Here are my most-often talked about exercise tips & who should follow them…
So we have all heard of the positive effects of exercise: a longer life, improved mood, weight-loss, increased focus and productivity, etc..
However, since it seems like everyone is always talking about the latest trend or new workout that we simply ‘must try’, it seems hard to know what’s actually best for us.
The truth is, there is no ‘ideal’ one workout for everyone (I feel this way when it comes to diet recommendations and supplements also, FYI). Regardless of our fitness goals, every body is truly unique, and the specifics of our workout routine should be too!
A mix of cardio and strength training
At the core of every fitness plan should be, in some combination, aerobic (cardio) and strength training components. No, this doesn’t mean lifting super heavy weights or simply spending your entire workout on the elliptical. What it means is you need to incorporate exercise for both your heart (the cardio) as well as your other muscles (strength). Too often I see people doing one or the other thinking they will get to their goal faster. Arguably, working on your heart muscle with aerobic exercise and your other muscles with strength training , will improve both components together—so do both, even if it’s not a 50/50 split!
Here are some of my general rules:
If you’re trying to lose weight
Make sure at least half of your workout is devoted to strength training (it will build more muscle to boost your metabolism) and maximize your cardio workout by doing interval training (periods of high intensity followed by rest, repeated).
If you’re trying to build strength
Aim for lower amount of reps with increased weight. Instead of 12-15 repetitions, aim for 6-8 with a heavier weight. As long as you can continue the exercise safely you’re good to go! I see too many women lifting weight way below what they can actually lift—test a heavier weight and see how your body responds.
If you’re super stressed
Or maybe you’re just ‘kind of stressed’, or maybe you’re on a detox or recovering from injury. Either way, exercise is important but the type of exercise is crucial. The focus should be on flexibility, balance, core strength and mindfulness. Yoga or pilates are great for this since they calm the body (while strengthening it), and calm the mind by lowering your stress hormone cortisol, a.k.a. the ‘can’t lose weight’ hormone.
Consistency is key
As much as we would all like to workout harder, longer and more regularly in order to achieve our goals, the most important aspect in the long-run is consistency. What are you doing everyday or every week? In a year you be more grateful with your results if you went to the gym once a week vs. everyday for a month, then stopped. Our bodies take time to change initially, but often after 1-2 months of consistent work you start to really see and feel the difference.
In order to help you stay on track, set a minimum goal. It doesn’t mean setting the bar low, it simply means, given your current situation how often can you agree to this health behaviour on a weekly basis (in this case, exercise). Once you commit to the minimum commitment, stick with it. You can do more if you want or have the time, but you will not go lower than your minimum. This allows you to build momentum and a pattern of behaviours that will soon become second nature. Once they are second nature, you can build on them!
For example, if I can only work out twice per week, but I do it every week, I will feel empowered to stick with my commitment and be inspired to make new goals in this area. Success!
Make sure to refuel afterwards
Regardless of the exercise you choose to participate in, make sure you are refuelling afterwards. This includes water, electrolytes, healthy carbs and (of course) protein -especially with any strength training. The ideal time to refuel is within an hour after your workout, so if you can’t bring a shake to the gym, always have a small piece of fruit, some nuts or a quality protein bar on hand until you get home. This will better translate all of your efforts into actual results!
What’s your favourite exercise hack? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂