Everyone knows that working out is important…. Ok, maybe we know it, but have a tough time sticking to it. Or maybe you are like so many and you want a certain outcome and don;t know the most efficient way to get there, so you try all the things and/or none of the things. I am hoping in this article to break down how to workout for your outcome and then explain my best advice for sticking to a program.
How to workout for weight loss and toning….
I am a huge proponent of strength and uptempo workouts for this. It does an amazing job of hitting all of our systems. It helps our heart get stronger, it involves strengthening our muscles, it increases oxygen intake, and it improves our metabolism for the next 24 hours. If you have to be efficient with your time and like working hard, HIIT style workouts are the best bang for your buck. With this style you do not need to worry about bulking up. Typically with this you are doing 15 or more reps with every workout, which means you are not in a range to build bulky muscles, but instead you will build long and lean muscle.
Taking group classes and hiring a personal trainer can really help speed this process along. Having guidance and someone to push you is hugely important to continuing results. It is hard to stay accountable to yourself to this, so get a buddy, higher a trainer, or check out some classes to stay focused and strong.
How to workout for strength and size….
For strength training to gain size, it is important to lift weights. If you cannot get weights, you can still gain strength and size, it will simply take longer and you have to control your speed of reps and more. But back to the weights… I have found a linear periodization program with 6 days a week to be the best plan for continually gaining size and strength. That is simply a fancy way of saying start with 12 reps of each exercise, then between 4 and 8 weeks later drop down to 8, then to 6. After that you bump back up to 12 but use more weight than you did during phase 1. It is a great way to continually challenge your body and increase strength. However, you do the same exercises a lot and it is a slow growth.
Again, having a coach, accountability, and programmer is important here. I again recommend hiring a coach, a PT or finding classes that focus on this.
How to workout for athletes….
This is always hard to breakdown because every athlete requires different needs in terms of workouts. An ironman or marathon runner has very different needs than someone running the 100 meter dash. So working out for your specific sport is important. Always think about the time your sport or event takes. When strength training you should try to emulate that. So sprinters should do shorter sets with fast movements. For endurance athletes, longer sets with repetitive motions is a better fit. Then you also need to train in your event. It sounds great for a sprinter to do heavy hang cleans and other power movements, but if they don’t sprint, it won’t matter.
This one is easy to talk about because every major athlete has a coach to train them for their event. Between programming, nutrition, commitment, accountability and more, a coach will take your training to the next level.
Unless you are an athlete or training for an event, working out is the best thing you can do, even more important than a specific plan. So I always adhere to doing the workout routine that you enjoy. Personally, I enjoy doing a bunch of different things. I get bored and burned out if I try to do the exact same workout all the time. So some days I’ll bike, others do HIIT, others I’ll strength train and I always hit different types of exercises. Now, I theme my workouts for at least a month and sometimes as much as a quarter of the year. That way I can still see results in what I am doing. But if I get bored, I simply switch up what I am doing and then stick to that.
This is again where a coach can really help. Before I hired my own trainer I used to just take a week or two off when I became bored. Now I am able to simply tell my trainer how I am feeling and they will suggest other things and a different style of program to help reengage me.