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Fit For Life: Don’t Cut Gym Time This Summer

Monday, May 07, 2018
Matt Espeut, GoLocalPDX Health +Lifestyle Contributor

Whenever someone tells me they are going to take time out of the gym for the summer because they are going to exercise outside, I always cringe because they are making a big mistake.

To truly get fit, you need to do more than gardening, walking the dog, or strolling in the park.

Just as important as good nutrition, you still need three to five days of strength training, some functional movements, metabolic circuits, in order for you have a great program to get you strong, fit, and moving well.

  • What is metabolic training?
  • What is strength training?
  • What does cardio mean?
  • Run, life cycle, elliptical??


Usually when people in a gym environment or the people that exercise outside say they did cardio, this consists of 30-60 minutes of some redundant movement pattern on some motorized piece of equipment lining the walls of the gym, equipped with tv and magazine racks or they are walking the park or neighborhood at a low intensity pace.

Now don’t get me wrong, getting outside in the fresh air and doing some extra steps throughout the day IS beneficial, but no substitute for intense exercise.

Unless you are running sprints, hiking hills and trails, or doing some power biking, you can’t say it replaces a structured exercise program.

Metabolic or HIIT training is what it takes to make a difference.

The body responds much better to short bursts of intense activity, followed by brief periods of rest, using different movements and routines.

Exactly what we program at my gym!

This makes the heart and lungs stronger by involving peak contractions, similar to the way you train other muscles.

Doing cardio at the same pace only teaches the heart and lungs to be efficient, not stronger.

Exercises such as dumbbell rows, squats, med ball slams, and band rotations can be performed in a sequential order either for time or reps, followed by brief rest periods.

The rest is important for recovery, allowing you to work out at a higher intensity, therefore netting better results.

Strength training or resistance is the most important type of exercise you can do.

When asked, I always recommend strength first. Not only does this make you more stable, exercises like squats, and lunges make you move better.

Resistance and intensity varies, depending on the clientele.

For instance, all my clients press and squat, but a 21-year-old rugby player would work at a higher intensity then the average Mrs. Jones, trying to improve overall fitness.

Another big reason for strength training, is that it builds muscle and muscle is a more efficient tissue, and burns more calories at rest, thus allowing us to look better and appear leaner.

Build muscle and burn fat are the results of strength and metabolic training and that is what it takes to get fit.

So, before you decide to substitute outdoor activities for a structured exercise program, think of all the benefits you will be missing.

Yes, get outside, and yes, enjoy our short summer, but don’t put the program that will get you true fitness results on ice for the season.


Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. 

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