Ask Scott: Rowing after a bypass, supplements for the new Guscott and tips for gym virgins
Top fitness coach Scott Pearson answers your health and fitness questions.
Hi Scott, I am 20 years old and play centre in rugby. I am looking to put on a stone or maybe more! What supplements would you recommend for this and what training should I be doing in the gym?
Supplements should only be taken when the fundamentals of your training regime and lifestyle are adequate. They are not a quick fix to increasing weight, decreasing weight, faster recovery, improved health, etc despite what they may say on their labels. As their name suggests supplements should be just that; a supplement to proper nutrition. Make sure that you read through my previous articles about the basics of nutrition and make any appropriate alterations.
In terms of your training I would recommend a core of weight training with some CV and speed/agility work.
Your weight training should mainly consist of compound, multi joint movements (such as squats, etc). Aim for between 60-80% of your 1 rep max and between 8-15 repetitions per set. Consult a qualified physical trainer in order to plan your sessions properly. I wouldn't ignore your CV work as it is vital to have a cardio base in rugby; what I would do is focus on Anaerobic work.
Perform short, but very intense movements. For example row flat out for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat for six sets (aim for 170m. At the end add all your distances together; if you achieve over 1000m you are doing extremely well). This means that your entire session is only six minutes long; but I will guarantee it will be one of the most difficult six minutes you'll ever experience.
When you have done this and you are comfortably in a routine of training and eating properly and consistently, only then would I consider taking any supplementation.
Take a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral, remember that with supplements (especially vitamins) you usually pay for what you get and in the long run it will be cost effective to pay a little more for good quality products. Cheap vitamins are normally made from inferior sources and therefore don't get ingested as well as those from better sources. Initially the only other supplement I would consider taking would be a good quality whey protein.
At the Sale Sharks we use a company called EAS for all our supplementation as they are the only company I know that batch test all their products and offer us a doping free guarantee.
If you play your rugby at any decent standard there is a chance that you may get tested and fail (meaning a minimum ban of 2 years) even if you 'think' you are only taking pure protein. There is always a chance of cross contamination if the protein is made in the same factory as something else! Take the protein along with carbohydrates (sports drink, etc) as soon as possible after training; this will aid exercise recovery and help build lean tissue.
Scott, is it OK to use a rowing machine seven months after bypass surgery?
Following any major operation, especially one as serious as a heart bypass I would certainly recommend starting exercising again slowly in order to let your body adapt to the changes you've been through. Because Rowing machines use both the arms and legs together they tend to rapidly increase the heart rate, causing quite a strain on the heart and related arteries; therefore I wouldn't recommend them to begin with.
In fact, I would recommend that you stay away from any full body exercise, or any weight bearing exercise (especially if you are carrying a few extra kilo's) in the beginning. CV machines like Recumbent Cycles will enable you to work hard without raising your pulse too high. If you are carrying any extra weight it is vital that you lose some weight
I'm a beginner in the gym; do you think it's a good idea to work out then rest a day for muscle recovery?
In my experience many people begin using the gym with good intentions (usually in January) and train like mad for the first couple of weeks. When they have experienced days of muscle soreness without seeing any improvements in either health or appearance they quit!
When beginning a new programme it is really important that you plan to take it slow to begin with, then gradually and consistently increase the volume and intensity of the sessions. Be aware that when you start new sessions that you will experience muscle soreness for a couple of days afterwards. With this in mind there are several options you can employ:
- Plan your training sessions with at least one day recovery before you train again.
- If you are limited with time or want to train again the next day it is a good idea to do some other kind of session. For example, CV work like swimming, rowing or cycling would be great as it keeps the body moving. This is good for two reasons, firstly as you raise your heart rate and get blood pumping around the body it aids recovery as it will facilitate expulsion of waste products from muscle cells. In addition you will get a training stimulus from it.
- Finally if you have limited time, but have a set programme you want to get through, you could organise your programme so that you train a different body part the next day. This will allow the muscles you trained on day one to rest and recover while you train different muscles.
Good luck with your training and I hope this info helps.
Hi, I was wondering if you could speak about the fitness testing you do on players and what standards they are meant to meet.
In my six seasons at Sale Sharks we have tried a variety of different testing procedures with varying degrees of success. I have come to the conclusion that the simpler a test is the better. A fitness test is only as good as what you use the data for and if you run lots of complicated tests then there is little chance of being able to repeat the test in the middle of a very difficult season; therefore it makes the results useless because you don't really know if a player has improved or not.
Basically we run six tests for the entire squad, they are not very scientific but they are easily repeatable (many of them are included as actual fitness sessions throughout the season); they are:
- Maximum Chins
- Maximum Dips
- 10m and 30m Speed
- Rowing Test
- 5 Minute Run
- Hill Sprints
We do set minimum standards (if they aren't reached then they have to do extra training), but we are more concerned with improvements. In addition to this the players also have to fill in training and nutritional diaries so we can quickly tell if a player is pushing themselves and eating the correct foods. We also monitor players' body fat levels.
Page created on August 28th, 2008
Page updated on January 18th, 2010