Why? because there is so much biased or mis–information,(or mis-leading, or mis-informed) out there. Apart from seeking known reliable data, I also look inside, I ask myself what feels right or logical to me, based on personal experience.
As I have said before, everyone is different… different DNA, different genetics, being predisposed to different conditions – this isn’t to say we can’t still change things, but how we change things or get our results may be different to others.
Weight loss & exercise are prime examples of this, generally the more outrageous the claim the less likely it is to be true.
So,how do you work out effectively?? There is no definitive answer to this because it depends on what your goals are, whether it be body building, reducing body fat, improving cardio-vascular fitness, whatever. If you genuinely want to get results, you need to put the effort in, both mentally & physically. You need MOTIVATION and DESIRE and you need to enjoy what you’re doing if you are to get the results you deserve! You need to figure out what works for YOU!
Some good general guidelines are available though, for example,
The F I T T principle:-
F – Frequency i.e how often you train either for cardio-vascular fitness or resistance work. For cardio (aerobic/with oxygen) exercise, the general consensus is a minimum of x3 week, up to x 5 or 6 depending on your level. Athletes may well need to do more, but most of us aren’t in that league! For resistance work it would depend on the actual program, you want to avoid over training & give your muscle groups time to recover, again generally, give specific muscle groups 24 hours to recover in between sessions.
I – Intensity i.e the amount of effort you put into the workout. So for your cardio exercise you can workout to a % of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), e.g the fat burning rate is between 60-70% of your max.
For your resistance workout, you measure effort either by
– # of reps you perform
– amount of weight you lift
– the length of time you take to complete each rep/set
T – Time Speaks for itself! Again, Generally for a cardio w/o it would need to be at least 20 mins to be effective, but preferably more..up to about 45 mins. Plus if weight loss is your goal, your body tends to initially go to the energy stores in the muscles first before going to use your fat stores for energy, and it takes time for this to occur. In a resistance (weights) session again generally you’d be looking at 45 mins – up to an hour, but after this the benefits tend to decrease. Again, unless you are an athlete, so different rules for different goals/different people.
T-Type i.e what kind of cardio (running, swimming, cycling, aerobics,) or what kind of resistance, (mainly weights, but it could be thera bands, or magic circles), – you do to achieve the goals you have set. Aim for a variety of sports if possible, try something new & try to enjoy them! Many sports have competitions like tennis, netball, or you could enter a triathlon?
going back to INTENSITY…if reducing your body fat % or fat loss is your priority then you need to work out (i.e measure your heart rate) at approx. 60-70% of your MAXIMUM, you get an approx. measure of your max HR by a simple calculation… 220-your age, so for a
32 yr old mum of two wanting to lose body fat… her HR should be between
220-32 x 60% =112.8 bpm (beats per minute)
220-32 x 70%= 131.6 bpm
so the body only burns fat as energy up to a certain point, after this your body can no longer supply oxygen at a fast enough rate to burn it as fuel, & will switch to another source, namely carbs in the muscles
MYTH… I’ve heard girlfriends say they are reluctant to lift weights for fear of ‘bulking up’. This won’t happen…unless you really wanted it to, females simply don’t have enough testosterone to do this. So don’t worry!
What does ‘Toning’ mean? ..to tone, basically you need to build up lean muscle (male or female) then reduce your body fat enough to see the definition of said muscles. Women can lift weights similar to men, they may do less reps, but it is about working to fatigue.
SO – weight lifting is essential for women to tone, but also lose weight as the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn & the faster your metabolism will be. Then there is the benefit of Osteoporosis prevention, or potential reversal of the condition, plus its bone strengthening ability as well.
FORM – this is where I see many people fall down (.. not literally!) at the gym. To train effectively, you HAVE to perfect correct form – however, this DOES NOT mean that there is only ONE way to do a movement, but there ARE wrong ways which will either be totally ineffective or actually dangerous to perform. Sometimes one small change in posture can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of the exercise.
If unsure ask a PT. I believe it is worthwhile to have a session or two with a professional just to make sure that you really know what you’re doing, plus to give you the variety to mix it up. Another way is to go to gym classes or bootcamp style groups where you can receive accurate advice and gain new ideas – plus exercising in a group can be fun & motivational and of course, EFFECTIVE!!