I left you hanging again last post, didn’t I? Now that you’ve got your mind right and are feeling all this motivation to make things happen, it’s time to build the program or workout routine that’ll be the vehicle to get you to your goals. Okay, what exactly is involved in a good fitness program? With all the seemingly-conflicting info circulated out there on the interweb, it’s hard for the average person to know. But it’s not rocket science (trust me, I’m no rocket scientist) and I’m going to tell you what you really need to know.
First, a brief disclaimer: The answer to the question posed above depends very much on the specific person and his/her goals. For the sake of simplicity in this blog-ument, I’m going to assume that you’ve got the same goals as most of the population: better fitness and fat loss. However, there are two things that I’m certain of for 100% of people: (1) there are a few essential components of an excellent fitness program; and (2) all of these essential components should be included in your regular rotation.
It’s a very common misconception that you have to do the same workout regularly to see results. Let me just tell you that there’s no rule that says that you have to do the same exact sequence of exercises or the same exact routine 2 or 3 or 5 times per week to see results, quite the opposite actually. So what should you be doing? Good question, for what it’s worth, here’s my two cents…
Essential Component #1: Cardio- BEWARE…not all cardio is created equal.
Essential Component #2: Strength Training- this is where most people get it all wrong, not that they are doing it wrong, but rather they don’t do it at all- HUGE mistake.
Essential Component #3: Flexibility & Mobility- no they are not the same thing but they are often linked.
Essential Component #4: Core & Balance/Stability- notice I did not say abs…CORE! Your abs are only part of the equation.
As I pointed out above, you need to do all of these things during your regular weekly workout rotation to have a solid, well-rounded program; however, the frequency with which each makes an appearance in your weekly rotation is heavily-dependent on your individual goals and current fitness level. For example, you wouldn’t do the same frequency for each component for heart health as you would for fat loss or athletic performance.
The truth is that many people favor one (or two) components over the others on the list. But each component serves a very specific purpose and all, in some combination, are critical to overall health and fitness. Sure, you can skip one component and get some of the same benefits from the others on the list; however, by excluding one critical piece of the puzzle, you may be unintentionally opting out of the very thing that’s the most efficient means of reaching your goals.
Let me give you an example, both strength and yoga offer significant cardiovascular benefits- not as significant as cardio exercise and therefore they’re not the most efficient ways of building the strongest heart possible, but certainly they’ll elevate your heart rate and in doing so, make your heart stronger. So what does this mean for you? No, it doesn’t mean that you should skip yoga and strength training. It just means you don’t have to do six days of pure cardio each week to gain all those wonderful heart-healthy benefits. Additionally, by overlapping these benefits, you’ll be less likely to get bored, you’ll hit fewer plateaus, and you’ll be less likely to get injured while continuously gaining those awesome benefits and building a strong ticker…who doesn’t want that?
“But Coach! I LOVE cardio!” I know you do, we all do. I’m as big of a cardio queen as the next gal, but depending on your goals, cardio may not be the answer to ALL your prayers (GASP). The fact of the matter is that for long-term fat loss, cardio is NOT always as efficient as strength training. WHAT?!?! No seriously, I wouldn’t lie to you about such things.
Confused yet? Not to worry, I’m here to help. If you want to reach a goal, you have to do more of the thing that will get you there while not eliminating the other essential components. So for the blog posts that follow in the coming weeks, I’ll break each component down for you and give you the tools you need to build your own solid, well-rounded fitness program.