How dieting makes you fat

How dieting makes you fat

“I am going on a diet”. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I have heard these exact words uttered over and over again. And quite often from the same people.

So what happens next?  The calorie counting starts. The daily morning weigh in. Salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You lose a bit of weight the first week or two, then it stops. Frustration sets in. You have deprived yourself of all the foods you love and eventually you crack. Pizza, burgers, cake, cookies. An all-out binge. The worst part of it is that you end up weighing more than you did when you started. Sound familiar?

Going cold turkey from eating the foods you love is a recipe for disaster. After a few days or a week, the boredom and monotony of eating these same tasteless foods over and over again starts to set in. It is inevitable. Before you know it, you are back to the usually low energy levels and excess bloating, and then the feelings of low esteem that accompany failure set in. None of this is necessary.

Too many of us focus on eliminating foods. We have been told that eliminating dairy, meat or grains is the ticket to getting lean. Unless you are highly intolerant or have a legitimate allergy that you have been tested for, I don’t recommend cutting these foods out. All it does is give you a smaller pool of foods to choose from. If you want to lose weight, you need a balanced diet full of nutrients to prevent disease and to ensure optimal energy and psychological well-being. Restricting ourselves makes it that much harder to comply. If there are certain foods that trigger a binge, such as those that are overly sweet or salty, you might want to avoid them. They are probably not going to help you accomplish your goals anyways.

Balance is the key. Get as many different food groups into your body as you can. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, try to get as many different colours into your shopping cart as possible. Especially dark greens and oranges. Go to the meat/fish counter and tell the clerk you want to try some different cuts of meat and find out what types of fresh “wild caught” fish they currently have in. Make a concerted effort to get out of your comfort zone.

You need to enjoy what you eat. I certainly do. If I don’t like something, I don’t eat it. There are some foods such as broccoli and cauliflower that I am not over the moon for, but I know how good they are for me, so they tend to be a lot more palatable when combined with a piece of fresh caught wild salmon and some summer squash. If there is any advice I can give to people with a sincere desire to lose weight, it is to focus on the quality of the food that you are eating first. I would sooner see a client eat a 600 calorie meal for dinner composed of nutrient dense meat and vegetables, as opposed to a 300 calorie slice of pepperoni pizza and a diet coke.  Once you’ve figured that out, then you can start to place more of an emphasis on the amount of calories you are taking in. To this day, I have yet to see anyone get fat eating meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, minimally-processed dairy and whole grains.

Stop dieting!

Stop dieting!

To most, the word diet means deprivation for prolonged periods of time until you reach a weight loss goal. Low fat, low carbs, fewer calories, raw foods, excessive amounts of water, weight loss supplements, writing down everything you eat all day long and eating the same foods all day. These scenarios are enough to give you a full blown eating disorder in a matter of days. It isn’t possible to live a happy and productive life with this on your mind every minute of the day. We need a simpler approach.

Here is a simple but unusual suggestion that works. Are you ready? Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. For those who dropped mathematics at an early age or just weren’t paying attention, that means only purchase foods on the outside of the grocery store. Stay out of the aisles. This may seem overly simplistic, but it really isn’t. Picture your neighbourhood grocery store for a moment. Chances are the fresh produce section (fruits and vegetables), the meat and seafood departments, eggs and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. This is where you need to concentrate all of your shopping time. Why? Fresh foods are healthier than their ready-to-eat food counterparts that you find in the aisles. They are loaded with the protein, fibre and healthy fats that your body needs to run at a high level and they will keep you fuller for longer making it less likely you will overeat them.

Have you ever wondered why all of those boxed foods that you see in the aisles are so much cheaper than the foods on the perimeter? It’s because they are so easy to produce and they last forever. Next time you see a box of Special K, pick it up and read the ingredients. Chances are there are at least half a dozen words you can’t pronounce. These unpronounceable words are the sole reason these foods can “keep” on the shelves for months on end. If the truth were known, they don’t really keep because they are already dead. They are edible, but the life force, all the vitamins and nutrients they contain that promotes the regeneration of new cells and organelles, are non-existent. You are eating empty calories. Protein, fibre and fat keep your insulin levels balanced and your body satiated. Processed foods contain negligible amounts of all three leaving you in a constant state of hunger.

By sticking to the perimeter only, you will help avoid the temptation of processed foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. A good thing to remind yourself is, “if you can’t see it, you can’t buy it”. Try this for a month and I promise you that you will have more energy, think clearer and lose that unwanted fat you gained over the summer.

Will eating at night make me gain weight?

Will eating at night make me gain weight?

There are more rules governing nutrition now than ever before. For people who are desperately trying to lose weight it can be extremely confusing. What should I eat? How much should I eat? When should I eat it?

For someone with little nutritional knowledge, it is very easy to fall into these traps. You start to read up on some of the latest diet crazes and decide to follow one. It works for a week or two, you drop 3 or 4 pounds and eventually you come to the conclusion that you are miserable. It is way too restrictive. You are hungry all the time and all you are thinking about is food during the waking hours. What that eventually does is foster an unhealthy relationship with food. Sound familiar?

The one fat loss question I get asked more often than not, concerns late night eating. Can I eat after dinner or do I need to cut myself off at 7pm? The answer is, it depends. I have read studies that show late night eating has zero effect on weight gain and I have read other studies that show the exact opposite.

What neither study discussed was what the subjects were actually eating. If you are going into the fridge and grabbing an apple and a small handful of almonds, then have at it.  Late night eating is pretty mindless. In my experience, people are much more likely to reach for chips, cookies and ice cream which are all potentially higher calorie foods. This is where the problem stems from.

I would be much more concerned with the total calories you are consuming over the course of the day. The body isn’t programmed to stockpile calories and turn them into fat after the clock strikes 7pm. Nor is it programmed to know what time it is.

Some people prefer to eat their calories spread evenly throughout the day, while others like to front or back load them. It really doesn’t matter. It is the quality and quantity of calories you  are ingesting which is the determining factor. So when the clock strikes 9pm and the hunger pangs are starting to kick in, don’t be afraid to eat because of what the clock says. If you are not quite sure how many calories you need in order to reach your goals, try using an app like ‘My Fitness Pal’.  It takes out all the guesswork. I highly recommend it.

Do you REALLY need cardio to get lean?

Do you REALLY need cardio to get lean?

It’s all diet. I have heard this explanation used frequently when an individual tries to oversimplify how they became so lean. It’s one of the more overused clichés in the industry. The men and women you see in health mags and in supplement ads built their bodies in the weight room. And when they left the weight room they had to use a heck of a lot of discipline to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible.

Besides weights, there’s one more part of their program, and it involves something that most of us don’t like to think about. That is cardio. The question becomes how much is absolutely necessary? There are a small few of us with ultra fast metabolisms who can get abs without any cardio. But for most people some form of cardio will be necessary to create the calorie deficit needed to drop the excess blubber.

The next question is how much cardio and what types should you be performing?

Endurance exercise interferes with the ability to increase or at least maintain strength and muscle mass. Without getting too technical, strength and endurance exercise develops different muscle fibres (fast and slow twitch) in different ways. The fast twitch fibres are developed through strength training. They are a lot denser and more appealing to the eye, while slow twitch fibres are developed through endurance exercise and tend to be a lot smaller in size.

When combined together, strength training and endurance work will drain a lot of glycogen from your muscles, leaving you with limited overall fuel for training. This becomes even more pronounced when you are in a calorie deficit. When you run out of fuel, your body will start to convert muscle tissue into energy to fuel your activities. This needs to be avoided. Since muscle is metabolically active, you need to hold onto as much of it as possible.

High-intensity interval training will cause a lot less interference with strength training, because the two are very similar. It alternates with short bursts of energy followed by periods of recovery. Keep this type of exercise short (under 20 minutes) because intense exercise requires recovery. More is definitely not better. Too much intense exercise can lead to fatigue and irritability. Keep these sessions down to twice a week max.

In my experience, the best form of cardio for fat burning is low intensity exercise. Plain old walking. Not very exciting. You can do it outside or on a treadmill. Anywhere between 3 to 5 sessions a week at 45-60 minutes per should get the job done. There is zero interference effect with strength training and the necessary recovery period is non-existent. The only drawback is that it is time consuming.

How to begin an exercise program and actually stick with it!

How to begin an exercise program and actually stick with it!

For years I have seen my local gym packed wall to wall with new members in January and every piece of equipment is monopolized. As February and March roll around it is still busy, but the numbers begin to dwindle. By the end of March, normalcy has returned. I no longer have to wait 5 minutes for a piece of equipment, no more circling around the underground parking lot looking for a spot and the air on the gym floor is quite a bit fresher.

This is a common struggle amongst those of us trying to get in shape. The greatest of intentions, but lousy follow through. Most of us have good intentions, but our behaviour is really what matters and it is what we are judged on. There are those that claim they don’t have willpower or that they lack the self discipline to be consistent to get in shape. Discipline is a fallacy. We make our choices based on what is most important to us and what we value most. If you love poutine more than you love the feeling of waking up in the morning full of energy and liking what you see in the mirror, then you will eat poutine. If you don’t, you will get up in the morning, prepare healthy snacks to take to work and you will find 45 minutes during the day to exercise. It is really that simple. We prioritize what we love and value most.

Once you have decided that being comfortable in your body and having optimal energy are things that you value most, here are some steps to getting you there:

1. Before you start any type of exercise program, go see your doctor, tell him or her what your intentions are and get medical clearance before you start.

2. Start walking. If it is hot, wear light clothing and a hat. If it is cold, bundle up. The benefits of walking are endless. Improved insulin sensitivity, helps to prevent dementia, boosts vitamin D levels, lowers general disease risk and it will help keep your weight in check if you do enough of it. Why do you think Europeans are so much slimmer than we North Americans? They walk everywhere.

3. Find something that you enjoy doing. If you like to swim, there are numerous outdoor pools that are open to the public in the summer months and most reputable clubs have Olympic-sized swimming pools that can be used in the winter months. If tennis is your thing, join a club, get out and meet the members and sign up to play in round robins. If you are not sure what you like, most gyms have numerous classes that you can try that are included in the membership fee. If strength training is your endeavour, make sure to get the grand tour of the gym and have the personal training staff show you how to use the equipment properly and design a program for you. Less chance of injuries and better results.

4. Social support might be the single greatest determinant in the success of an exercise program. Are most of your friends in good shape? Do they live active lifestyles? Or are they the sedentary type whose idea of a great weekend is lazing around on the couch watching television and stuffing their faces with starch until they slip into a carbohydrate-induced coma?

We tend to mirror those people that we spend our time with. So if your friends are low functioning, generally unmotivated individuals, chances are you are too. That is why it is so important to immerse yourself with positive like-minded individuals who value the things that you do. Look for a mentor. Somebody who is further along the path who can guide you and offer words of encouragement along the way. Whether you find them in person or via internet/social media, mentors are everywhere. You just have to seek them out.

5. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. I have been guilty of this more times than I care to count. There are what we refer to as process goals and outcome goals. Way too often we focus on the outcome goals. An outcome goal would be: ” In 4 months I want to lose 25 lbs”. A process goal would be: ” I plan to lift weights 3 times a week and get 8 hours of sleep each night “. Process goals are the key to meeting your end goal. It is the day-to-day consistency and adherence, the sum of the parts, that leads to the desired outcome. So whether you are doing it on your own or with a personal trainer or strength coach, figure out what it is you want to accomplish in the long term and then figure out how you are going to get there. Whatever you do, stay off the hamster wheel.

The Pitfalls of Jogging – Part 3

The Pitfalls of Jogging – Part 3

To recap, the takeaways from Part 1 and 2 make the point that sprints build muscle and burn fat simultaneously. They are time efficient, have great long term health implications and can be done anywhere. Steady-state jogging on the other hand does not burn much fat, nor does it build muscle and over the long haul it will actually hinder both based on negative hormone responses. So we have left a bit of a vacuum to fill here. I have provided you with a lot of information regarding the why, but not the how. So let’s get started.

For the beginner who has little to no experience with sprints, you need to proceed slowly regardless of what mode you choose. A 4 minute warm up at an intensity of approximately 2 out of 10 is required to get your blood flowing and warm up your central nervous system for the more intense work to follow. Once you have completed the warm up, you want to be working at an intensity of 6 out of 10 for one minute. When taking into consideration what a 2 or a 6 out of 10 is, a 10 out of 10 is running for your life. You never want to work that hard. By the time you have completed the first minute you should be sufficiently fatigued and ready to catch your breath. You will retreat back down to a 2 out of 10 intensity and recover for a minute and then repeat. So you will be working at a 1:1 work to rest ratio. Continue this pattern for 6 to 8 intervals, finish with a 4 minute cool down, and try to add an extra sprint in each session until you reach 12. Once you get to that point, you will need to up the intensity

For the intermediate trainee, I have found that shorter more intense work periods followed by slightly longer recovery periods are more effective. I would favour a 1:2 work to rest ratio.  Working at 20 seconds on followed by 40 off seconds is typically very effective on a treadmill or a stationary bike. You are going to need to get your intensity up to an 8 out of 10 once you have completed a sufficient warm up. Start with 6 to 8 sprints and try to work yourself up to the point where you are performing 12 or 13. This could take some time. So you will need to be patient. Cardiovascular adaptations are initially quick, but they will slow down. Progress is not linear.

For the advanced trainee who is looking to improve athletic performance or just wants to get rid of that last bit of fat, I would favour the Tabata Protocol. It is brutally hard and equally as effective when executed properly. A Tabata session lasts for 4 minutes and consists of 20 seconds of very intense effort followed by a 10 second recovery period. Each sprint needs to be performed at a 9 out of 10 intensity level. If by the end of the 4 minutes you are not lying on the ground in a pool of sweat, then you are not working hard enough. Your body should be vibrating for hours upon completion. This protocol epitomizes the benefits of EPOC that I discussed in Part 2. If you are already fit and you want to improve your overall fitness and body composition, then this is for you.

I know the examples that I have used (e.g., treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers) are not feasible for everyone. Never fear. These workouts can be done in your basement or outside in a park on the grass or on pavement depending on the mode you plan on using. Bodyweight exercises can be just as effective if you have limited room. Jumping jacks, seal jacks, mountain climbers, high knees and duck unders to name a few, are all excellent alternatives and will provide great results assuming you are working at a high enough intensity.

The Pitfalls of Jogging – replace it with sprint/interval training

The Pitfalls of Jogging – replace it with sprint/interval training

Last week I wanted to burst a few bubbles and get readers to critically assess the logic behind their fat loss endeavours, specifically jogging. Understanding the science and the impact that any type of exercise has on your body is crucial to reaching your desired goals.

I am a huge advocate of sprint/interval training. The benefits far outweigh the hard work you invest. Sprint training is a series of short bursts of energy followed by brief periods of recovery. Sprints can be done on grass, in the pool, on a stationary bike or a treadmill. All you need is a little bit of space. Equipment is not necessary. The options are endless as are the benefits. You just have to get out and do it.

For the jogger who has been performing long slow tedious runs, sprints will save you a lot of time. An effective sprinting session can be completed in as little as 15 minutes plus a brief two minute warm up and cool down. You might ask, “How am I going to burn as many fat calories in such a short span of time?” The secret is in the intensity. Logic would suggest that the harder you work, the greater the benefits.  And this is all true. The catch is that it is not the calories that you are burning while you are performing the exercise that count. A typical 15 minute sprint session on a treadmill may burn as few as 150 calories, but the metabolic benefits will last for the next 24 to 48 hours and your metabolism will be on fire for the following 2 to 3 hours upon completion. This is referred to as EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It is the additional calories your body will burn after the exercise session is completed in order to return your body to the state it was in before the exercise took place. So the harder you work, the greater the benefits you will reap over the long haul.

Regardless of what process we are undergoing, our bodies are hardwired to return themselves to homeostasis (balance). In any process our body undergoes whether it be digestion, breathing or muscle repair, our bodies require energy in the form of calories to recover and repair itself. Therefore the greater the stress, the greater the metabolic benefits of the activity and the longer it will take your body to return itself back to the balance it wants. The added benefit of training harder is the potential to build new muscle. Short intense efforts call upon your fast twitch muscle fibres to get the job done. These muscle fibres are highly susceptible to fatigue, but they have the greatest potential for hypertrophy (muscle growth). A great example of this can be seen when observing the physiques of a competitive marathon runner and a competitive sprinter. Sprinters carry less body fat than their long distance counterparts and have a lot more muscle. Sprinters tend to look a lot healthier too. In summation, sprinting offers the benefits of burning fat and building muscle simultaneously. Something that jogging cannot provide.

In Part 3, I will give you specific sprint/interval workouts that you can perform at the gym, in your home or outside, weather permitting.

The Pitfalls of Jogging

The Pitfalls of Jogging

If you are currently jogging with the sincere desire for fat loss, you need to stop what you are doing and read this right now.

“I need to lose some weight. I think I am going to take up jogging”. I have heard these phrases uttered by more people over the years than I can count. Once the weather improves, joggers new and old come out in full force. Many people run for the endorphins alone and that’s fine, if it is something you enjoy doing, but it is not as beneficial as you might think.  Next time you’re driving down a residential street, take a close look at the joggers you see. Are they lean and muscular?  Not likely unless they are blessed with great genetics. For the others, the term “skinny fat” comes to mind; they have very little muscle and moderate to high amounts of fat in relation to their bodyweight. It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we are healthy because we look slim in the mirror and have a great score on the body mass index scale, but if we were to take an actual body fat reading of most joggers, many would carry more fat than what is considered optimal by today’s standards.

Jogging becomes a catabolic activity after 30 to 40 minutes—your body uses your protein stores (i.e., your muscles) as the primary source of fuel for your run. The ideal fuel source for any physical activity is carbohydrates and fat. Having less muscle means a slower metabolism and a slower metabolism means you can’t eat as much as you once did and maintain the same bodyweight. Muscle is metabolically active. For every pound of muscle you have on your body, you will burn an extra 50 calories a day just sitting on the couch watching television. Muscle needs to be fed in order to maintain its existence. Study after study has shown that as we age, those with more muscle on their frames are destined to live longer than those without. This goes for people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Muscle is not reserved for the younger generation. It is in everyone’s best interest to have as much of it as possible.

From a historical standpoint, jogging is a man-made activity. We did not evolve jogging. We ran from our predators, chased our next meals or walked for days in nomadic tribes in search of our next destination. The human genome has changed little over the past 20,000 years and our bodies require the same types of activities. Think about the current mainstream sports and activities that we watch and/or engage in on a regular basis. Very few of them have a slow-to-medium rhythmically consistent pace. In fact, they are quite the opposite. They consist of quick bursts of energy followed by brief recovery periods.

Fat Loss at Home without Equipment

Fat Loss at Home without Equipment

I perform dozens of consults every year. The most important question that I ask is: What has held you back from exercise in the past? I have heard a ton of  different excuses, but the ones that come up the most often are lack of money, time and equipment. What if I told you that you didn’t need to spend a cent on a gym membership or purchase any equipment at all?  All you need to do is give up 3 hours of a 168 hour week by performing 3 one hour training sessions. You will burn a ton of fat and build muscle simultaneously. There is no good reason to train any longer than 45 to 60 minutes at a time. Study after study has shown that peak testosterone levels in men and women are reached at approximately 30 minutes into a session and begin to decline at the 45 minute mark. Testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone. So take advantage of that small window and get what you need done before you reach the point of diminishing returns at the 45 minute mark.

My generation grew up with bodyweight training. Gym classes in public school consisted of moving our bodies through space. Running, jumping, kicking, hurdling, climbing, skipping and throwing. Some of the best workouts I ever had were in elementary school with my Grade 5 gym teacher. He was a hard ass. I never left a single gym class without being winded and out of breath.

In order to make bodyweight training effective, you need to find exercises that recruit the maximum amount of muscle. Squats, lunges, planks, chin ups and push ups are the way to go. All these exercises work your muscles and more than one joint which means more muscle gets worked  in less time and your heart has to work that much harder to get the work done.  The lunge featured below works the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes.

The classic push up exercise works the chest, shoulders, triceps and the upper back (to a lesser extent) at both the shoulder and elbow joints.

Try pairing these exercises using only bodyweight as resistance by performing them in sequence (back to back) for a total of 3 times each and I promise that you will be extremely fatigued and your muscles will get a great pump.

If you are not convinced, look no further than olympic gymnasts to see how effective bodyweight training can be. Their bodies are under the constant tension of their own bodyweight. They manipulate angles and levers to increase tension on the muscles to make their training more challenging. They don’t accomplish this through weights and machines. And I’ve never seen a gymnast who didn’t have a significant amount of muscle tissue on their frames.

Over the years we have been conditioned into believing that training has to be more complicated than it needs to be. Whether it is a fancy new fat burning gadget on an infomercial or a shiny new nautilus machine in a commercial gym, we assume this must be the way to go. Anything that looks that good must render results, right? Wrong. They cause more injuries, burn less calories, build little muscle and are generally a waste of time. You are sitting down and the weight is already balanced for you. So all you have to do is push or pull. Balancing your own bodyweight or the force of an object placed upon you is the foundation for strength and muscle growth. You will get better results performing 8 properly executed push ups than you ever will in a seated chest press machine. And you will burn more fat and build more muscle in less time.

One of the first questions I get asked before I start working with a new client is whether or not they need to buy a treadmill, cross trainer or a recumbent bike. My answer is “No”. There is nothing wrong with using one, but you can save thousands of dollars and get the same fat burning, heart strengthening results by performing a bodyweight routine such as the one below, called a Tabata Routine. It is short and intense, but extremely effective. By the time you are done you will be lying on the floor gasping for air. This is a great way to end your workout. Your calorie burn over the next couple of hours will sky rocket.

1. 20 Jumping Jacks

2. Rest for 10 seconds

3. Repeat for 8 cycles in total.

Better Results in Less Time

Better Results in Less Time

For many, pulling into the parking lot of your gym is a moral victory in itself. When you are out of shape, the thought of going into a gym and trying to look like you know what you are doing is pretty daunting. What should I do first? Should I stretch? Go for a run around the track? Or maybe head to the bench press and get the ball rolling. As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”. Walking around aimlessly in a gym sampling all the equipment is not going to get you the results you want. So what should you do?

1. Before you pick up a weight, go for a run or do any type of high intensity training, you need a thorough warm up. I’m not talking about stretching. We can get to that later. You need to prime the major muscle groups that you plan on using before you start putting any type of strain on them. This is a dynamic warm up. Use movements such as wall slides, band pull aparts, inchworms, duck unders, and marching with high knees. This gets the blood flowing, clears waste from your muscles, brings fluids to your joints, and opens up your body. Research shows that warming up with dynamic stretches, which actively move your joints through a full range of motion will enhance muscular performance. A dynamic warm up should last a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Make sure you know which exercises you plan on performing before you walk into the gym. Performing different exercises in a random order will not get you the results you are looking for. I recommend performing the exercises that require the most amount of muscle activation first. Begin with compound multi-joint movements. Squatting and deadlifting variations will require the most amount of energy and a near maximum effort, so attacking these first is the best course of action. Rowing and pressing movements (pushing and pulling) would come next, followed by isolation or assistance exercises. These are movements that work smaller muscles at only one joint.  They are typically used for bulletproofing your body from injuries and straightening out imbalances. They are best left for the end because they require the least amount of effort.

3. Track your progress. Who can possibly remember the exact number of sets, reps and exercises that they performed from one session to the next? I have a good memory, but for me to remember every variable from my last training session is not going to happen. Buy a small notebook and start charting your progress. Write down all your sets, reps and the corresponding weights for each exercise and I promise you will get stronger a lot faster.

4. Forget about how much weight Joe Schmoe or Jane Doe is moving in the rack next to you. The #1 thing you must remember is that you are only competing with yourself. There is no track, no ice rink and no baseball diamond. Just you and a piece of equipment that you are applying force to. Your goals should be to improve upon what you did in your last session and that is it. Whenever I stray from this philosophy, my progress hits a rapid decline. Don’t fall into this trap.

5. Make a point of stretching out your entire body for a minimum of 15 minutes post workout. This goes against the conventional wisdom that my generation grew up with. Stretching was always performed before an activity and not after because we thought if we stretched first we would avoid injury. When you perform any type of resistance training you are shortening the muscle, so lengthening it prior to training is not going to have the desired effect. If anything, it will hinder the potential force output that you are trying to achieve. What you should do is warm your muscles up by increasing blood flow to the muscle groups you plan on using (refer to point 1 above).

By lengthening your muscles at the end of a training session, you are improving overall circulation. When you enhance the rate of blood flow to your working muscles you also increase the rate of recovery, because your blood carries essential nutrients to help your muscles repair and grow while at the same time removing waste by-products that are no longer needed. It is also a great natural way of cooling down your body temperature and lowering your heart rate. It is not recommended that your heart rate drop suddenly from an 8 or 9 out of 10 to a 2 or 3. It should be brought down at a gradual pace.