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5 Reasons Your Workout Should Include a Warm Up & Cool Down

Strength training and cardio are important aspects of any well-rounded exercise regimen, but many people skip over the most important parts of an exercise routine: the warm up and the cool down.

Warming Up

Why is it important?

  • Gradually increases body temperature and blood flow to the muscles
  • Prepares muscles, including the heart, for exercise
  • Reduces risk of muscular injury

How should I warm up?

  • Focus on larger muscle groups first, then move to smaller muscles or activity-specific exercises
  • Start at a slower pace and gradually build up your speed and intensity
  • Include dynamic movements to elongate muscles and increase joint range of motion
  • Start with a walk or bike ride and slowly increase your speed for five to ten minutes
  • For stretching, start with a small range of motion and work up to moving a joint in a full range of motion

Cooling Down

Why is it important?

  • Allows the body to safely transition from exercising back to a steady state of rest
  • Gradually reduces heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
  • Helps muscles return to optimal length and prevents pooling of blood to certain extremities, which prevents your blood pressure from dropping too rapidly
  • Helps prevent muscles soreness and reduces risk of injury

How should I cool down?

  • Cooling down should last between five and ten minutes and incorporate tapering off dynamic movements, such as a slow jog moving into a walking pace
  • Use static stretches when cooling down, which involves holding a stretch in a specific position for 15-60 seconds
  • Stretch larger muscle groups first then move into smaller muscle groups
  • Stretches should be held in a challenging but not painful position, while focusing on breathing throughout the stretch

To learn how to incorporate warm ups and cool downs into your workouts, visit the front desk or contact us to ask about fitness instruction.

3 Simple Reasons Why the RP App Offers REAL Results!

Meeting your wellness goals can be hard.  The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.  Renaissance Periodization brings science based nutrition knowledge to the palm of your hand with a fully functional app.

The RP app simplifies your weight management goals by:

1) Customizing an individualized nutrition schedule based on how YOU do life

2) Providing extensive list of acceptable foods to eat to meet YOUR goals

3) Sending notifications and reminders in support of the simple, easy to follow, nutritional plans

Take control of your weight management goals – whether it be to lose, maintain, or gain weight – with the RP APP and ongoing support from our Registered Dietician.

Enjoy the first two weeks FREE, and nearly 70% off of the monthly cost by using our affiliate discount code (stop by the front desk for details).  The RP app may be downloaded via the Google Play store or from the App Store

You’ve seen the posts, posters, and flyers in and around the Wellness Center for Renaissance Periodization (RP).  It’s time to take it seriously if you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight.  RP is an app that simplifies your weight management goals.

When using the RP app you will find:

  • Customized nutrition schedule for you
  • Extensive list of foods that you may eat
  • Regular notifications of when you should eat
  • Simple, easy to follow, plans
  • Easy integration to your day to day life

The RP app may be downloaded via the Google Play store or from the App Store.  The first two weeks are free and a discount code may be given to you at the front desk for nearly 70% off of the monthly cost.  This gives you 6 weeks of a nutrition coach in your pocket for nearly 12 cents a day.

If you’re serious about your health, weight management, or learning what is best for you, this app is definitely a winner.

Click here to download the app or purchase the templates!

The Scoop on Muscle Strains and RICE Method to Recovery

Muscle strains can happen to all – regardless of level of exercise expertise! Strains occur when our muscles are overstretched or torn and can result from fatigue, overuse, lack of warm-up or improper exercise form.

Severity and Grades

Grade 1 – Considered the least severe and characterized by minimal pull or strain to the muscle.
Grade 1 strains are accompanied by little to no pain. Individual may experience loss of range of motion, but general strength should remain.

Grade 2 – Considered moderate in severity. Individual will notice a considerable amount of swelling and pain associated with the strain. Characterized by decreases in range of motion and strength in strained area.

Grade 3 – Considered most severe. Individual could experience complete loss of muscle function until the tore fibers are completely healed.

RICE: Treating less severe muscular strains

The RICE method can be used to expedite the healing process of strains.

Rest: Let the muscle rest to prevent further damage.
Ice: Ice the affected area intermittently to reduce swelling.
Compression: Compressing the affected area can also cut down on swelling, and further expedite healing.
Elevation: Elevate the affected area to let fluid drain and further reduce swelling.
*Please consult with a physician on specific instructions for caring for severe strains.*

Recovery and Reintroduction

Listen to your body! Stretching the strained area can promote range of motion improvements (remember, the stretch should not cause pain!) and purposeful strength training can target the specific muscle group to hopefully prevent further injury.

Remember to be patient. Resuming exercise at a too strenuous a level can inhibit the healing process and increase your chances of injury in the future.

Our highly qualified and educated personal training staff can help navigate suspected muscle strains and post-injury care. Contact us at 828-266-1060 for questions!

By Dustin Oliver

Wheeler, Tyler. “Muscle Strain”. WebMD. 16th May, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/muscle-strain#2

“Muscle Strain”. Harvard.edu. Harvard Health Publishing. December, 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/muscle-strain-a-to-z

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Summer  can  arguably  be  the  best  season  of  them  all,  especially  here  in  the  high  country. Welcoming rays of sunshine entice you to walk through these hilly terrains to take your breath away. Although the great exchange for a crisp mountain breeze to fill your lungs with the best Carolina air is priceless. If only a portion of vacation’s rest could carry over into the fall and winter seasons, then it would be perfect. This month is the best chance to further train your summer body and improve in one’s sleep hygiene. According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost 30% of the adult population report sleeping in shorter durations (six or fewer hours of rest each night). This public health concern can  lead  to  increased  risk  for  obesity,  cardiovascular  disease,  and  all-cause morbidity (Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019). Hence, the demand to enhance one’s sleep quality remains at chief priority in hopes to reverse these unfortunate results.
As  we  all  need  some  sort  of  time  reset  and  rejuvenate  the  purpose  of  sleep  is  largely misunderstood. Some believe sleep’s true intention may be for memory consolidation, restoration, or even energy conservation. Some much takes place during the four stages of sleep, yet our main goal remains  to  only  target  criteria  of  time  to  rest  to  quantify  it  as  sufficient.  Specifically,  the  target time frames  vary  with  lifetimes  as  infants  should  aim  for  16-18  hours  daily,  young  adults  –  adults seven to nine hours maximum, and those 65 years or older seven to eight hours daily. Other factors outside  of  duration  do  contribute  to  a  better  quality  of  sleep  as  well  and  may  reduce  wake  times throughout  the night or delay sleep onset (Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019).
Do you struggle to fall asleep after going to bed? Try practicing a routine before placing your head to a pillow, and be sure to adhere to a schedule. Attempt to awaken within the same hour each morning and use a journal to log your durations if necessary. For those tempted by a daytime nap, be sure  to  limit  it  to  a  half-hour  at  most  before  sleep  inertia  settles.  Otherwise  known  as  a  period described  as  a  diminished  sense  of  alertness and decreased cognition after waking. One of the best and most beneficial routines to train your body to easily attain sleep is to exercise!
The importance to improve bodily health is impeccable, but failing to give attention to sleep hygiene  may  reverse  those  goals  recently  achieved  in  the  gym.  Always  strive  to  sleep  your appropriate  duration  and  set  your  surroundings  so  that  you  may have the best potential rest. Relax and exercise and repeat so you may embrace long term health for lifelong bliss.

Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 12, 2019
Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 10, 2019

By:  Javari Crowther


Goal Setting

I’ve been working as a personal trainer since 2013, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of really great people. The great thing about being a trainer is that everyone is unique. Age, fitness level, and physical limitations all impact the type of training programs I develop, but the single biggest, and most diverse factor, is the objective of the client. Some want weight loss, some are after strength, and others want to get better at their favorite sport. Over the years I’ve tried to guide my clients down a steady path of progress toward their goals following three main principles, and today I want to take the time to explain these so that you too may walk to road of success.

What exactly do you want to do?

I’ve found that one thing that can really help with achieving a fitness goal is to be quite specific when setting it. This may seem obvious, but it is a very important first step, as we can only measure our success if we first define what success is. I often hear “I want to lose weight”, which is a fine goal, but how much? By when? Answering these questions really help frame our exercise and put each day into context. Rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, putting it this way would be better:

“I want to lose 5 pounds by the end of next month.”


Get Outside!

man with backpack hikingAccording to some recent studies, the increase in urbanization and lack of green spaces has a direct correlation to an increase in mental illness.  Research shows that recreating in nature improves mental health by relieving anxiety and the occurrence of negative thoughts, which can result in a lower risk of depression (“First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)”, 2018).  Natural light increases your serotonin, which is one of your body’s feel-good chemicals, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.  Sunlight also provides us with vitamin D, promoting calcium absorption, reducing inflammation, and increasing immune function.

Physical activity in the outdoors can be exhilarating and offer challenges that give one a real sense of accomplishment, improving self-esteem, as well as encouraging growth.  Being outdoors can even be therapeutic and has helped many who have suffered from severe trauma.

Fortunately, the High Country offers plenty of land dedicated to outdoor recreation.  With mild temperatures in the spring and summer, those from off the mountain have been flocking to this area to escape the heat for decades. The climate provides a comfortable environment for participating in all sorts of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, water sports, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, cycling, climbing, and bouldering.   If you are new to any of these activities, you will usually find the outdoor community is welcoming and more than happy to offer some assistance.  For more information about getting involved or finding the right gear for your new outdoor endeavor, visit http://www.exploreboone.com/outdoors/


First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). (2018, September 18). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.ncel.net/2018/07/09/first-in-science-outdoor-recreation-improves-mental-health/

By: Michael Darling