Exercising is a simple concept that we thoroughly overly complicate. The Fat blaster 2000, abrocker's, vibrating fat burners, running, swimming, walking, cycling, HITT training, crossfit, weighted exercise, body weight exercises, animal flow, Pilates, yoga, hot yoga….
There are literally thousands of thousands of different ways to exercise, all of which have a different price tag, some cheap, some expensive, some free, some ridiculous. But which type should you do? How often should you do it? Do you need a rest day? Morning or evening? Do you even need to stretch anymore (yes, go to yoga!)
An athlete trying to compete for a spot on an Olympic team will do up to 20 training sessions a week during peak training. This will include active recovery sessions, gym sessions, technique work and specific training.
There has been plenty of research into how far an athlete can push themselves but what about us, the normal ones who just want to get rid of the excess body fat? The answer is simple; we want to be doing as much as we can! This doesn't necessarily mean 7 PT sessions a week though. We should be looking to include walking with the family, playing sports in the park with the kids, getting off a stop early on the bus into work and the way home. Every little bit of extra exercise helps burn little bouts of energy, helping us on our way to achieving our goal. Get active everyday
Okay, so we're getting out there every day enjoying our daily dose of endorphins and feeling great about working towards our goal. But how hard do you have to go? The best answer is a combination of listening to your body, and ignoring your mind. When your body is sore or you have random sharp pains, this could be a sign that we need to take it a little easy on the exercise today, a day off? No! Enjoy a walk on the beach, find a patch of grass halfway and stretch the muscles that are hurting, take your loved ones with you and enjoy the time together.
Ignoring your mind is the hard part. This is the point when your head is telling you to give up, "that weight is too heavy and there is no chance you'll be able to lift it", "I'm feeling a little sick today I might just snooze this PT session". Everybody has those voices in their head. The ability to ignore those thoughts, push them to the back of your mind and then smash it and prove them wrong is one of the best feelings you'll endure. Resistance (weights wise) we want to be pushing our body to the point where it can't lift the weights any more. This is what we call working "To Failure". This is the point where your mental side no longer counts, it's hurt already for 4-5 reps and your body can't physically lift anymore. This is where you'll achieve the best results. Cardiovascular wise we want to be working in a Heart Rate Range. With wearable technology becoming smaller and more accessible there is no reason you can't have a Fitbit or similar on to help you track how hard you're pushing in your workouts. How hard you work depends on how long you're going for but a good guideline is sticking between 60 - 85% of your max height rate. Perhaps a childhood hero of mine summed it up perfectly "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think" - Winnie the Pooh
Now, we're working out daily, we know we need to push ourselves, whilst listening to our body, ignoring our mind and mapping our workouts, but what exercise should we be doing? It is very easy to overcomplicate and get caught up in fads but in reality we need to be increasing our muscle mass by doing resistance exercise and increase our cardiovascular capacity by doing cardiovascular oriented workouts. Simple, right…. Just remember.
Resistance exercise helps build muscle mass, which in turn helps boost our Basal Metabolic Rate. This means we can burn more calories while doing the same amount, even burning calories while sitting at your desk at work. Perfect right! So why do we do cardio workouts?
There are too many benefits to list, healthy heart, endorphins, getting outside and enjoying nature, fresh air, blistered feet, that cold dry air in the early morning that pierces your lungs (maybe those two are just me). The best way to look at it is that it doesn't matter what you're doing really, as long as you're working on building muscle mass in a gym, and working on your heart out running or doing whatever, you're going 100% better than sitting on the couch.
Let us recap, you're working out daily, you're working out hard and you're keeping it simple, working on the heart or on building the muscles. Now, how long should you work out for and at what time of the day? It's very simple, and at the same time very complicated. Mornings, before breakfast are rumoured to be the best time to work out for weight loss. For those working on more technical movements between 10am and 3pm are best as this is when we are most neutrally aware, afternoon and into the evening is apparently best for hard strength training sessions as we are the most fuelled from the day of eating and treating our body as a temple. But really, we want to work out for as long as we can give ourselves, at a time that best suits our schedules.
Exercising is a simple concept that we generally overly complicate. If you're not training to be an athlete the rules are simple. Push yourself harder than you think you can go, more as often as you can, do it with family and your friends more than you normally would and try to move more and more every day.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.