If you’re on a mission to slim down and improve your body fat, one thing you’ll want to be thinking about is how exercise fits into the equation.
While it’s true that a good diet will account for up to 75% of the results you see, exercise plays a critical role as well.
Some people often wonder whether they have to exercise in order to see weight loss results. Can’t they just watch what they eat?
The answer is yes and no. You can see weight loss results by simply making changes to your food intake, but the weight loss results you get won’t be as good – or as healthy – as they would be if you exercised.
The reason exercise is so critical is because exercise helps ensure that any weight loss you do experience is fat loss. It helps your body preserve your lean muscle mass, so at the end of your program, you’re left with a fit, firm body.
This means you just become a smaller version of your current self. You won’t get that firm athletic look that most people desire.
And even more importantly, if you lose lean muscle while you diet, your resting metabolic rate will slow down, making it harder to maintain your weight loss into the future.
The smart approach to weight loss includes both exercise and diet as part of the protocol. The nutrition you use will help fuel your workouts, giving you maximum energy while ensuring that your body is utilizing body fat as a fuel source.
Now that you know why exercise is so important for fat loss results, let’s start talking specifics.
Male Versus Female - Should You Exercise Differently?
Before we get into too many details, it’s important to address gender differences here. Men and women often wonder if they should be doing unique workouts tailed to their own gender.
Generally speaking, the answer is no. Both men and women need very similar forms of exercise, so the only differences you’ll see is in the details of how the exercise is performed.
For the average man and woman, you’ll typically find that men do have a greater recovery capacity. Meaning, they can tolerate higher volumes of workloads and more frequent exercise sessions.
Of course there are always exceptions to this case, but note that women may need a little more time for rest and recovery each week and may need to focus on slightly shorter workout sessions.
Amount Of Weight Lifted
When we begin talking about the resistance training component of a balanced exercise routine, it’s important to note that challenging yourself with the weight you lift is a much.
As men are naturally quite a bit stronger than women, they should focus on using heavier weight loads.
Keep in mind this does not mean a woman shouldn’t lift more than 5 pounds. It’s important for all females to challenge their muscles and focus on lifting heavy.
Challenging yourself, whether you are a man or a woman is a key!
Lifting a challenging weight is required to help build lean muscle, boost the metabolic rate, and improve functional strength levels.
Reliance On Aerobic Exercise
Another difference to note is the need for aerobic exercise. Women may need to rely on aerobic exercise a little more to see weight loss results than males do.
The reason for this being that women typically have a lower total daily calorie burn (due to less total muscle mass and lower BMR values), so the added exercise can help get their calorie deficit to where it needs to be to see optimal weight loss results.
Women also usually have more stubborn body fat stores (in the hips and thigh region) and this type of fat responds well to aerobic exercise, especially performed in a fasted state.
Males often don’t have to turn to this to burn fat. For them, moderate doses of resistance exercise, anaerobic cardio exercise, and the odd aerobic workout is sufficient.
Body Parts Focused On
Finally, the last difference in exercise programming for men and women is simply the areas of focus.
This simply means that the exercise program for each gender may include a few more exercises for these specific muscle groups to target them maximally.
Apart from these few differences, a workout program for a man is very similar to a workout program for a woman.
Now let’s talk about some general rules to follow when putting together a good workout program.
General Workout Guidelines
While the workout you come up with will likely vary considerably based on your own preferences, needs, and goals, there are some general guidelines that you’ll want to follow.
If you put these into place, you can feel more confident that you are stepping forward on the right foot.
Allow For At Least One, If Not Two Days Of Rest/Recovery Each Week
Rest is key! Some of those who are new to exercise think the more exercise they do, the better their results will be.
This isn’t the case. Without rest, your body will not recover and grow back stronger than it was before. It’s rest that allows you to make progress.
Everyone should take at least one day off for rest and recovery each week. Some people may need two days off, and others may even need three.
Remember you can also vary the intensity of the sessions you do perform. You might do three hard days each week, two lighter days each week, and have two days off for complete rest.
Combine Both Resistance Training And Cardiovascular Exercise
To form a well-rounded workout program, you’ll want to include both resistance training as well as cardiovascular exercise. This gives you benefits of both worlds and helps you achieve the highest level of fitness.
If you absolutely must choose between them, focus on strength training. It’s the most important and beneficial form of exercise you can do.
Perform Anaerobic Cardiovascular Exercise (HIIT) When You Are At The Fitness Level To Do So
On the cardiovascular side of things, consider performing high intensity interval training whenever you are at the fitness level to do so.
This form of training is far more beneficial as far as fat loss and fitness improvements go. Just remember it is intense, so balance it with sufficient rest as noted above.
Always Focus On Form First (It’s Your #1 Priority!)
Don’t ever let your form slip while doing your exercise training. If you move out of good form due to fatigue, stop and rest until you can continue using the right form.
If you aren’t sure how to use proper form in any given exercise, get help from a trained professional. Most gyms have staff who can assist with this.
If exercising at home, check out some YouTube videos online. There are plenty of resources you can learn from.
Remember To Regulate Your Breathing
Breathing during your workout is a must, but many people hold their breath. This is especially the case with weight lifting workouts.
Keep your breathing regulated and you’ll have more energy and a greater overall strength output.
Plus, it’ll reduce the chances you become light-headed and dizzy.
Start Every Workout With A Proper Warm-Up
When in a rush, most people race through their warm-ups. Big mistake!
Your warm-up is key to preventing injuries, getting your body ready to perform optimally, and for getting your head in the zone.
Take 5-10 minutes and perform some light cardio exercise, some arm and leg swings, and some gentle range of movement stretches.
Note that this is not the time to work on your flexibly however. Save that for after the workout is over.
Which brings us to your cool-down. After your workout is finished, focus on deep stretching exercises.
Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, remembering to breathe as you go through each stretch.
Flexibility training is critical to maintaining a good range of motion, which will then allow you to perform every exercise you do properly.
While you don’t need to be doing hundreds of crunches each workout to get a strong core like some people believe, it can be beneficial to include a few core exercises in your workout routine. When adding these in, do them at the end of your workout session.
If you do them at the start, you’ll fatigue your core muscles early on, which can reduce your stability when performing all your other exercise. This can lower the results you see and put you at risk for injury.
Recovery is a key part of the results equation, especially when it comes to resistance training. After you break your muscle tissues down in the gym, you need to give them that time to recover and come back stronger, as noted earlier.
As such, whenever you perform a resistance training workout for a given muscle group, be sure to allow for at least 48 hours of time to pass before working that same muscle group again.
For example, if you do squats on Monday, the soonest you should do any lower body weight lifting exercises is Wednesday. This will ensure you are coming back to each workout feeling stronger than you were before.
Now that these guidelines are out of the way, let’s go over some of the basic exercise terminology that you should know.
Exercise Terminology To Know
- Rest Period
- Compound Exercise
- Isolation Exercise
- Circuit Training
- Heart Rate (HR)
A rep refers to you moving through an exercise from start to finish once.
For example, in a push-up, one rep is going from the top position to the lower where the elbows are fully bent and then back up to the top again.
A set refers to performing a number of reps all in a row before taking a rest break.
If you do a set of 10, this means you have performed 10 reps before stopping.
You’ll find that weight lifted and reps per set are inversely related.
The heavier the weight is, the fewer the reps you perform per set.
Likewise, the lighter the weight is, the more reps you can perform before resting.
The rest period of an exercise refers to how long you rest in between sets during a strength training workout.
Generally speaking, the heavier the weight is that you are using, the longer the rest period will need to be.
The concentric portion of a strength training exercise is the portion of the movement where the muscle fibers are shortening.
Usually it is the first phase of the movement and is what most people think of as the ‘contraction’ phase.
It is during this phase that you want to exhale your breath.
The eccentric portion of the exercise is the opposite portion, where the muscles are lengthening and returning to the starting position.
It’s during this phase that you want to take a deep breath in.
A superset is a term used in resistance training programs to describe pairing two exercise sets back to back with no rest in between.
‘Same-part’ supersets are where you do two exercises that work the same muscle group like squats and the leg extension.
‘Antagonistic’ supersets are where you do two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as the bicep curl paired with the tricep extension.
Finally, ‘upper-lower’ supersets are where you perform one exercise for the upper body paired with one exercise for the lower body. So for example, you might do a push-up with a squat.
A compound exercise is any exercise that works more than one muscle group at once and usually spans across two joints as well.
For example, a squat works your hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, core, as well as the muscles in the lower back region. It also involves the knees and the hips.
Compound exercises, as they work so many muscles at once, are very effective for improving strength, burning calories (and fat!), and for saving time in the gym.
Examples of compound exercises are squats, deadlifts, bench presses, shoulder presses, bent over rows, push-ups, pull-ups, lat pull-downs, walking lunges, and the plank exercise.
In opposition of compound exercises you have isolation exercises.
These are exercises that are targeting just one specific muscle group in the body and typically only span across one joint.
Examples of these exercises include leg extensions, hamstring curls, bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, front raises, and front crunches.
These exercises will not produce as high of a calorie burn or spike to your metabolic rate, nor will they help to add as much total body strength.
This said, when you want to really shape a muscle or strengthen it without working any other muscle groups (such as if it was a weaker muscle in your body), they can be beneficial to add into your routine.
You’ll usually always perform isolation exercises after your compound exercises.
Circuit training is an approach to your workout where you move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible, taking very little rest in between exercises.
Then once the entire series of exercises is completed, you’ll rest for a minute or two before repeating a second and possibly third time through (depending on what your particular protocol calls for).
Heart Rate (HR)
Heart rate refers to how many beats per minute (BPM) your heart is beating as you exercise.
You’ll often see the term ‘target heart rate’ used to describe how hard you want to be working during an exercise session.
1-RM stands for one rep max and describes how much weight you can lift in any given weight lifting exercise for just one rep.
You may decide to test your 1-RM every month or two after training to see how much progress you’ve made.
Note that testing your 1-RM is very stressful on the body, so is not something that you should be doing on a regular basis.
Getting to know these terms will make reading about workout programming much easier.
Types Of Exercise
Now it’s time to take a closer look at the types of exercise that you can perform as you come up with your exercise program.
There are four general types of exercise:
Let’s talk about each one individually.
Aerobic exercise is any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there for an extended period of time. This could include exercise such as going for a jog, taking your dog for a walk, going for a swim, or even doing some gardening in your yard.
Aerobic exercise can range in intensity from being relatively light to moderately intense. Note that you should never feel like you are gasping for air however.
To be at the right intensity level to be considered aerobic (meaning ‘with oxygen’), you should be able to maintain a conversation with someone next to you. It may not be easy to talk, but you should be able to do so.
- Is relatively easy to get started with and just about anyone can do it with minimal equipment
- Is a great form of exercise to do on your ‘light’ training days
- Can be done in so many different ways that there is no reason not to find a method that you enjoy doing
- Helps to increase your total daily calorie burn
- Shouldn’t put you at too great of a risk of injury
- Is a good form of exercise for beginners
- Helps to strengthen your lunges and heart
- If done using weight baring exercise, it can help to strengthen your bones
- Will not provide much of a boost to your metabolic rate compared to other forms of exercise
- May lead to overuse exercises if done too frequently (without enough variety in modes of exercise)
- Some people may find it boring and hard to stick with
- If too much is done while in a calorie deficit, it may lead to the loss of lean muscle mass tissue
- Improved heart health
Anaerobic Cardiovascular Exercise
The next type of workout you’ll want to consider is anaerobic exercise. If aerobic exercise means ‘with oxygen’, anaerobic exercise means without oxygen.
This form of exercise is so intense the body is unable to keep up with the oxygen demands you are placing on it, which creates an effect referred to as EPOC.
This stands for ‘excess post exercise oxygen consumption’ and refers to the fact that your body is going to have to spend a good amount of time after each workout is over returning to a state of homeostasis and recovering.
It’s this process that helps you burn more calories for hours after the exercise is over. Studies suggest that a session of anaerobic training can help you burn energy at an increased rate for up to 48 hours after the session is over. This goes a long way towards helping you burn fat.
Anaerobic exercise is short-duration exercise, lasting only up to about two minutes in length.
At this point, your body is either forced to stop exercising or you will have to lower the intensity of exercise so that you can begin utilizing oxygen and move into an aerobic state.
Think sprinting, running a set of stairs, performing a set of 20 rep walking lunges, or running after a football that’s thrown to you.
Many sports involve anaerobic types of exercise, which is why this form of training is so beneficial for any athletes.
Even for the everyday individual who just wants to be fit, anaerobic exercise, often referred to as high intensity interval training, is a smart form of exercise to include in their protocol.
You’ll feel more athletic while doing it and it will make everyday lifestyle activities feel that much easier.
- Helps to improve your VO2 max levels
- Elevates your resting metabolic rate for hours after the workout is over
- Improves bone strength and density provided you choose a weight baring form of exercise
- Is relatively quick to perform (most workouts last only 20 minutes or so)
- Is fun and less boring than conventional forms of aerobic training
- Provides excellent transfer over benefits to sports, improving athletic fitness levels
- Improves muscular strength and power
- Focuses on improving fast twitch muscle fiber contractibility
- Enhances insulin sensitivity, improving how your body utilizes the carbohydrates that you consume
- You do need a base level of fitness to perform this type of training - it’s not suitable for the new beginner
- Your risk of injuries with this training may be higher
- It cannot be performed on a daily basis or you may risk burnout
- Needs to be well-balanced with any other intense exercise you are doing such a strength training so overtraining doesn’t set in
- Can be uncomfortable to do at times as fatigue is quite high
- It does require you to eat beforehand in order to perform this type of exercise optimally
- For some individuals, it may cause hunger to be higher, making it more challenging to stick with a fat loss diet plan
Resistance exercise is the next form of exercise that you’ll need to know about. This form of exercise is the exercise that just about everyone should be getting into their workout program at some point during the week.
One of the biggest reasons that people struggle as they get older is because they lose lean muscle mass tissue and resistance exercise is one of the best forms of exercise to help prevent this from occurring.
Resistance training, like anaerobic exercise, also leads to the process of EPOC, so you can expect to experience an increase in your resting metabolic rate for hours after the workout session is completed.
Additionally, if you are able to build more lean muscle mass because of your resistance training workouts, this can permanently increase your resting metabolic rate so you are burning more calories every single day.
Resistance training exercise is also the only form of exercise that will help you reshape your physique. By doing this exercise variation, you can build muscle in areas of your body, giving shape and curves in all the right places.
Resistance exercise can include weight training related activities using dumbbells and barbells (collectively referred to as ‘free weight training’), it can involve using machine based weight lifting exercises, it can involve using resistance bands or tubes, or it can just involve using your own body weight.
There are many ways to include resistance training as part of your routine, so there’s really no excuse for not making it a part of your plan.
When designing a resistance-training workout, you can train your body in many ways.
A full body workout refers to hitting all the main muscle groups in your body in a single session. So you’ll work both the upper as well as the lower body, hitting all the major muscle groups.
Usually compound exercises are the focus in this type of plan as they allow you to work more muscle groups at once, thus making it possible to hit all the muscles in a reasonable period of time.
If you are doing full body workouts, you’ll need to take one day off to rest between each workout, so this allows for 3-4 workouts per week (if you did alternating days).
An upper/lower split workout refers to splitting your workout up so that you are working the upper body muscles on some days and the lower body muscle groups on other days.
This typically has you in the gym four days per week as you’ll do two upper body workouts and two lower body workouts.
You would structure the protocol as upper body workout, lower body workout, rest day, upper body workout, lower body workout, rest day, rest day.
Dividing the body up in half like this allows you to perform more total exercises for each muscle group. The increased volume can then yield superior results.
It is a bit more of an advanced workout split, so typically something that you would do after you have been weight lifting for at least 3-4 months.
A push/pull/lower split workout is a workout where you divide the body up even further, this time doing one lower body day, one upper body day where you work all the pulling exercises, and one upper body day where you work all the pushing exercises.
For those who feel that trying to hit all the upper body muscles in one day is just too challenging, this workout may be the better option. You can structure this throughout the week however you feel you can handle, recovery wise.
This might mean doing two lower body days, one upper push and one upper pull, or it might mean just doing one of each workout per week. Or, you may simply rotate through them, taking a rest day every two to three days or as needed.
Your own recovery capacity will dictate how you design this over your workout week.
Finally, a body part split workout is where you will break your body down even further, dedicating one day to legs, one day to chest, one day to back, one day to shoulders, and then typically one day to legs.
These types of splits are usually done in the professional bodybuilding community and generally not recommended for the general population.
They require more time in the gym and you generally, most people will do better hitting their muscles with a higher frequency level.
While you can try this type of approach if your goal is muscle gain, and we’ll discuss that more later, it’s not ideal if your goal is performance enhancement.
Choosing a workout set-up may feel overwhelming and confusing, but it really doesn’t have to be.
Remember that whatever you choose, it’s never set in stone and you can adjust it as needed as you see what sorts of results you are getting and what your own personal workout set-up preferences are.
- Improves muscular strength, improving functional fitness levels
- Helps to reshape your body, adding more lean muscle mass where desired
- Will strengthen the bones, ligaments and tendons
- Helps to improve balance and agility
- Increases the resting metabolic rate, making it easier to burn fat and maintain a healthy body weight
- Helps to lower stress levels thanks to the feel good endorphin release you get with this exercise
- Will help to improve cardiovascular conditioning levels (when performing compound exercises and using a higher rep range)
- Isn’t too time commitment heavy - good results can be seen with 3, 30 minute workouts per week
- Improves insulin sensitivity, so can help ward off future weight gain as well as diabetes
- Boosts heart health
- Does have a learning curve - you will need to learn how to do the exercises first before performing them
- May lead to injuries if exercises are not performed correctly
- Must be scheduled properly to avoid overtraining
- Also requires you to eat before training, so this must be planned out ahead of time
Finally, the last type of exercise that you’ll want to note is flexibility exercise. This is exercise that is designed to help increase your overall range of motion and should make performing all the exercises you are doing feel that much easier.
Flexibility exercise, also sometimes referred to as stretching, can be done in a few different ways.
You can do passive stretching, which is the most common form of stretching where you simply move into the stretch and hold it there.
You can do active stretching, in which you typically resist against a partner for a period of time and then relax the muscle as they press you deeper into the stretch, helping you feel it even further.
And finally, you can do dynamic stretching, which is more done at the start of a workout and involves simple range of motion movements such as arm swings and leg circles.
Stretching doesn’t have to take all that long, 10-15 minutes in most cases, but it’s something that you do want to be doing on a regular basis. You will lose your flexibility quickly if it’s not kept up, so trying to do it daily is wise.
As you become more flexible, you’ll be able to complete all the other exercises in your workout program more easily as you can move through the full range of motion. This can lead to superior results.
Be sure when doing passive or active stretching that you hold each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds and that you remember to breathe while doing the stretches.
Too many people hold their breath, which makes the muscles tense up and can lead to muscle strains or pulls.
Never stretch to the point of sheer pain either. Feeling a gentle stretch is fine; feeling pain is not. Make sure you understand the difference.
- Can improve your range of motion in other exercises performed, leading to superior results
- May help to decrease your risk of injuries
- Helps to reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness
- Improves mobility into older age
- Is easy for everyone to be doing
- Helps you cool-down after an exercise session is over
- You can pull a muscle if you don’t stretch properly
- Does take time at the end of your workout session
- A warm-up must be done first, so this isn’t something that you can do cold
Now that you have a better look at the various types of exercises that you can do let’s take a look at how you should go about adapting your exercise program to the goals that you have set.
Adapting Your Exercise Program To Your Goals
When it comes to exercise programming, it’s not a one-size fits all solution. You need to carefully take into account what your goals are, what exercises will help get you there, and what your own personal preferences are.
Remember, if you hate doing your workouts, you won’t stay consistent and won’t see the results you desire. You can have the best workout program in the world, but if you aren’t following it, it’s not helping you at all.
Make sure that you are putting your focus on exercise varieties that you enjoy doing so that adherence is high.
Here are the main factors to think about when getting ready to plan out your exercise program:
- How much time do you have available? It makes no sense to form a workout program that has you exercising 6 days per week if realistically you know you are so busy, getting to the gym 4 days per week is already a challenge
- What is your current fitness level? While it’s great to challenge yourself, be realistic.
- If your program is too intense you’ll just burnout or worse, become injured
- What resources do you have? If you are someone who likes exercising at home, find a workout that will suit the little, if any, equipment you have.
- If, on the other hand, you love the gym atmosphere, find a workout that will make good use of all the equipment options you have available
- What is your current diet like? Remember that nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand.
- If you are using a very low carb diet approach, doing three weight lifting workouts plus two HIIT anaerobic cardio sessions is not a wise move. You simply need more carbs in the diet to fuel these activities.
- Be sure that your nutrition is going to fuel those workouts
- Do you have any pre-existing or nagging injuries? If so, plan your workouts accordingly. You may need to modify or completely omit some exercises until these injuries heal
If you take all of these factors into account along with your primary goals, you’ll stand a much better chance of seeing good results and enjoying the process as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the various goals you may have and how to best plan a workout to match:
The first goal is the one that’s most commonly seen: weight loss. If you’ve put on a few too many pounds over the years and are now looking to shed some of that weight, you may be wondering the best approach to use.
For this goal, calories really matter. In order to lose body fat, you’ll need to create a calorie deficit, meaning you take in fewer calories through your food intake than you burn off throughout the day.
This can be done in one of three ways:
- Decreasing your food consumption
- Increasing your exercise calorie burn
- A combination of both
A combination of both is the preferred method. We won’t go into the nutrition aspect of this too much here as that’s a topic for another article.
So let’s focus in on increasing the exercise calorie burn. You can through this through any form of movement, however the two types of workouts that will give you the best ‘bang for your buck’, so to speak, are high intensity interval (aerobic) training along with resistance training.
Both of these exercises help you burn calories while you do them and will raise your metabolic rate so you continue to burn calories long after the workout is over. This is precisely what you want for peak fat loss results.
You do need to remember however that since you are taking in less fuel from food at this point, your recovery won’t be what it normally is. As such, you may not be able to perform quite as many workouts or as long of workout as if you weren’t dieting.
Here’s how to set up your workout protocol using these two primary forms of exercise. Remember that stretching/flexibility training should be added to your workout routine regardless of your goal.
You’ll want to include 1-2 sessions of aerobic sprint interval training as part of your routine.
These sessions should be done either on your off days, or if you feel up to it, after your resistance training workouts.
Note that if you are doing them after your weight lifting, it would be most ideal to divide the two sessions by at least four hours.
This means doing one in the morning and another in the evening. It’ll give you more of a chance to recover so you can put forth maximum performance in each.
These sessions should not last more than 20 minutes and you can choose your length of interval (between 15-60 seconds) depending on your own personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with.
If you really want to turn up the dial on fat burning, you can also perform another 10-20 minutes of steady state cardio after your interval training is finished.
This can help to go the extra mile because the anaerobic exercise is very good at using up any glucose that’s currently in the blood stream and releasing fatty acids from the body fat cells.
Then after that’s performed, the added moderate paced cardio training can help to burn off those fatty acids as a fuel source.
Keep in mind that your body will rely exclusively on glucose as a fuel source during very intense anaerobic exercise, while during aerobic exercise, it can use fat as a fuel source instead.
If you are someone who is not in good enough shape yet to do HIIT, instead replace this with 2-4 sessions of moderate intensity steady state cardio lasting around 30-60 minutes. This can be done first thing in the morning or later on in the day - your choice.
Once your cardio segment is set you then need to consider the resistance training element of this goal.
One big mistake that some people make is dramatically reducing the weight they are lifting and starting to perform very high rep sets.
While adding some higher rep sets can be good to give your metabolic rate a boost, you want to keep heavy lifting in the picture.
As you diet, your body is at a greater risk of losing lean muscle mass tissue and if you aren’t giving it the strong signal it needs to keep that muscle tissue in place (by forcing it to lift heavy), your chances only increase.
So divide your resistance training session up a bit. Perform one or two sets of the primary compound exercises using a heavier weight in the 5-10 rep range and then perform one to two sets of higher rep training, doing 15-20 reps while you lighten the weight. This will give you the best of both worlds.
It should also be noted that when training for fat loss, keeping your rest periods as short as possible is also a wise move.
Don’t shorten them so much that you lose proper form, but do avoid letting them drag on too long.
When they are shorter, you’ll get a stronger metabolic boost after the session is over and also get great cardiovascular conditioning benefits as well.
You may also utilize training techniques such as drop sets, supersets, and circuit training if desired to help keep your rest periods shorter.
When aiming for optimal fat burning, you might want to consider moving to a full body approach with your resistance training protocol.
Since this means you’ll be utilizing more compound lifts and working more muscle fibers at once, this can really help you boost your total calorie burn per session, while also increasing your resting metabolic rate higher. Both of these lead to faster rates of fat loss progress.
If using this approach, you would perform a full body weight lifting workout every other day, making for three workouts total. Then you can add your two sessions of HIIT, leaving two days off for rest and recovery.
Your Training Week Might Look Like The Following:
- Monday - Full Body Weight Lifting Workout
- Tuesday - Anaerobic Session (HIIT)
- Wednesday - Full Body Weight Lifting Workout
- Thursday - Rest/Recovery
- Friday - Full Body Weight Lifting Workout
- Saturday - Anaerobic Session (HIIT)
- Sunday - Rest Recovery
Keep in mind you can adjust this based on your preferred gym days, but do remember that you will need at least one day off between each weight lifting workout.
While this is a general recommendation for creating an effective fat loss program, do keep in mind that you can vary this based on your own preferences, fitness level, and unique needs.
The next goal that many people have when developing an exercise program is to gain lean muscle mass.
Almost everyone, at some point, should focus on this goal because adding lean muscle mass to your body will not only help with weight maintenance (because the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be).
It should also be because it makes you stronger in day to day life and can help offset the normal strength losses that happen due to aging.
To gain lean muscle mass, there needs to be three key factors present:
An Overloading Stimulus
This means you need to go to the gym and apply more stress to the muscle than it has experienced before. In doing so, you’ll force it to grow back stronger as well as larger.
A Calorie Surplus
In order to generate more body tissue, you need to be in an energy surplus, meaning you are taking in more calories than you are burning off each day. This is basically the opposite as if you were trying to lose body fat.
This is also why, apart from those who are very new to weight lifting, it’s nearly impossible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. You need to be in completely different metabolic states in terms of your energy availability to achieve each goal.
Beginners can often do this simply because their body is responding to the new stress of weight lifting and will build a little muscle regardless of calorie intake.
After a few short weeks of training however, this ‘newbie’ effect is lost and they will either need to focus on building lean muscle mass or losing body fat depending on their goal.
Do keep in mind with this calorie surplus however that there is a limit to how much lean muscle mass you can build each day.
Some people take this to mean they should just eat as much food as they can each day to optimize their muscle growth, but generally this just leads to a lot of body fat gain as well.
Once your body has maxed out the muscle growth it can experience each day, any extra calories taken in over and beyond that will just go towards additional body fat accumulation.
Finally, the last element in the equation to build lean muscle mass is sufficient rest for recovery. After you break the muscle tissue down, applying that overloading stimulus, you need to give enough rest for recovery to take place.
This is when the muscle will begin growing stronger again and provided the nutrition is there to support it, growth will occur.
Too many people make the mistake of not resting enough during their muscle building program and that’s why they don’t see the results they’re going for.
Don’t let yourself come to believe that ‘more is more’ for building muscle. Often less is more. You need to train smarter, not necessarily longer.
Putting these elements in place will help guarantee that you see the results you’re looking for.
Here are a few more tips for structuring your workout program for muscle gain
Choose Your Workout Split
The first thing you’ll need to do when designing a program for building muscle is select your workout split. The workout you choose to use will rely on your current experience and fitness level.
Beginners will typically be best off using a full body workout approach while more advanced trainees will want to consider an upper/lower split or a push/pull/lower split.
Those who are very advanced with a good muscle mass foundation may decide to choose a body part split.
Focus On Compound Movements
The next element that needs to be put into place is compound lifts. To build lean muscle mass, these are going to again give you the best results for your time invested.
You’ll hit the most muscle fibers with these exercises, ensuring that you are maximizing your total growth potential. Additionally, they’ll also allow you to lift more weight, which can also enhance the muscle generation process.
You should be focusing on making 60-80% of your workout composed of these compound exercises using a heavy enough weight that you feel really challenged.
Beyond that, you can then add in some isolation exercises, finishing the muscles off and bringing them to a point of full fatigue.
Know Your Rep Range
It’s also vital to consider your rep range for building muscle. Now, the rep range to build maximum strength (and gain a bit of muscle) is set at around 5-8 reps per set.
The rep range that focuses more exclusively on muscle building (and less on strength) is 8-12 reps.
Ideally you’ll want to include sets of both of these ranges in your workout routine. Do some lower rep, heavy weight lifting on some initial compound exercises when you are fresh and then as your workout progresses on, you can move into the higher rep sets, using less weight for those.
This will give you the best of both worlds and ensure that you are not just getting muscle growth, but also improving your muscle strength as well.
Be Mindful Of Cardio Training
So where does cardio fit into all of this? While some people choose to forgo cardio entirely when trying to build muscle, it’s still a good idea to keep some cardio in the picture.
This will help keep your heart health in check and also help prevent you from becoming winded when doing higher rep sets of compound exercises such as squats and lunges.
Ideally you should aim to perform 2-3 sessions of 20-30 minutes per week. Keep the intensity level moderate.
You can implement HIIT cardio variations if you really prefer, but do keep in mind these are more taxing on the body and may reduce the frequency in which you can train in the weight room.
You’ll generally get better results by putting more focus in on the weight room and less on cardio right now, so really think about what your priorities are.
Implement Change Regularly
Finally, make sure that you are implementing change regularly. Your muscles are very adaptive so it’s important that you keep shocking them with new training techniques. This is what will keep them responding and you seeing results.
Try new exercises, adjust your reps performed, or increase the weight. Just do something on a regular basis so that your body never gets bored.
Building muscle doesn’t require a special formula and there are many ways that you can go about the process. You do, however, need to have a game plan in place, be tracking progress, and making adjustments as you go.
If you aren’t seeing the scale go up after a few sessions, this is a good sign it might be time to increase your calorie intake as you may not be providing sufficient calories to see lean muscle mass gains.
Nutrition and exercise really go hand in hand in hand with this goal as well.
The next goal you may choose to train for is performance improvement. This might include enhancing your speed, improving power, increasing agility, and improving muscular endurance.
If you participate in any sort of team sports or other athletic events, these things may all be very important to you in your quest to become the best athlete you can be.
Even if you aren’t involved in team sports, you may find that simply training for these helps you feel more athletic and gives you a greater sense of fitness in your day-to-day life.
Whatever the case, you can design an exercise program around this. To properly formulate an exercise program for each of these goals, you’ll want to include flexibility training, cardiovascular training, as well as weight lifting.
The parameter of each of these will change however depending on the goal in question.
If your primary goal is to get as strong as possible, you’ll want to prioritize heavy lifting using the main compound lifts.
These are the exercises that will allow you to lift the most weight total, therefore bringing about maximum strength progress.
Exercises to focus on include squats, deadlifts, bench press, bent over rows, shoulder press, push-ups, pull-ups, pull-downs, walking lunges, and leg press.
When doing these, you’ll want to focus on keeping your weight high and your rep ranges low. Think 3-8 reps at most.
Keep form in check with every rep you do and utilize longer rest periods between sets to allow for full recovery so that you can continue to lift heavy for your next set.
When the goal is strength improvement, cardio should be kept to a minimum. 1-2 session per week of light intensity cardio lasting around 20 minutes should be sufficient to keep your heart healthy without sacrificing strength progression.
If, on the other hand your goal is power improvement, you’ll add another element to the mix.
You still want to focus on utilizing compound exercises to strengthen as many muscle fiber at once, but this time, speed is also key.
As power is represented by how much weight you can lift over a certain period of time, you want to be lifting with explosiveness.
Try and lift the weight up rapidly over a one count and then slowly lower back down through the eccentric portion of the exercise. Use a heavy weight load, similar to that of what you’d use if you were training for strength when doing these sets.
For power development, you might also turn to high intensity interval training, as the requirement of quick acceleration for this training style will also work on your power development.
As power training is very taxing on the body, you’ll want to also ensure that you have at least two full days off for rest each week, if not three. If you train too often for power, your CNS can burnout very quickly.
Muscular endurance is another goal that many athletes have. For this, you’ll want to do the opposite of strength-based programs.
This time, you’ll want to focus on lightening the weight that you are lifting and utilizing a higher rep range.
When training for muscular endurance, you can move into the 10-15 rep range, or even higher, taking your reps up to 20-25 reps.
How high you take them will all really depend on the nature of the endurance event you are training for.
Usually about 15 reps is a good number however as beyond that, you’ll be lightening the weight so much that it really won’t provide much of a training stimulus.
In addition to doing higher rep sets in the weight room, you’ll also likely want to be doing longer duration cardio training as well.
These will likely be as sport-specific as possible (if training for sport), ranging from 30-90 minutes in duration depending on the intensity that you are using.
As muscular endurance isn’t as taxing on the central nervous system as strength and power training is, you can also likely train a little more frequently if desired.
Finally, the last type of performance-based training you may wish to do is agility and balance based training.
This could be applicable to those who are training for sport and need to have fast reaction times and to move from position to position quickly, as well as for those who are getting older and who are losing their balance capabilities.
In either case, turn to lots of one-legged exercises to help improve your balance and coordination. Single leg squats, single leg deadlifts, single leg split squats, and walking lunges are all excellent for balance and core strength development.
You might also utilize a bosu ball as well, performing exercises while standing on a bosu ball to decrease your stability even further.
Just remember to get a spotter nearby whenever you are doing weighted balanced based exercises just in case you do start to lose your balance and need help to keep the weight from falling down on you.
The nature of the balance and agility based exercises will depend on what your current fitness level is.
You can do any sort of cardio training desired when this is the goal, however you may want to structure your cardio more around drills such as running around pylons or moving through obstacle courses, all of which will call upon your agility skills.
Finally, the last goal that you may want to structure your workout for is basic health promotion.
If you aren’t interested in losing weight and aren’t all that concerned with building muscle but rather, simply want to get healthy, you have the best of all worlds.
You can pretty much choose to structure your workout session according to your own preferences as health benefits will come from just about any form of workout you do.
For health optimizing purposes, you’ll still want to be performing flexibility training, cardiovascular training, as well as resistance training.
Ideally you’ll want to do 2-3 cardiovascular training sessions per week, including a mix of moderate intensity steady state work for 30-60 minutes coupled with an interval training session or two.
By including both of these varieties of cardio, you’ll improve both your muscular endurance as well as your power capabilities.
Then in addition to that, you’ll also want to include some resistance based exercise in your routine as well.
This could be bodyweight activities, exercises done with a resistance band, or weight room activities involving heavy lifting. All will help you gain functional strength that will transfer over to everyday activities while improving your health.
When it comes to health optimization, consistency is key so do your best to plan out a workout that you feel strongly you’ll stick to.
Now that you have a better idea of how to go about structuring your workout routines for the various goals you may have, let’s move forward and talk about how supplementation comes into play.
Walk into any sports supplement store and you will be met with thousands of products vying for your attention. Each one promises to do something a little different but all claim to give you big results.
Which products do you need? Which are worth the investment? By going in with a plan, you ensure you walk out with supplements that will do more than burn a whole in your wallet.
Here are the main exercise-focused supplements and what each does. Go in informed and you’ll make a smarter decision about what’s right for you.
Whey Protein Powder
Most people are familiar with whey protein powder as it’s one of the most common workout supplements utilized.
While it can be taken at any point during the day, taking it immediately post-workout tends to prove to be especially beneficial as this will help to kick-start the muscular repair and rebuilding process.
Studies have illustrated that those who supplement with a whey protein isolate powder show faster recovery times compared to those who don’t.
To achieve maximum results from your protein supplementation, look for a whey isolate protein powder, which his the fastest digesting form of protein available.
Another very popular and well-researched supplement is creatine. Studies have shown that adding creatine to a workout protocol will increase strength, sprint performance, as well as many help promote greater gains in lean muscle mass tissue.
Do note that when you first start taking creatine however, you may notice some temporary weight gain.
Don’t be put off by this as it will subside if you stay well hydrated and keep taking the supplement. In the initial phases, it’ll mostly be water retention that you are experiencing.
Glutamine is next up on the list of workout supplements that you may come across. This one is primarily designed to help boost recovery capacity and may help you bounce back after your workout sessions faster than without.
Glutamine is an amino acid that you will take in naturally through your diet, however often you won’t take in enough to really see remarkable benefits as far as exercise goes. Adding a supplement therefore is a wise idea.
Glutamine is heavily involved in the immune system, so by strengthening your immune system, it increases your ability to tolerate stress, including exercise stress.
Caffeine/Green Tea Extract
If you are looking for an extra boost heading into your exercise session, caffeine may be your supplement of choice. You can either purchase caffeine on its own or in a stacked form in a pre-workout product or a fat burner supplement.
Caffeine serves to improve physical and mental energy, improve focus and concentration, and it can also help increase fat burning in the body by speeding up the release of fatty acids from the fat cells and increasing your resting metabolic rate.
Just do keep in mind that because caffeine is a stimulant, you do need to be mindful of how much you take and when you use it. Avoid taking caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime or it may interfere with your sleep.
Also avoid taking more than around 200-300 mg per day (including all sources of caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks, or from drinking cups of tea from a kettle) as anything more than this could lead to other health issues such as racing heart rates, increased anxiety, as well as burnout.
Green tea extract acts in a similar manner as caffeine, however it’s a bit less potent as far as the stimulatory effects go.
With green tea extract, you’ll also get extra antioxidants, which can support overall health and a compound called catechin, which may help boost metabolic rate even further.
One study published in the Journal of Nutrition noted that when subjects took Green tea, they showed decreased subcutaneous abdominal fat as well as lower triglyceride levels.
You’ll often find this ingredient in many of the popular fat burner products out on the market today.
Another of the fat burning ingredients you might come across in many of the fat burner products out there is yohimbe.
Yohimbe comes from the bark of a tree in in west Africa and may help to increase blood flow to areas of the body with poor circulation, assisting with fatty acid mobilization.
In short, this supplement may help you target those trouble spots where it seems nearly impossible to lose body fat.
In addition to that, it may also help to keep your blood pressure levels in a healthy range as it will stimulate the sympathetic nervous system.
Another fat burner you may have heard of, L-Carnitine is a popular choice for those who are preforming regular workout sessions. L-Carnitine is a compound that is like an amino-acid mixed with B vitamins.
It’s primary role in the body is to transfer long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (the engine) of the fat cell, where they are then burned off for energy utilization.
By increasing the amount of L-Carnitine in your body, you can therefore enhance the total speed in which fat burning is taking place.
This may also help to spare muscle glycogen levels as your body will be more equipped to utilizing fatty acids as a fuel source instead.
Some people do find that they get slight stimulatory effects from using this compound, so if you are going to take it, you might want to consider taking it in the earlier part of the day to avoid trouble sleeping at night.
Beta-Alanine is the final supplement that those doing exercise may often turn to in effort to improve their performance. This compound has the main function of lowering your fatigue levels during higher rep training.
Basically, it helps you perform more sets before that burning sensation comes on, which is due to the accumulation of lactic acid build-up in the muscle tissue, as was noted by research published in the Amino Acids journal.
Since the more reps you can perform the better your results will typically be, this can help you take your training up to the next level.
Beta-alanine is typically taken in the pre-workout period, so you’ll take it with your pre-workout shake for instance.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched chain amino acids, also sometimes referred to as BCAA’s for short, are specific amino acids that play a key role in the growth and repair of muscle mass tissue.
These amino acids, unlike the other amino acids, bypass the liver and move straight into the muscle cells where they can be used for energy as well as recovery abilities.
Taking these prior to a workout session, especially if you haven’t eaten in a while is a great way to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of lean muscle mass loss.
Many also sip them throughout their workout, which can help prevent muscle breakdown, reducing the catabolic state you are in and the level of muscle breakdown you experience.
Usually they come flavored as well, so it can be a great way to encourage you to drink more fluid throughout your session, keeping yourself well-hydrated.
There you have some of the main workout related supplements that you may want to consider. Do keep in mind however that this list is by no means exhaustive and you may come across other supplements on the market as well.
Be sure that you do your own research before purchasing them so you fully understand how they are supposed to benefit you, any risks of side effects you may experience when using them, as well as what others have experienced who have used them in the past.
Health Issues And Exercise - Staying Safe
For a select group of people, there will be additional factors to consider when formulating and going about a workout session.
If you are someone who suffers from high blood pressure for instance, you may not be able to just go perform any intense sprint training session without additional care.
If you do, you may spike your blood pressure levels even higher, potentially putting your health at risk.
Likewise, if you are someone who suffers from diabetes, extra care will need to be taken when performing your workouts as if your blood glucose levels drop too much, serious problem scan result.
If you are facing a more pressing health concern, be sure that you always speak with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.
It’s a must that you get their go-ahead along with any other recommendations you may need to know with regards to adjustments to your program plan.
Learn what you can and can’t do and ensure that you follow those guidelines. While exercise is healthy, done improperly in the wrong situation, it can cause serious health concerns.
Here are a few other safety issues to remember when exercising.
Never Skip Warm-Ups
Earlier we noted the importance of the warm-up and it must be said here again. Make sure that you do not skip your warm-up.
This is a good way to get your body prepared for exercise and to avoid pulling or tearing muscle tissues.
A good warm-up only takes 5-10 minutes and it’s time very well spent.
Don’t Stop Abruptly
If you are doing high intensity exercise, be sure that you never stop abruptly. When your heart rate is very high and your blood pressure is higher, this can place stress on the body with each of these dropping too quickly.
Instead, slow down gradually. If you were doing an intense cardio session for instance, take a few minutes to do a brisk walk at the end (or perform the same cardio exercise at a much easier pace) to allow your body to return back to the resting level.
This can help prevent you from feeling light-headed and potentially passing out. If you are someone who is known to have issues with low blood pressure levels, this will be even more important for you to abide by.
Understand The Difference Between Good And Bad Pain
When doing your workouts, make sure that you know the difference between good and bad pain.
There’s no denying there will be times during your workout where, if you want to see progress, you may feel some discomfort.
You’ll feel a burning sensation in your muscle tissues, you’ll feel fatigue building higher and higher, and you may also notice a stretching feeling taking place in the muscle tissues.
Recognize that these are all part of the ‘game’, so to speak. Pushing through those feelings can help you become stronger and fitter.
Where it’s not good however is if you feel sharp pain or so much fatigue that you are finding it nearly impossible to continue on with the exercise you are doing.
In these cases, your best bet is to stop immediately and either rest and start again, or seek appropriate medical help.
Usually if you are feeling sharp pain, this is a good indication that you may be on the verge of injury, so pushing through this will only lead to long-term pain that may potentially sideline you for weeks or months.
Likewise, some fatigue during exercise is good, but if you are dragging your feet every single day you do your workout sessions, this is a sign that you may be doing too much and could be coming close to overtraining yourself.
Eat Well Beforehand
It’s also important to be eating well before you do your exercise session.
While as you become more advanced you may start doing certain lower intensity workouts in a fasted state (as some people do this to help increase the speed of fat burning), before any higher intensity session, it’s important to have the right fuel in your body.
You’ll want to be giving your body a combination of lean protein along with complex carbohydrates, eating this about 90-120 minutes prior to your workout session beginning.
This will give you time to digest the food and allow the energy to get to the muscle tissues.
Eating right before your workout session will also prevent blood glucose drops during the workout, which could cause you to feel light-headed, shaky, and result in a decline in your performance.
You don’t want to eat a very large meal as that can lead to cramping, which is also problematic, so aim for around 200-300 calories at this meal prior to exercise.
Leave Your Ego At The Door
Another tip for safety is to leave your ego at the door.
Too many people, particularly men, try lifting heavier than they really should be to either impress other gymgoers or to simply make themselves feel better about their own strength level.
While pushing yourself to lift heavy is good, when it causes you to sacrifice form, this isn’t a good thing and could very likely lead to serious injury.
Keep your ego in check and only lift what you can do using absolute correct form. All it takes is one small slip of good form when you are under a heavy weight load to become injured.
Learn To Listen To Your Body
Finally, learn to listen to your body.
While when you are first starting out, you likely won’t be able to tune into the signals that your body is sending you all that well, as you become more skilled, you’ll know what your body is trying to tell you.
When it speaks up, listen in. Whether this is fatigue, pain, hunger, or otherwise, if you respect your body and pay attention, it will help keep you safe for the most part.
Usually the biggest problems come when people neglect these signs and keep pushing because they think they ‘know better’ than their body. While it’s great to be motivated and persistent to reach your goals, there are times when you must back off.
Now let’s move forward and go over a few of the biggest myths and misconceptions about exercise.
Common Myths And Misconceptions
As you start your exercise routine, it’s important you don’t fall for some of the myths that circulate around. By knowing these ahead of time, you can do your best to steer clear.
Lifting Heavy Weight Will Result In Bulky Muscles
Remember, most people have to work very hard to gain even a few pounds of lean muscle mass. If you are a woman who believes this myth, it’s time to get past it.
As a woman, you simply do not possess enough testosterone to build bulky muscles. And if you are a man, it will take a very long time before you get too ‘bulky’ with muscle.
The process is slow and you are in complete control.
You Need To Exercise For At Least 20 Minutes To Get Into The ‘Fat Burning Zone’
While it’s true that you may need to exercise for a while to burn off any glucose present in your blood stream, in terms of fat loss, it’s your total calorie balance at the end of the day that matters.
So even if you only have time for 10-15 minutes of exercise, it’s still going to help you reach your body fat loss goals.
Low Intensity Cardio Is Best For Burning Body Fat
While low intensity cardio may burn more calories from fat stores directly, high intensity cardio raises your metabolic rate up higher, which then results in a greater total calorie burn.
This is what really speeds up the fat loss process.
The More Exercise You Do, The Faster Your Results Will Be
Remember that rest is key. Often less is more. If you are exercising too intensely too often, you won’t be giving your body the chance to rebuild and grow stronger.
You Can Build Muscle And Burn Fat At The Same Time
Apart from very new beginner trainees, this is not possible. You need to be in two very different calorie states for each goal.
For fat loss, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn and for muscle gain, you need to consume more calories than you burn.
Since it’s impossible to do both at once, this is why you need to choose one goal and work towards it.
High Reps Are Best For Fat Loss
Again, the idea that high rep training for fat loss is not entirely correct.
While some high rep work can be beneficial and help spike your resting metabolic rate, especially when done using techniques like supersets or drop sets, you still should have some lower rep, heavier lifts in the protocol as well to help preserve your lean muscle mass tissue.
Balance is key for a fat loss routine.
If You Are Past The Age Of 40, It’s Too Late To Strength Train
Don’t ever let yourself think that it’s too late. In fact, it’s more important to start training the older you are as the benefits become even more pronounced into older age.
While you may not be lifting hundreds of pounds like some do in their 20’s and 30’s, any weight lifted is a step in the right direction.
Cardio Is Best For Fat Loss, While Weight Lifting Is Best For Building Muscle Mass
Some people believe that if their goal is to lose body fat, they should stick with just cardio exercise only. Avoid falling for this trap.
Weight lifting is the form of exercise that is best going to help transform your body while boosting your metabolic rate permanently.
For this reason, it’s very powerful for fat loss purposes. You could certainly lose fat successfully using only a proper diet plan and weight lifting exercise.
This isn’t to say cardio isn’t recommended as well, but it’s not necessary. Weight lifting alone would be sufficient.
Now let’s leave you off with some last minute tips to remember as you move forward. Use these and you’ll help forge your journey into exercise successfully.
Last Minute Tips
- Prioritize fun! Remember you won’t see benefits if you don’t do the workouts
- Experiment with new workouts regularly. Change is what keeps the body seeing great results and what you need to prevent boredom
- Monitor progress regularly. Don’t go for weeks not seeing results because you didn’t take the time to assess how your program was delivering. If it’s not showing you results in 2-3 weeks, try something else
- Don’t jump programs too often! This said, make sure that you do give at least 2-3 weeks for a program to show results. Jump around too often and you’ll short yourself of the success you could be seeing
- Master nutrition! Nutrition and exercise really do go hand in hand
- Keep hydrated. Drink up before, during, as well as after your workout. Minor dehydration can have a significant influence on your performance
- Once a month, check your form. It’s a great way to ensure you maintain good habits going forward. Once bad habits are built, it can be hard to fix them
- Don’t rely on supplements to do the work for you. Remember that they can only supplement a good workout and diet plan. They are never meant to replace them
- Don’t forget to breathe whenever you are exercising. Hold your breath during weight lifting and it’ll not only increase your blood pressure, but may also decrease your strength output as well.
- Take progress pictures. Often this is one of the best ways to see how you are really progressing along and can serve as an excellent motivational tool during those hard times
- Remember that progress isn’t always linear. Some weeks you will make great improvements in strength and/or fat loss. Other weeks, it’ll be slower. This is to be expected so don’t get down when it occurs
- Always be stretching. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to keep up with all your workout sessions
So there you have everything you need to know about what proper exercise looks like. As you can see, there are many ways to design and develop an exercise routine and to get into the best shape of your life.
Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you ‘have’ to do a certain exercise or routine. You simply do not.
What’s most important is that you learn your own body and your preferences and from there, formulate a life-long plan that works.
You should never view exercise as a quick-fix - something you do for the time being but plan to quit a short while later. Instead, get in it for the long-haul.
Those who are active well into their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s are those who are going to lead the highest overall quality of life and be able to stay mobile long into the future.
Your body craves exercise. While it may be hard getting started, once you get the momentum going, it’ll be much easier to keep it going.
As the saying goes, ‘a body in motion stays in motion’. Get that motion going and you won’t ever look back.
- Dolezal, Brett Andrew, et al. Muscle damage and resting metabolic rate after acute resistance exercise with an eccentric overload. Diss. University of Kansas, Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences, 1998.
- Kreider, Richard B., et al. "Effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, strength, and sprint performance." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 30 (1998): 73-82.
- Buckley, Jonathan D., et al. "Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise." Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 13.1 (2010): 178-181.
- Maki, Kevin C., et al. "Green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss in overweight and obese adults." The Journal of nutrition 139.2 (2009): 264-270.
- Sale, Craig, Bryan Saunders, and Roger C. Harris. "Effect of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine concentrations and exercise performance." Amino acids 39.2 (2010): 321-333.