Strength Training & Proper Nutrition with
Optimum Physique
by Tara Krieger

Strength training is an essential part of any fitness regimen and along with activities that focus on cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and optimal body composition; strength training insures a well-balanced, injury-free lifestyle.

Strength training benefits all populations, from adolescent athletes to seniors. Women, in particular, reap tremendous benefits by adding some weights into their fitness equation. Traditionally, women relied on cardiovascular activity and a low calorie diet to change their physical appearance. Unfortunately, low calorie diets are paradoxical because they decrease metabolism, making it harder for women to reach their weight loss and fitness goals.

Strength training creates strong ligaments and tendons, which serve to support our joints and decrease the likelihood of injury from other activities. Bone density increases dramatically, reducing our risk of osteoporosis. The physical and spiritual benefits are also numerous, and when fully realized, the goal no longer becomes a "hard body," but the confidence and control that strength training teaches us.

Women further benefit because of the increase in resting metabolism created by strength training. Because of the increase in muscle mass, women who are trying to reduce body fat will do so more easily. When done sufficiently and consistently, strength training increases muscle fiber size. Once muscle fibers enlarge, they consume more energy - which boosts our metabolisms.

During the past several years, many studies have highlighted the health value of strength training for aging adults. Research has shown that strength training is effective for improving glucose metabolism, increasing bone mineral density, and speeding up gastrointestinal transit. Studies have demonstrated that strength exercise adds lean tissue, increases resting metabolism, reduces arthritic discomfort and alleviates low back pain.

From an athletic perspective, research reveals that strength training increases all kinds of sports-specific activities from improving golf performance by increasing club head speed and driving power to improving tennis swings and cycling performance. Senior men and women who are concerned about gaining weight, getting soft, and experiencing elevated blood pressure can also be helped with strength training. Studies already prove that dieting doesn't produce permanent weight loss, and that walking is not very effective for firming muscles. Several other studies have shown that strength exercise is effective for decreasing bodyweight, increasing lean weight and reducing resting blood pressure. In addition, strength training results in a higher resting metabolic rate and greater daily energy utilization.

Often overlooked is the importance of proper nutrition program. Somewhere in sports nutrition history, the idea was born that pre exercise food sits in the stomach and hinders athletic performance. To this day, numerous casual exercisers and competitive athletes alike go to great efforts to avoid food for at least three or four hours before exercise. By doing so, they miss out on the performance benefits associated with being well-fueled. The "first put gas in your car, then go" theory that works so well for automobiles also works well for active people. You'll have greater stamina and endurance when you run on fuel, not fumes.

To maximize your training, you want to focus your menu on health-protective foods. By eating more of the best foods, less of the rest, you can have a powerful impact on your future health and well-being. So eat well. Believe it or not, that's what most active people need to learn to do. Eat for performance. Eat for health. All too often, people who do not know how to eat well are actually making it much harder on themselves to reach their fitness goals. They know how to skip breakfast and lunch or how to stay away from carbs. Eat at the right times to optimize energy, eat the best foods to promote future good health and eat wisely to manage weight.

With all of our 'on the go' lifestyles, Optimum Physique's meal delivery plans can be just the right answer to improving the quality of your diet. With the help of their on-staff certified nutritionist, you can develop a plan targeted to your specific nutritional needs. They prepare healthy meals that can help you reach your weight loss or muscle-building goals.

Because each body type responds differently to exercise, it is recommended that you consult a personal trainer so that you can create a strength-training program that best suits your body type, goals, lifestyle and overall fitness level.

Tara Krieger is founder of TK Fitness (516)721-8390. With over 10 years of training experience and certifications from both the ISSA and AFFA, she designs exercise programs that are safe, effective and custom tailored to your needs. For a FREE OPTIMUM PHYSIQUE MEAL & FREE DELIVERY, see Optimum Physique’s ad opposite this page, call (631) 567-2076 or visit: