Should one stick to cardio or strength training? Structuring a workout routine can be confusing. Here is how you can sculpt your body and improve your fitness levels.
A well-rounded workout routine encompasses cardio, weight training and flexibility. There are endless ways to structure your workout program putting these three together, but it also depends on your existing fitness level, schedule and fitness goal (if any).
As a beginner, you must start slow and gradually pick up. Start with small weights initially and work yourself up. For the first few weeks, do cardio (such as jogging, biking, jumping rope or brisk walking) for 10 to 15 minutes. Also, you should make sure that you stretch thoroughly without pushing yourself, to prevent injuries and sprains. There are several stretching exercises for the back, arms, legs and chest. After stretching, try exercises such as crunches, bench press, bicep extensions and squats.
A circuit workout comprises short bursts of cardiovascular activity. Basically, it is strengthening the upper and lower body using only your natural body weight. A circuit of 20-30 minutes must have two minutes of a cardiovascular activity followed by two minutes of strength activity. Choose five cardiovascular activities and five strength activities that you are comfortable doing. Do repetitions in next 15 minutes but make sure that you don’t waste any when switching from one to the other.
Another way of setting up a circuit is:
If the objective of your workouts is losing weight, you need to exercise to rev up your metabolism so that you burn fat as quickly as possible. For those who are afraid of lifting weights, cardio is the only way to go, which is a myth. Strength training is just as important as cardio to lose weight. Switch between cardio and strength training (say 5 minutes of cardio, 5 minutes of weight-lifting and repeat). In order to burn fat fast, you should try exercises that work the largest muscles in your body. Effective cardio exercises for weight loss and improving fitness levels at the same time include squats, bench presses and crunches. Ask your instructor to recommend an appropriate weight or resistant force that will work the target muscles to fatigue. Do at least 10 repetitions of an exercise.
When structuring a workout routine, make sure it is a full-body workout. It is better that you combine many muscle movements into one exercise; which not only works for all several muscle groups but makes you spend less time. If you are a plan beforehand, you will also reduce the risk of overtraining besides having better overall muscle and strength development.
Image Source: Getty