Fitness & Wellness Corner – September 2018

How much rest should you really be taking between sets? by Christie L. Simoson, Assistant Fitness Director

We’ve all experienced it – waiting for a piece of equipment and getting aggravated seeing the individual currently ‘utilizing’ said piece of equipment for what seems to be forever. Then, we can’t help but think to ourselves, how productive are they actually being, resting for 5 minutes between each set? On the opposite side of the spectrum, you may have experienced an individual who is like the energizer bunny, with no breaks and a ‘go, go, go’ workout attitude. This brings forth a question that is asked frequently – “how much rest is too little or too much between sets?” I am hoping to give you the answer you are looking for.

Let’s start with why it is important to rest between sets. The rest period dictates the metabolic stress of the workout and influences the amount of resistance that can be used during each set or exercise. You see, the ATP-CP system, which is the primary energy system used during resistance exercises, needs to be replenished. This process takes time (Bushman et al., 2014)! Furthermore, “A rest interval is essential to re-establish intra muscular blood flow and oxygen delivery that allows for the replenishment and restoration, returning the muscle membrane to resting levels (Willardson, 2008)”. If you continue to exercise with no rest, you are continuously breaking down your intra muscular structure, where it cannot repair/recover fast enough to provide the strength you may need to complete the exercise you are performing. According to Bushman et al., “the duration of the rest period significantly influences the metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular responses to a short-term bout of resistance exercise, as well as the performance of subsequent sets.” Therefore, not only is it important to rest between sets/exercises to help repair and prepare your muscles for the next bout, but the duration of the rest period can positively – or negatively – affect your workout regimen as well.

If you continue to exercise with no rest, you are continuously breaking down your intra muscular structure, where it cannot repair/recover fast enough to provide the strength you may need to complete the exercise you are performing.

Okay, time to define a goal. Many individuals begin a resistance training program to increase muscular power, strength, hypertrophy, or endurance. Your exercise regimen should be geared toward your main goal. For example, you would not be running mileage every day if your main goal was to increase muscle mass (hypertrophy), right? The same goes for rest between sets. The amount of time you want to take to rest between each set and/or exercise depends on what you are training for and what your desired goal is. Typically, a longer rest period is recommended for large muscle mass multi-joint exercises (i.e. squat, deadlift), whereas a shorter rest period may be sufficient for a smaller muscle mass single-joint exercise like a bicep curl (Bushman et al., 2014).

Below should give you an idea as to what your rest interval should look like when taking your goal into consideration:

Muscular Strength – 2-3 minutes between sets Muscular Power – 1-2 minutes for lower intensity, 2-3 for higher intensity Muscular hypertrophy – 1-2 minutes between sets Muscular endurance - <30 seconds between sets

If the goal is to increase both muscle mass and strength, both a long rest (with heavy loading) and short rest (with moderate loading) should be included. One way to determine if you are getting enough rest between sets is to be on the lookout for loss of force production (Bushman et al., 2014). If this occurs, you should practice longer rest periods. In sum, the heavier the resistance, the more rest that should be allotted between sets and exercises.

Another factor you may want to consider when determining the rest period for your exercise regimen includes your training age (how long you have been training); A longer rest period may be necessary until you have adapted both physiologically and psychologically, being able to perform the same given exercise and amount of weight/resistance with a shorter rest interval between sets (Willardson, 2008).

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There you have it! The rest between sets varies depending on your goal and experience. So while you may only take 20 seconds of rest between sets (with a goal of muscular endurance), it may be necessary for another to take a 3-minute break due to the fact that your goals are on opposite spectrums! While there isn’t a perfect solution to get on that piece of equipment you have been waiting a long time for, don’t be afraid to ask to work-in with them between sets!

This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.


Bushman, B. A., & Battista, R. (2014). ACSMs Resources for the Personal Trainer (4th ed.), 378-382. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health.

Willardson, J. M. (2008). A Brief Review: How Much Rest between Sets? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30(3), 44-50. doi:10.1519/ssc.0b013e31817711a4

Yates August 2018 Maintenance Closing

Dear Members,

Please take note that Yates Field House will be closed for maintenance work and facility updates from Saturday, August 4 through Sunday, August 19, 2018. Yates will be partnering with local facilities that all members will have access to during this time at no additional charge.

While the facility is closed, we have arranged for Yates members to swim at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). Members may enter the facility on Yuma and 35th. While no sign up is required to gain this access, members must bring their Yates ID card or GU GOcard upon entry.

Furthermore, all Yates members will have the opportunity to gain access to the Sport and Fitness Center of the Georgetown University Law Center during these weeks. The center also has a pool that members can use. In order to use the Law Center fitness facilities, members must submit their name through the form below. Sign up for Law Center access will be closed on August 1st.

Submit your name for Law Center access here.

Access to the Law Center will only be valid from August 4th through August 19th. Members can visit the Sport and Fitness Center of the Georgetown University Law Center website to learn more about facility hours and offerings.

More information and resources regarding the closing can be found on our website. With many exciting updates on the horizon, the facility will be refreshed for the new school year! We hope you enjoy the changes, and we thank you for your patience while we get the work completed.

Yates Field House Staff

Director of Fitness and Wellness Maegen Hellberg Announces New Line of Selectorized Weight Equipment in Yates

During Spring Break 2018, Yates Field House installed a brand new line of Hammer Strength Selectorized Weight equipment. After observing how students and members use the Yates fitness spaces over a number of years, Director of Fitness and Wellness Maegen Hellberg recognized a need for newer, better-functioning equipment that would create greater opportunities for members to engage in physical activity.


“Our patrons had expressed interest in upgrading this equipment, and we strongly value the feedback of our students and members,” Maegen said. “We strive to provide the most optimal equipment experience possible as time and budget allow.”

Choosing a brand of selectorized equipment for this section of the facility was not a simple task. After extensive research and testing of several lines of equipment, Maegen and the fitness team decided to proceed with the Hammer Strength line because of its durability, performance, and user-friendly features. Four of the new pieces that were installed are part of the Motion Technology Selectorized (MTS) line, which offers the user the opportunity to concentrate on Iso-Lateral movements with the convenience of a selectorized weight stack. Maegen added, “We were also impressed by the look, feel, custom options, and smaller facility footprint of this line. In the end, we felt like this would be a welcomed addition to our current strength offerings in The Field House.”


As an Assistant Director of Yates Field House and the Director of Fitness & Wellness, Maegen is responsible for developing, implementing, supervising, and evaluating the Group Fitness, Personal Training, and Health & Wellness programs for the Georgetown community. She additionally oversees the fitness floor, all cardio and strength equipment, The Rack, and stretching areas in Yates. Maegen holds a BS in Biology/Pre-Medical Sciences and a MS in Public Health with a concentration in nutrition. She also holds certifications as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Spinning® Instructor, and TRX Instructor. Maegen’s extensive knowledge, vision, and expertise in fitness and fitness equipment made her an excellent advocate to lead this initiative for equipment replacement.

How to Scrap Together an IM Team

Have you ever had that event that you’re dying to go to but none of your friends are interested? A Black Pistol Fire concert or that beekeeping class? Most times, it doesn’t matter because you can just go by yourself and while it can be awkward, you have that option.

IM sports, however, is a whole different ballpark. You can’t just show up by yourself and play 5 people in volleyball or have a 3 on 1 basketball game. You need a team. But what if your friends aren’t interested?  Believe it or not, you have other options.

1. Add yourself into a random team. This may surprise you but many teams could use more players. In fact, the IM soccer team I was on had 20 players on the roster but only 5 players would ever show up. On the IM League website, teams can choose whether or not to accept single players or “free agents”. Many click yes so if you just go on the website, you might find a team looking for members. And who knows, you might just meet some really nice people!

2. Talk incessantly about the sport you’re interested in and casually ask people, “are you doing IM?” Chances are, you’ll find someone who is and they’ll ask you if you are too, to which you can explain your predicament and join their team.

3. Just ask random people — your acquaintances in class, your roommates, people you see in the HFSC glass room watching sports games, people in your clubs, random people walking out of Yates who look fit and like they could be an asset to your team. (I didn’t give you that advice if anyone asks).

4. If it really comes down to it, ask some random freshman for their netids, put them in the system, and maybe when they get an email reminder about the game that night, they’ll think it’s mandatory and show up. I’m kidding of course. (But actually, desperate times call for desperate measures).

But chances are, if you really look, you’ll find a team. And maybe, just maybe, your team will go from the underdogs to champs. But if not, well, we can’t all be like Brad Pitt in Moneyball.

Release, Relax, Re-Use: Stress

Define: Stress Culture


  1. A common phenomenon among the student body at Georgetown University.
  2. A force that creates mental and emotional strain around social, academic, and even physical well-being.
  3. Especially prevalent during the final 2 weeks known as the exam periods.

What to do, what to do…

I’ve been stressed for as long as I can remember. In my baby photos, my brows were always furrowed, making me look like a 2 year old Jimmy Neutron that couldn’t figure out why I had to eat nasty baby food. I began prematurely graying before I had even turned 10 and was often praised for it by adults who said it meant wisdom. Similarly, Georgetown’s culture encourages stress, holding it on a pedestal as a trophy that means you are successfully doing too much. While I can rant about the issues revolving around this culture, let’s focus on discussing how to manage stress.

I’m sure by now you’ve heard that exercise can really help alleviate stress. Whether it be running, lifting weights, swimming, etc. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, all of these exercises help reduce fatigue, increase concentration, and act as natural painkillers. And while I do love my fair share of traditional exercise, I’ve discovered a few unconventional ways to work on my stress at Yates.


My stress needs somewhere to go (besides the roots of my hair) so I like hitting things.

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Golf balls. The pitching range is located on the bottom level, in a room across from the basketball courts.


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Baseballs. There is a batting range on the roof of Yates by Kehoe Field.


Yates Fieldhouse



Tennis balls. Lower floor, back area, surrounded by mesh nets.




Rooms on bottom level near staircase.


Squash and Racquetball balls. Rooms on bottom level near staircase.




To Rent Equipment:

To Reserve Courts:


I find quite a few activities peaceful, giving me time to contemplate.

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Swimming. The pool is rarely crowded and it’s quiet. All you hear is splashing water and all you see is splashing water (and the sun streaming in from the windows).

*click image for pool schedule


Sauna. I come here with my friends a lot. You still feel like something’s happening so you’re not being completely inefficient and it oddly feels “cleansing”.



Yoga Class. You really get to just think about your breathing, your body, and that really nice nap you get to take at the end.



This image is restricted for use by Yates Field House only. Any other use must be authorized by Yates Field House administrators.


Spin Class. This might just be a me thing, but sometimes it’s nice to listen to someone else yell. You can pretend it’s you yelling but have it not be you. Ok, this is definitely a me thing.



Find Group Fitness Classes:

Remind myself that life exists outside of “stress”

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Play ping pong games with friends




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Play tag in the basketball courts



Re-Use the Stress

Sometimes, stress is damaging, paralyzing, and difficult to manage. But when you have control of it, it can be one of your strongest motivators. I often use stress to push myself further during workouts.

Yates Fieldhouse

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Sprinting from my problems.





Lifting my grades up.





Pushing away my worries.



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Taking a leap of faith.




So, when finals are creeping up and you’ve been spending more and more time in our beloved Brutalist-style library, take a break. After 6 hours, 12 hours, nay a whole 24 hours spent locked in that prison, you need some freedom. Somewhere you can be yourself, move your body, and actually feel like a living human. Go somewhere you can breathe and not feel guilty, where you can feel refreshed and accomplished at the same time. Yates. It’s always been Yates. Welcome to your real second home.