Truth be told, the way your body looks is 80 percent based on your diet. So, if you want to change the way your body looks, start with taking a look at what, when, and how you eat. However, that’s not to say that exercise isn’t important too. Any type and amount of exercise is beneficial to you overall health, but if you’re looking to meet certain goals, you need to find a workout plan that supports those goals. Here are some common fitness goals and the types of workouts that can help you achieve them.
Goal: Lose Body Fat
Exercise: High-Intensity Cardio
To put it simply, if you want to lose body fat, you have to burn more calories than you consume. While lifting weights can help build muscle and raise your resting metabolic rate, it doesn’t offer the highest impact in terms of actively burning calories during your workout.
For fat loss, cardio is where it’s at. I’m not talking about mindless cardio at a steady pace that will bore you to tears and barely have you breaking a sweat. I’m talking about dynamic cardio that requires intense periods of physical activity followed by brief rest periods, also called high-intensity interval training. The “intense” part should require you to give it your all and push yourself for 20-90 seconds. That should be followed by an active rest period that lasts one to three times as long.
The goal is to get your heart rate up and to sweat.
Goal: Increase Muscle Size, Endurance, or Strength
Exercise: Lift Weights
Whether you lift with lighter weights for higher reps or with heavier weights for lower reps, your muscles will still grow in size.
However, lighter weights with higher reps will increase muscle endurance (your muscle’s ability to repeatedly contract and relax without stopping), while heavier weights with lower reps will increase muscle strength (the maximum amount of force your muscle can exert in a single try).
To get the best of both world, do a combination of both types of weight lifting. Do high reps with lighter weights and low reps with heavier weights on alternating days.
Goal: Improve Flexibility
Flexibility is the ability of muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion. When you have a full range of motion, you increase your athletic ability and decrease your risk of injury. While stretching daily will increase you flexibility, yoga will put that felibility to the test in a more active way.
Try Hatha or Vinyasa yoga classes to increase flexibility. If you’re hesitant to jump into a class, here are a few yoga poses you can incorporate into your daily stretching routine to get your feet wet:
Eye of the Needle Pose
Downward Facing Dog
Bound Angle Pose
Goal: Improve Athletic Ability
To improve your athletic ability, you need to focus on utilizing compound movements (activating more than one muscle group at a time) that will help you develop speed, power, intensity, and control over your body. Athletes focus on refining those qualities to get the best performance possible out of their bodies.
CrossFit workouts utilize compound movements, are varied enough to keep you interested, and easily modified to suit your current fitness level. Here are the nine basic CrossFit movements you need to know to get started:
Sumo Deadlift High Pull
Medicine Ball Clean
Written by: Anna Limoges