I think it’s important for everyone to find balance in their workout routines. Incorporating a balance of strength training, cardio and stretching will give you the best results for fat burning and muscle toning.
Developing a strong cardio program can be relatively easy. While you may not care for cardio workouts, it’s not difficult to hop on a treadmill or take a spin class. These activities are sure to raise your heart rate and get you sweating. They key to a successful cardio workout is to find something you enjoy. If you hate running, don’t expect 45 minutes on a treadmill to go well.
Strength training can be a bit more challenging. If you’re not familiar with proper form there is a danger of injury so sticking to the machines is often a good starting point. Gyms often offer an orientation to the gym which includes walking you through the proper way to use the strength training equipment. If this isn’t available, or you need a refresher, many machines have instructions and pictures to educate you on how to use the machine and which muscles the exercises target.
If you are interested in adopting free weights into your workouts, I highly recommend initially working with a personal trainer. A trainer can show you the proper form and help you identify the correct weight to use for the various exercises. Make sure you are facing a mirror whenever working with free weights. This will help to ensure you hold proper form and can see what adjustments need to be made.
I often like to combine cardio bursts with my strength training which how I structure the majority of my BootCamp and Cardio Sculpt classes. I select 3 – 5 strength training moves and after completing 10 – 15 reps of each exercise I ramp up my heart rate with 3 – 5 minutes of cardio intervals. To give you an example:
Repeat the following for three sets
- Deadlift with upward row (15 reps)
- Alternate back lunge with hammer curl (10 reps each side)
- Squat with a shoulder press (15 reps)
- Tricep push-ups (10)
- Bicycle crunches (15 reps)
- Butt kicks, high knees, squat jack, alternate front kicks and fast feet (each exercise for 30 seconds and repeat)
Many people skip stretching as the final stage of their workout and that’s a big mistake. Stretching should be at least five minutes and all stretches should be held for 20 – 30 seconds. Increased flexibility and range of motion are just a couple of the many benefits of stretching.
How do you create balance with your workouts?