As you start out on your fitness journey you may be unsure of exactly where to start when it comes to exercising. You may wonder how often you should be exercising, to what extent, and what type of workout you should be doing.
The answers to these type of questions differ from person to person. Which means you need to assess your personal fitness goals and ability in order to build good fitness habits custom for you.
Cardio vs Strength Training
If you are seeking to improve your cardiovascular health it is recommended that you select exercises that include cardio. Examples include: cycling, swimming, walking, and jogging. These cardio exercises will assist in building your endurance.
If you are seeking to build muscle it is recommended that you focus on strength training. Strength training can be done with the use of your own body weight and/or the use of free weights.
How often should you work out each week?
The answer to this question depends on your activity level. If you are not moderately active, working out at a minimum of one day a week may be sufficient enough to notice some results. However, if you are active it may require working out multiple days per week in order to challenge your body enough to maintain and/or make progress.
If you are a beginner I recommend that you start out slow; workout one day a week for a minimum of 30 min and build your momentum. Each week increasing your time and then you can work up to adding an additional day of training (2-3 days per week).
For more experienced individuals looking to workout and balance both cardio and strength training; working out five days per week is sufficient in maintaining active. However, it is encouraged to incorporate at least two rest days.
Always consider your schedule and have reasonable expectations for yourself. If 4 days per week is more ideal, then be realistic. Reconsider your goals. If your goal is to add muscle, then replace a cardio day for strength training. If your goal is to increase endurance, replace a strength training day with cardio. You have the ability and control over your workout schedule; make adjustments as needed. Keeping realistic expectations, will keep you on target for success. Ultimately, unrealistic goals will lead to failure.
Cardio (2-3 Times per Week)
Benefits: Cardio encourages good circulation and blood flow. Cardio also assists with your recovery, while improving your endurance.
Exercise Options: outdoor jogging, elliptical, treadmill, stair stepper, cycling, row machine, etc.
Goal: Reach and maintain your targeted heart rate (fat burning zone)
Strength Training (2-3 Times per Week)
Benefits: Strengthens joints and bones (more muscle = higher metabolic rate)
Exercise Options: squats, lunges, bicep curls, overhead presses, etc. (strength train with body weight or assisted/free weights)
Goal: Body shaping, gain muscle, weight loss, improve flexibility
Rest Day- Recovery (2 Times per Week)
The importance of having rest days is allowing your body to recover and rebuild. By doing so you are allowing yourself to reset and refresh, which contributes greatly to your success in building good fitness habits.
I am encouraging you to start building good fitness habits today. It all starts with getting active. Share below in the comments some fitness habits that you have incorporated into your routine. What does your daily/weekly workouts consist of? What keeps you motivated to keep moving? I would love to hear from you.