Disclaimer: Before beginning any fitness program, please consult with your family doctor.
Fitness Goals 101: “How often do I need to do cardio and weights?”
This is a very common question for many people. You are ready to start working on your fitness goals and are confused on where to start. The best thing to always remember is that with any fitness or health goal, the combination of cardio, strength training and a healthy diet is always the best way to go.
The majority of people I encounter are trying to lose, whether it’s 5 lbs or 10 lbs or more, there is some desire to trim the belly or the hips.
So let’s tackle the weight loss question. Remember exercise itself won’t give you the results you are looking for. If you don’t watch what you eat all the exercise will keep you looking the same.
Which exercises are the best and how much do you really need to do for weight loss? There is really no best cardio exercise. It’s best to find what you love to do, or what you feel you will continue with. Finding something you enjoy is critical to reaching your goals.
Strength training on the other hand is a bit trickier for those who have not had weight training in their lives before. But it is the one way to make a change to your body. If you have never done strength training, I suggest you hook up with someone who does know who can show you the right form so injuries are prevented. Strength training raises your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscles you have the more calories you will burn all day long.
For weight loss it’s recommended to do 3 days a week of weights, 3 days of cardio with one day of rest. This is ideal but again depends on your time and access to weights. And really all you need is 20 minutes of weights on those 3 days. Choose 3 body parts to work on each workout and give a day rest before you work that body part again.
The muscles need time to rest and rebuild. If you are tight on time for the days you want to do cardio, start with walking or jumping jacks or a stationary bike. Just get your body moving for at least 20 minutes. Interval style cardio workouts are great. These are alternate periods of high intensity for 45 seconds and low intensity for 45 seconds. Do this for 20 minutes and your heart will be pumping. You can then work your way up to one minute intervals for whichever exercise you choose. Try to do this twice a week and work up to 3 times a week.
So does all this still seem like a lot to add into your week? If so then start off small. You want to set yourself up for success so starting off with a manageable routine that you can stick to is crucial. You can always build on it.
Doing something everyday at the same time is a great way to make exercise a ritual. The morning is the best time to start a consistent routine. Not just to help with your fitness goals, but also to get your blood pumping and your body energized. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier than you usually do. Warm up with a few stretches and then choose a few exercises to do.
My favourite combination of movement in the morning is the following:
- Walk/run up and down the stairs 10 times
- 10 push ups
- 30 second plank
You can choose to do these exercises one time and that might be enough for you. Then try to work up to doing the exercise combination 3 times. Your cardiovascular system will get active and your muscles will be working hard!
And don’t forget the range of potential health benefits of regular exercise. Examples of the benefits include strengthening your heart, reducing the risks of chronic disease, improving your mood, and boosting your immune system, just to name a few.
©masalamommas and masalamommas.com, 2016-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to masalamommas.com and Masalamommas online magazine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.