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

Sunday, May 06, 2018


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 Providence Fit Body Boot Camp!!

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. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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