When people think of diet and exercise, weight loss is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are countless reasons why people engage in a healthy lifestyle and weight loss is just one of the reasons. People may decide to take up exercise to build strength or muscle, to get faster, to improve overall health, or even as a means of socialization and keeping busy. Whatever your aim may be you need a proper workout plan that will help you reach your specific goal most effectively.
Here are the best ways to reach five of the most common fitness goals.
Goal: Weight Loss
Plan of action: When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, there’s a lot to think about. It is recommended to dedicate 3-6 days a week to cardio for 30-60 minutes. It’s also a good idea to incorporate strength training into your routine about 3 times per week. Building lean muscle tissue will aid in the fat-burning process.
If you really want to burn a lot of fat but don’t have the extra time HIIT workouts can take as little as 8-20 minutes. It involves short bursts of energy followed by an active rest period. Examples of HIIT workouts are sprinting and plyometrics.
Goal: Build Muscle/Strength
Plan of action: Although I’ve grouped muscle building and strength building together they are actually two different goals. While both goals call for resistance training, muscle builders are training for size while strength builders are training for strength and endurance.
In general, muscle building requires lighter weight as you should be lifting one to six sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Building strength requires lifting heavier weights for less repetitions. A strength goal should incorporate one to five sets of weights for one to eight repetitions.
Goal: Overall Health
Plan of action: Some people neither want to gain nor lose weight but aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In order to maintain a healthy weight/lifestyle one should workout 3-5 times per week and should mix it up between cardio and strength training. Lean muscle helps to burn fat even while at rest so strength training is great tool to keeping your body in maintenance mode. Cardio can be anything you enjoy like walking, running, biking, swimming, yoga, etc.
Goal: Increase Speed
Plan of action: If you want to increase your running speed whether it’s for a 5k, a mud run or a marathon, consider adding specific drills into your routine. Sometimes people think that if they want to run a faster mile they should train by always running a mile until it gets faster. But the real way to amp up your speed it to switch up your routine. Try adding some sprinting and strengthening drills into your normal running regimen like sprints, pushups, lunges and squats. Drills can be added in as part of a dynamic warm-up, they can be added after your regular run, or you can even dedicate a few sessions per week just to drills.
Plan of action: If you want to get your workout in all the while interacting with others, try a gym membership. Group fitness classes are a great way to interact with others who share similar interests. Many times you will see the same people attending the same classes so it’s easy to get to know each other. Not to mention the motivational atmosphere of ‘all being in it together’ really helps give you that extra push.
Goal: Stress Relief
Plan of action: First you have to figure out what relieves your stress. Some people might benefit from light yoga classes that involve meditation and relaxation, while others may find that a sweaty kickboxing class really helps them to take the edge off. You may even benefit from a mix of both. Take one or two days a week to engage in relaxation and take another few days to attend a kickboxing class and let it all out on the bag.
If you feel you have been putting everything into your workout but are not seeing that outcome you would like, it may be that you are not training the right way for your specific goal. I hope this post can help to shed some light on the different methods of training that go along with different goals.