Memorial Day Food Guilt: A Workout to Chase Away the Monday Regrets

You've overindulged over Memorial Day weekend. Now you are trying to burn it all off in one session.

So, before you make a bigger mistake by doing some exercises randomly, let’s think about it and at least work smart.

In the article “Diversity of Strength Training Methods: A Theoretical Approach” published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, Jenqdong Li, Ph.D. CSCS and Tinghao Chen, Ph.D. summarize some of the most important resistance training methods for a better interaction between the nervous and muscular system.

Putting together a solid resistance workout to ramp up the endocrine response to maximize the caloric expenditure should take into consideration at least four of the most important fitness components:

Increasing muscle mass and strength: The work done is equivalent to the energy expended, so the more muscle mass that an exercise tackles, the greater the metabolic response.

Takeaway: This is not the time to do bicep curls or triceps extensions. Instead do complex moves such as deadlift to row, push-press, and other multi-joint exercises.

Explosive strength: When you lift heavy weights you must slow down the speed to give enough time to the muscle fibers to activate from the less powerful and stronger ones to the highest – called size principle.

However, when you practice explosive moves the nervous system rapidly kicks in to coordinate the excitatory and inhibitory muscular response. So, the most powerful muscle fibers fire first instead of the ones more useful for endurance. This is called selective recruitment.

Takeaway: Studies show that after heavy loading a muscle, it may be the best time to perform power moves that mimic the resistance exercise to make the most out of activities/sports that rely on speed and force.  Think  barbell squats followed by jump squats – bump up the high rate and the metabolism.

Balancing the muscle forces: The authors point out that the upper body and lower body should be in balanced. If one of them is stronger than the other, the least strong will lack of the force to initiate or to sustain many movements.

Your routine takeout: Have you seen how a weak upper body will make you change your running stride, thus making you more inefficient when running? This is why exercises that link both the upper and lower extremities should be incorporated for better energy transfer and force response.

Developing core muscles: This is the center of gravity so a strong core stabilizes the body and helps to resist the external forces properly.

Your routine takeout: The boundaries of many of the multi-joint exercises are that they force you to engage the core; however, this may not be enough so some isolated moves are in need to really work the mid section.

No regrets!

The following exercise routine requires previous experience, unless you start with no added weight, do just one set and rest longer.  The workout covers all the components previously explained so there are two circuits in which each have one strength lower body exercise, one explosive move, one that connect the lower and upper body and finally, one for the core.

-Warm-up for 5-10 minutes by combining an easy cardio and an overall body dynamic stretching – such as body weight overhand squats, lunges with side rotations, etc-.

-Perform each circuit – one exercise after another without rest- 3 times, 8-12 repetitions, 60-90s rest period a the end of each circuit.

-Stretch at the end.

-You can do this routine once or twice a week on non consecutive days or when you look for a high intensity weight training whole body workout.

Marta Montenegro is an exercise physiologist, certified strength and conditioning coach and master trainer, who teaches as an adjunct professor at Florida International University. Marta has developed her own system of exercises used by professional athletes. Her personal website,, combines fitness, nutrition and health tips, exercise routines, recipes and the latest news to help you change your life but not your lifestyle. She was the founder of nationally awarded SOBeFiT magazine and the fitness DVD series Montenegro Method.

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