The Fit 5: Scaling Back


For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Facebook page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen.

This week, Sean Hyson C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines, answers questions about scaling your workout back.

Be sure to read up on all of Sean’s articles here on or in Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines each month.

You can also catch Sean on Twitter

1) Time Off — asked by Steve J Riggs

I take crossfit training class and, until my body gets used to it, I know I’m going to be really sore for days after. How long should I let my body recuperate?

“You shouldn’t train the same muscle groups again before 48 hours, unless the intensity of the second session is very low. If you squat heavy Monday, you shouldn’t do much, if any, leg work until at least Wednesday—Thursday would probably be better. However, if you do some light leg work like lunges or a run on Monday and the volume is low, you can train legs intensely on Wednesday. Because CrossFit workouts are more or less done at random, you have to be careful you’re not training the same muscles too much from session to session.”

2) Going the Distance — asked by Da Mamba

What’s the best way to build stamina during jogging?

“Simply jogging is enough. Keep your heart rate at around 75% of your max (this is typically 120 to 150 beats per minute depending on your age) and try to run a little longer each week.”

3) Bare Bones — asked by Hurdylyn Woods

What is the bare minimum you recommend for activity in a day?

“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking) per week. That breaks down to a little more than 20 minutes a day. The CDC also wants you to do two strength training sessions per week, but doesn’t specify length. This is fine if your only concern is staying healthy, but if you want to build muscle or lose significant amounts of fat, you’ll need to strength train at least two hours per week (about 40 minutes per session) and spend another 30 minutes or so doing cardio two to three times per week.”

4) Warming Up — asked by Mark Abbott

How do you warm up your ligaments and tendons? Are half reps the answer?

“No. A normal warm-up prepares the connective tissue the same as it does the muscles. Start by pedaling on a bike or walking on a treadmill for a few minutes until you’re sweating, and then do mobility exercises that take your muscles through a full range of motion. Afterward, begin whatever strength exercises you’re doing with light weights and gradually work up to what you plan to lift that day. (If you have joint injuries, it may help to wear heavy clothing or otherwise cover or bind the area to keep it extra warm.) Doing half reps won’t allow you to build strength throughout the connective tissue. “

5) Feeding Fatigue — asked by Michel Pelletier

Before each workout I have a tall glass of water, but I probably would get better results with protein shakes. Do you recommend any supplements for muscle fatigue?

“A protein shake is good before a workout, especially if you haven’t eaten for hours beforehand, but it’s more necessary afterward when your muscles need to recover. A whey protein shake before and another one afterward along with a few bananas and or a carb powder is a good strategy.”