REST: An important component for strength gains and weight loss

Stretching can be part of a de-load programAs we approach one of our planned hiatus weeks at our San Jose and Campbell boot camp locations, I thought it might be a good idea to address something many folks don’t even consider in their strength training or fat loss programs: REST.  Yes.  That’s right.  REST.

In order to continue to make gains in strength, endurance and even fat loss—-you need to schedule some planned rest time.  All that change you’re trying to create through exercise– bigger muscles, leaner muscles, or a smaller waistline  —creates stress on and in your body.  Working hard and challenging your body to get better is a good thing, but on occasion you need to back off on the challenges you give your body.

In the fitness industry, we often refer to these planned periods of reduced training volume or intensity as “de-load” phases. The term de-loading is often associated with the finely tuned, periodized training protocols that high level athletes do. I think this concept also has a place in our boot camp programs because of the intense nature of the workouts we do.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of doing some sort of exercise 5-6 days a week. But I am NOT an advocate of high intensity training 5 days a week (which is why no single lifeSport Fitness boot camp location operates more than 3 times a week).  My opinion is that the stuff we do at boot camp — high intensity interval training, plyometric moves and sprint work — is too rigorous to do 5 days a week, week in and week out.  I advocate for  longer , lower intensity workouts on off days for campers who are with us 3 times a week.

But I digress–back to the story of why rest is important…………

If we go hard day in and day out and we never take a rest, two things can happen:  1)  Injury, or 2) Lack of progress.  Neither of these things is a good thing for someone who is exercising for results, right?

So, what does a rest period look like?

Not necessarily this:

Rest is an important component in an exercise program


A rest week from 3-day a week boot camp workouts might simply mean changing the intensity and the patterns of stress on our body.  For instance taking a Pilates or Yoga class, going for a hike, or swimming.  All of these suggestions are lower intensity forms of movement that don’t have a heavy duty strength component to them.  Therefore, you exercise at a lower heart rate for a longer time, and you move your body through different patterns of movement than you do at boot camp.  Easy peasy.

Although high level athletes often take a de-load week every 4-5 weeks, I think for our purposes a de-load week every 8-12 weeks is a good idea.  With only 5 de-load weeks a year,  we don’t take quite that many weeks off in our program.  However, I figure that most campers miss a week of camp here and there due to vacations and business travel (or hitting the snooze button too many times!), so you’re most likely de-loading yourself from time to time.

If you are a current lifeSport Fitness camper, next week is your week to move in different patterns, decrease your workout intensity, or work on corrective exercises if you’re nursing a sore shoulder, back or knee.  While you’re at it–do a little foam rolling and book a massage!

If you aren’t a lifeSport Fitness customer and you exercise hard 3-4 times a week, have you had a “de-load” week lately?  Consider taking one.  It just might be the break your body needs to come back stronger and healthier in order to keep training hard again and stay injury free.


Committed to your success,




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Vitamin C and Recovery from Exercise

Oranges are a good source of Vitamin CIt is no secret that certain vitamins can not only contribute to better overall health and life longevity but some may not be aware of the fact that vitamins can also help our bodies heal quicker than they normally would without vitamins. For those who participate in sports activities or exercise program, accidents and injuries are to be expected. One vitamin that is aggressive in helping our bodies recover is Vitamin C. Here is what you should know about Vitamin C and recovery from exercise.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is one of nature’s best gifts whether ingested it in pill form or from food sources. Because it has antioxidant properties and components it naturally assists our bodies in growth, production and healing. Vitamins in general fall within one of two categories-either water soluble or fat soluble. Vitamin C falls in the water soluble category which simply means is has the ability to dissolve easily and therefore the benefits we get from it are quick. Water soluble vitamins transition or pass through our urine as well and help regulate the toxins within our systems.

Each time we take something into our bodies, our metabolism works hard to process it. Vitamins that are water soluble such as Vitamin C are easily processed and therefore our bodies can absorb what it needs and flushes what isn’t needed (or the excess) out with ease.

Benefits of Vitamin C

With regard to exercise, Vitamin C is essential not only in the preparatory stages of exercising but it also plays a key role in helping our bodies recover from aches, pains and injuries. When we exercise we are naturally putting strain on our joints, tendons and muscles so we need to take preventative measures to not over strain them and to be responsible in helping them to repair themselves when we do over-extend.

Our bodies contain massive amounts of tissue that connects our muscles and ligaments. Vitamin C plays a vital part in strengthening and repairing these tissues, particularly the connective ones. Since Vitamin C is stored within the tissues, it has direct access and can aid in promoting healthy tissue development. Additionally Vitamin C has antioxidants that have been shown to assist with oxidative damage that often occurs during exercising. This type of damage is sustained and caused by free radicals within the air that we breathe and can deteriorate our cell functions.

Because antioxidants also promote healthy immune systems, our bodies will recover from illness and exercise related injuries much quicker than someone who has an infected or compromised immune system. This is especially true once we begin to age because our bones, muscles and connective tissues are more fragile than they were in our younger years.

Taking Vitamin C for pre- and post-exercise regimes

Whether you’re a high level athlete or just beginning to incorporate regular exercise into your life, the benefits that one can obtain from taking recommended doses of Vitamin C are vast. Many health professionals recommend that you take Vitamin C on a daily basis. Because Vitamin C is soluble, it doesn’t remain in our systems permanently; our body will absorb what it needs and secrete the rest through sweat and urine, therefore we have to offer our body a steady stream of it for it to be beneficial.

Taking the proper dose of Vitamin C prior to working out can prevent muscle aches and pain and can also assist the repair of injuries at a much quicker rate. The recommended dose of daily Vitamin C will vary depending on your own physiological make up as well as the intensity of your regime. Professionals generally recommend anywhere from 400 to 3,000 mg of vitamin C per day.

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Oranges in glass