Are you wondering what kinds of workouts will help you achieve your fitness goals? Although I will always emphasize the fact that a combination of healthy eating, lifestyle habits, and consistent workouts are the golden combination for losing weight and building muscle, the TYPES of workouts you include in your regimen can make a huge difference when it comes to getting lasting results. So here are 3 types of workouts you should do if you want to lose weight and/or get healthy.
Type #1: Strength Training
Strength training involves creating the necessary tension in your body to break down and repair/build muscle. When we talk about “toning up,” “getting lean,” or “getting stronger,” strength training is the first type of workout that comes to mind. There are two kinds: body weight training and equipment training.
Like it sounds, bodyweight training involves using the weight of your body as a tool for building strength. This is great for people who:
- Are just starting out with strength training. It gives you the opportunity to learn how your body works and become familiar with a vast range of exercises that will help you achieve your goals.
- Have minimal access to equipment. This is ideal if you work out at home or are constantly traveling, since it may not be practical to have a ton of workout gear.
FYI – try not to think of bodyweight training as the “easy” version. There are a wealth of exercises from beginner to advanced (think of pullups, pushups, and squats).
In contrast to bodyweight training, equipment work utilizes some form of external tool to create muscular contractions. The different kinds of tools that can be used during exercise is almost endless. It includes but is not limited to: resistance bands, bosu balls, free weights, weight machines, towels or sliders, etc. A few benefits to using equipment include:
- The ability to target specific muscle groups you may not be able to work effectively with bodyweight alone.
- Faster gains in strength and muscle size overall.
- Reducing pressure in the wrists and shoulders (since many bodyweight moves involve loading them).
Neither one is better than the other. Both equipment and bodyweight training have huge benefits. I recommend that you perform some combination of the two from two to three times a week.
Type #2: Cardio Training
A cardio workout is defined by whether or not it raises your heartrate. That’s why the first thing most people think about when they start a new workout routine is running. It’s a tried and true bodyweight cardio exercise that can be super effective at helping you increase your endurance and/or lose weight. But FYI, it’s not the only thing. Here are some other types of cardio that might strike your fancy:
- High Intensity Interval Training
- Spinning or Cycling
- Cardio Kickboxing
- Plyometric Training
Besides weight loss, a few key benefits of regular cardio include lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress, improving sleep, and boosting your mood. And get this… it doesn’t have to be that hard to be considered effective! With cardio, consistency is the key. About 5 or 6 days a week of low intensity cardio or 2 to 3 days of moderate to high intensity cardio should do the trick!
Type #3: Mobility and Flexibility Training
Flexibility is defined by your ability to move your body through a certain range of motion, such as going into a split or touching your hands behind your back. Mobility, on the other hand, involves you using muscular contraction to get through those ranges. Key to both is making sure that these movements are pain-free. Unfortunately, most of us spend more time sitting or standing in one place each day than we do moving. Here’s what can happen over time:
- Our muscles become tight and weak
- Our range of motion becomes limited
- We experience muscle and joint pain
- Our bodies become more susceptible to injury in the case that we try to move beyond our current range of motion.
This is why training mobility and flexibility is key to maintaining a healthy, happy body. Good workouts will include these elements during proper warmups and cooldowns. However, a dedicated session of yoga or stretching two to three times a week can allow you to move better during other workouts. Plus, you may experience additional benefits, such as reduced anxiety, enhanced focus, improved balance, improved heart health and feelings calmness.
Find the Combo that’s Right for You
Although no one combination of strength, cardio, and mobility/flexibility training will make the perfect routine for everyone, simply having these three elements will provide you with the basic structure you need to maintain a comprehensive fitness regimen. While strength and cardio training are necessary for weight loss and body composition goals, mobility and flexibility work provide essential building blocks for optimizing workouts and recovering from them.
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