Ask Brendan No.1: Time Management, Bananas, and Ice!
I have been getting quite a lot of questions sent to me through twitter, facebook and my website lately as well as people in the gym asking me stuff. So I’ve decided to answer a few of them here, on my website. If you like this, leave me a comment and let me know. If you have a question that you want answering about anything fitness, strength and health related either leave it in a comment below or send me an email.
Here we go with the post!
WORKING OUT ALL THE TIME
I read in all these fitness magazines that you should leave at least 48 hours between workouts. Yet all my mates who are really buffed up seem to be in the gym every day, all the time. Am I missing something? Can you work out every day?
Brendan: It all depends on what type of training you’re doing. You can’t be doing max effort deadlifts and squats every day, as you’re going to need more time to recover from this type of session. But you can do workout splits like upper/lower body on alternate days without any problems as you are stressing different muscle groups and while one is being trained the other is recovering.
Across the week I would suggest you give yourself at least a couple of days off from weight training however as your muscles need to rest to get stronger and grow. Training all the time doesn’t give them much time to recover. A good rule of thumb is follow the 3:1 rule: three days on, one day off, and three weeks on, one week off. Your day or week off doesn’t have to be complete rest, just do something a little different. So for example you could do light sprints or swimming instead of heavy weights. Hope that gives you something go go with!
NOT BANANAS ABOUT BANANAS
All my mates tell me I should eat a banana half an hour before a workout for energy, but I hate them. Can you suggest something else?
Brendan: Bananas are a great source of slow releasing energy which is good to have pre-workout. If you don’t like them you could try other fruit sources such as apples or pears, or even go for something like porridge with some protein powder mixed in, but this would probably need to be around an hour or longer from your workout.
If food doesn’t work for you in general go for a carbohydrate drink such as lucozade or an energy gel such as Science in Sport Go Gel. If you need that extra kick you could go for a pre-workout shake containing some taurine, BCAAs and even beta alanine. This will give you a real push through the session.
KEEP IT COOL
I badly sprained my ankle playing Sunday league footie last weekend. How long should I wait before doing leg workouts again, and what should I do to start with?
Brendan: The key for you is to hit the ice hard and start taking anti-inflammatory tablets such as Ibuprofen straight away. Ice the leg for 15 minutes every hour, take the tablets four times a day in line with the recommendations on the box, and keep the ankle elevated following the old RICE principles of rest, ice, compression and elevation.
In terms of going back to training you need to make sure you stay away from pain in your sessions. So without question single leg work is going to be tough. I would suggest you start with some movements like stiff leg deadlifts starting with the weight at your waist. If this is okay then go for some light squats with dumbbells but don’t squat too deep initially.
I would go for higher reps of around 12-15 reps for a few sessions just to ease yourself back into it and around 2-3 sets of each movement. While you’re doing this you can hammer your upper body and core so use the injury as an opportunity to train other areas.
Once you are moving pain-free on the ankle you can introduce some balance and propriceptive work on an unstable surface to really stress those stabiliser muscles around the joint.
Finally, introduce more weight and progressively increase the range of movement over the next few weeks. This will help you get back promptly and with restored strength and movement.
Okay that’s enough for this week, get your questions answered by yours truly by leaving me a comment below or sending me an email.