doing the same routine over and over again is not only boring, but less effective. Muscles adapt – if you challenge them in the same way each time, you’ll hit a plateau. Building muscle mass is an energy-intensive process, so if the body can find other ways of doing things (e.g. increased neuromuscular activation), it will. By mixing-up your routine, your body will be forced to build muscle tissue instead of using other adaptations. For example, rotate between chin-ups, bent-over rows, and cable pull downs to train your lats. If you’re stuck in a rut, consider consulting with a personal trainer for fresh ideas.
4. Use proper form
Ok, so lifting bigger weights looks impressive. However, if you’re swinging your entire upper body into that biceps curl, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Good form maximizes the effectiveness of your workout because it forces you to actually train the muscle you want to target. Good form is also crucial for injury prevention. Poor lifting form can damage joints, stretch ligaments, and strain muscles. The last thing you want to do is throw your back out.
Supersetting involves alternating between different muscle groups, without rest. This lets you do more in one session and keeps your heart rate higher, helping you burn fat. For example, try doing one set of biceps curls, and then immediately go into triceps extensions. The biceps get a break in between, but you keep working. You do not want to train two muscle groups that do the same action back-to-back (e.g. don’t alternate chest press with triceps extensions). Consulting with a personal trainer can be helpful to figure out what muscles can be supersetted.
6.A little bit goes a long way
If you’re time-crunched, you can still get results. Studies have shown that short, high-intensity workouts are as effective as longer, low-intensity ones (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311123639.htm). Try working in bursts of high-intensity work like box jumps or jump squats. Use supersetting and circuit training to keep your heart rate up. Try timing your water breaks to reduce your down-time (in most cases, a 90s rest between similar exercises is more than adequate). Make sure you consult with a healthcare practitioner before starting a high-impact program, though. Your doctor, physiotherapist, or kinesiologist can work with you to develop a program that matches your current fitness level and health goals.
Whatever you end up doing, make sure it’s safe and sustainable. Think of it like the ultimate wedding present – you’re not just investing in a one-shot deal. You’re investing in health, so you (just like your union) can be there for the long haul.
What programs have you tried before? Do you have any favourite tricks to maximize your fitness routine? Got any concerns regarding your pre-nuptial plans?