Workout essentials, Part II

There are many ways to study exercise and fitness. At the macro or micro level, or in layman’s terms – the big and small picture.
On Monday and today, we’re taking a big-picture view of workout essentials.
Here are keys 6-10 in our series to make sure you’re going in the right direction:
6. It starts at the core
Everything you do starts at your core, aka the mid-section, abs.
If your core is solid, you’ll be more efficient in all phases of weightlifting and other activities because you’ll be more efficient. There will be less wasted energy compensating for an unstable core.
So don’t forget to do ab workouts and concentrate on keeping your abs tight during workouts.
7. Popeye was on to something
We all know what Popeye did when he needed extra strength – he reached for a can of spinach. Or, as he said it, “me spinachk.”
He was really onto something. Eating vegetables and fruits are essential for overall health and especially building muscle and losing fat.
8. Power up with light meals
If you’re serious in an exercise program, it will greatly be enhanced by proper nutrition. It’s important to eat a small meal before and after a workout in order to provide extra nutrients. The pre-workout meal can help ensure peak performance, while a post-workout snack can aid recovery.
Snacks such as a banana, cottage cheese, yogurt and chocolate milk are excellent sources of energy.
9. Drink up – water that is
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. It’s recommended to drink 2 liters of water each day. Hydrated muscles will perform much better. Drinking lots of water could help you get out of the habit of drinking other liquids that aren’t good for you, like soda.
10. Protein principle
Protein is the key to a fit diet and will also aid fat loss. When you train, it’s important to make sure to get ample protein in your diet. Talk to your doctor, nutritionist or trainer about exact amounts, but it’s often recommended to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Chicken and turkey are excellent sources of protein, along with eggs, fish, lean beef and many dairy products.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at