This thought has come up a couple times over the past week or two in various forms in response to various blogs, conversations and questions I have received. We have at our disposal numerous means of information . . . so much free information about health, wellness, weight loss, etc. Sometimes it is hard to filter through what is useful for you at this time to fit your needs. Not everyone knows what a healthy diet looks like. Not everyone grew up in a home environment where there were healthy habits modeled. Some folks are starting at ground zero and trying to navigate what they need to do and when they need to do it.
I hear these comments. I feel your frustration. Am I doing enough, am I doing too much, etc. So, I thought I would give you a few simple guidelines to help you to gain the tools you need to be equipped to tackle your workout questions.
How often to workout:
You should be doing strength training exercises (weight lifting, push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, etc.) THREE (3) times a week.
You should be doing cardiovascular exercises THREE (3) miles a week. These sessions can be broken down into different times of cardio. One night of Zumba, one night on the treadmill, and one shorter session at a higher intensity (HIIT).
***HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. On an elliptical or cross trainer you would do a warm up, then for 20 seconds you will increase the intensity & speed, then for 40 seconds you would go at a slower pace. You would repeat this 20:40 ratio for a total of 20-30 minutes. ****
What to do:
Strength training can be done in various ways.
You can do lower body one night, upper body on one night and then a full body circuit on the third day.
You can do a full body circuit all three times working both upper and lower body.
There is basically no end to the combinations you could do. I prefer to do supersets three days a week. In a super set you don't rest between exercise sets, you work opposing muscles in a 'set' . For example I would 12 bicep curls then 12 tricep kick backs. Your bicep is the front of your upper arm, the tricep is the back of the upper arm. Or another way to do a superset is to work an upper body part and then work a lower body part . . . no rest would be necessary.
If you are doing circuit training or super sets, you need a day of rest between weight lifting sessions. So, push ups, pull ups, or any other strength training that focuses on one body part, should NOT be done on consecutive nights. Muscles need a 36-48 hr. recover time. So strength training should be every other day. M, W, F or T, Th, Sat. or whatever days work for you. You can strength train every day, but only if you are doing a split session where you focus on upper body one day and lower body the following day.
How to do exercises:
This is where the project really starts. There are a plethora of exercise videos on Spark. Additionally there is this wonderful thing called YouTube. If you don't know how to strengthen you hamstrings, go to YouTube, type in hamstring exercises, watch a couple different videos from various sources to make sure you are getting a good idea of how to execute the exercise. If you don't know the name of the muscle, use you google search engine and type in 'thigh muscles', 'back of leg muscles', 'stomach muscles', etc.
Imagine that you are a student and you are getting graded on your ability to put together a program that would help you to reach your goals. Become THE project.
Additionally, if you are just at a loss as to how to built an effective program, pick up Oxygen magazine or Hers magazine and follow one of the workouts in there. Make yourself a chart with the exercises listed on it and track your progress! When all else fails, follow the program of someone else who you trust. Or ask questions. There are plenty of helpful people who can point you in the right direction.
If you just don't know how to get started and don't care to learn how, well that is why there are exercise instructors, personal trainers and coaches. You owe it to yourself to put together the best team possible to produce the best results for your project.
****** When I re read this I realized that I may have sounded harsh or smart alack in the statement about 'don't care to learn how' . . . that was not my intent at all. That statement was in response to some clients who have all the tools and abilities to succeed, but have an attitude that somehow it won't work for them or that they want everything spelled out and pretty much done for them. In other words, they are allowing excuses to be obstacles to their success. I can write the best nutrition plans and exercise plans in the world, but if someone cannot use the tools put infront of them, I cannot remove obstacles for them.*****
On the countdown front:
No exercise tonight. I had a hair appointment after work. One of my girlfriends just happened to be having her hair done at the same salon, on the same night, at the same time. We were in side by side hairdryers! So cute! We were both getting a cut and color. I asked her what her plans were after her appointment and she had none, so we went to dinner at Applebee's!!!! We both ordered the new Spinach Salad w/Potatoes & Steak. It was 9 weight watchers points (which doesn't mean much to me since I don't do WW). All I know is that it was healthy and yummy! I will give myself 90% compliance for food since I have not tracked this dinner and it was not on my meal plan for tonight.
Even though I didn't exercise today, I moved my day off to today and will workout on Friday which is my regular day off.
Gotta go! This healthy living takes some preparation! Gotta pack my gym bag and my lunch!