What comes to mind when you think of fitness training or “getting-in-shape?” Curling a big dumbbell? Loading heavy weights on a squat rack? Or, how about this one—running an endless amount of miles on the treadmill hoping to sweat the weight off! Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! Without understanding the basics, fitness as a way of life can be discouraging. And many of us fail because we don’t know what we’re doing. Or, we start the journey in a way that’s unsustainable over a long period of time.
Today, I’m here to offer you a simple approach to total body fitness that will lead to success! This results-driven, balanced approach will have you looking and feeling your best. My winning strategy targets four components: cardio, strength, balance, mobility/flexibility. Developing your routine using these components will help you reach your goals in no time! Let’s jump into it and begin with Cardio (short for Cardiovascular.)
The cardiovascular system is your heart, lungs, and blood vessels working together. Cardio fitness is the ability of that system to send oxygen-rich blood to working muscles. Cardiovascular exercises cause your heart to beat faster and increase your breathing. This allows your heart to increase blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs. The better your cardiovascular fitness, the easier your daily tasks will feel. For healthy adults, we recommend 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Or, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly. Aim for somewhere between the two if you combine activity types. Here’s how we approach cardio training at Premier Fitness Camp:
This is your moderate-intensity cardio exercise. You want your heart rate to be 65%-75% of your maximum heart rate and maintain it for the duration of the workout. Use the talk test to measure your intensity. You should be able to say your name and address during the workout with some difficulty. Aim for 3 sessions a week for 30-60 minutes. Try walking, hiking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, or aqua aerobics.
This is a vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise. HIIT combines short bursts of intense activity with longer periods of lighter activity. You should try to get your working heart rate up 85-90% and your recovery heart rate down to 70% of your max heart. Use the talk test to measure your level of intensity. At 85%-90% you should only be able to say one word. 70% should allow you to say your name and address with some difficulty. Activities could include going up and down stairs or jogging and walking intervals. Spinning, jumping rope, and boxing are also great options.
Pro tip: Try alternating cardio by days. For example, do steady state on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, do HIIT.
Strength training increases your muscle power and bone strength. More muscle mass can help you better manage your weight. When you are strength training, it’s important to hit all your major muscle groups at least 2-3 times a week. Most gyms have a lot of equipment to use, including the large machines. But remember, you do not have to go to the gym to reap the benefits of strength training. You can grab a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands, or even use your body weight to do a full body strength workout. At PFC, we organize these exercises into four categories: Push, Pull, Legs, and Core! Some of our favorites are pushups, dumbbell rows, planks, and squats. You can use many different repetition ranges and sets.
Pro tip: Try three sets of 10-12 reps this week.
Balance training is important at any age. For older adults, weekly balance training can help prevent falls and help maintain independence. Challenging your balance at any age helps with daily activities and sports. Balance training also increases your proprioception. Proprioception is the awareness of the position and movement of the body. Increasing your proprioception helps the body produce smooth, controlled movements. Controlled movements help to reduce your risk of injury and keep you moving, better.
Pro tip: Try standing on one leg while brushing your teeth each day.
First, we must understand the difference between flexibility and mobility.
Flexibility is a muscle’s ability to passively lengthen. Think about when you are doing quad stretches and hamstring stretches. Those stretches are working on flexibility which is the lengthening of that muscle.
Mobility is the ability of the joint to actively move through a full range of motion. Think about how far your leg could go if you were to lay on your back and lift your leg into the air. That is the mobility in the hip joint. Good mobility allows for more ease in performing daily activities.
To have good mobility, you need good flexibility. Stretching and mobility training can increase your range of motion. It can also promote better posture and help reduce stress.
Pro tip: Aim to stretch most muscles at the end of each workout.
Including these four components to your weekly workout routine will be very rewarding. With consistency, you’ll be living a fitness lifestyle in no time. If you’re not sure where to start, refer to the workout we put together during the Fitness At-Home class. Whatever you do, remember that it doesn’t have to be extreme or complex. Use your body weight, a flight of stairs, or bands to reach your goals. You’ve got this!