In essence, getting in shape is not about how long we work out, but how often and how intense. If you want to be fit, try to actualize the condition you want in your mind. Intensity, desire and frequency are our biggest allies, not the ability to exercise for five hours each day. If you use discipline in following guideline and working out in gym, you can realize your fitness dream. Once you are in the gym, you are halfway on the path to success. You should remember to trim your routine from nonessential parts; like talking to friend about your plan in weekend or rest too long between sets.
In a fitness training session, you should include cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility. Unfortunately three-quarters of an hour won’t be enough to cover the above aspects, however with enough determination and focus, you can do it:
This is how you should break down a 45-minute workout:
• Warm up: 5 minutes
• Cardiovascular: 15 minutes
• Cool-down: 5 minutes
• Strength training: 15 minutes
• Stretch: 5 minutes
The core of the training (cardiovascular and strength training) takes 30 minutes, so you shouldn’t expect miracles, but if done right, you can gain a lot.
People often say, “I don’t have 45 minutes to spare, can I skip the warm up? Unfortunately, warm-up is not an entrée and it is not as simple as jumping straight to the main course.
Here’s why, warm-up before an exercise offers a few critical physiological purposes, in essence, warm-up is an integral part of work-out, not something that can be separated. The warm-up process literally increases the body temperature. If you exercise while your muscles are cold, oxygen will be transferred less to muscle cells. In other words, with proper warm-up session, you can warm up better and easier. Better still, this oft-neglected component of workout can increase blood flow and lubricates moving parts, such as joints, significantly reduces long-term wear on joints and the risk of injury. Skip the warm-up, and you’ll ruining your body in the long run, while risking a sudden injury that can halt or even reverse your progress for months.
If you agree to allocate five minutes for workout, what should you do to warm up properly? Warm up is simple, in high school gym you might be told to do some jumping jacks and toe touches. Today, you can also do warm up by performing light exercises on any cardiovascular equipment, such as cross-country ski machine, rowing machine or stationary bike. A good warm up using machine should involve activities on upper and lower parts of your body, however, in most cases stationary bike and treadmill are enough. During the peak of warm-up, your heart-rate shouldn’t be lower or higher than fifty percent of your maximum, which is enough for breaking a light sweat.
After you’re properly warmed up, you can transition to the cardio workout. Because you have limited time, you should make every minute counts. For example, when using a stationary bike, you should focus on the pedals, instead of the TV in front of you. Of course, a TV can eliminate your boredom, but you should put the 15-minute cardio into a good use. During a cardiovascular exercise, you should make sure that you reach certain heart-zones to get the greatest benefit. In general, training between 60 and 80 percent of your max, should be enough to improve your cardiovascular fitness. It is a good idea to go slightly higher than that, for example between 75 and 85 percent, which is useful when you want to burn more calories in 15 minutes. However, high intensity cardio workout is often challenging for beginners, in fact even many competitive athletes find it hard to sustain 85 percent heart rate for more than 30 minutes. These are a few good ideas on performing a 15-minute indoor cardio workout:
• Lifecycle on hill profile: Lifecycle is among the most commonly found bikes in gym and healthy clubs, its program has “hill profile” which can simulate hill climbing quite well. The higher resistance is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. There are 12 difficulty levels on Lifecycles bikes, find an intensity where you are one notch below an all-out effort.
• StairMaster on Lunar Landing: In StairMaster you may a few programs that you’ll like, however, the Lunar Landing is an especially a good cardio workout program. It also incorporates warm-up and cool-down components.
• Concept II: It is unique compared to other cardio gym equipments, as it allows you to define a customized training intensity. Unlike a typical treadmill, where you set a speed and forced to keep up, Compact II is at your command. Immediately after a 5-minute warm-up, alternate one easy minute with one hard minute for 10 minutes, followed with a five minute cool down (within the cardiovascular exercise).
We often see that weary runners are urged to walk around a little bit after reaching the finish line in marathon. If those wobbly and wasted runners, who just ran for more 26 miles can tough out a few more minutes of cool-down, so can you. Amateurs often rush through a workout and skip their cool-down phase. Just like warm-up, cool-down is essential in achieving a safe workout, perhaps even more so. After a cardio workout you have higher blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. Additionally, during a workout more blood is diverted to muscle cells, which in some cases cause dizziness, especially after you perform an intense cardio workout. A five-minute light exercise should do the trick, as your body can better adapt to the diminishing physical activity. In most cases, having less than 100 heart-beats a minute is enough during a cool-down phase.
You may not believe it, but performing a serious strength-training exercise is possible in just 15 minutes. You may wonder what you can do in such as a small amount of time. Plenty, actually. For example, in one minute you can do ten reps, which means one rep takes about six seconds. If you alternate it with one minute of recovery, you can get eight minutes of strength training exercise. It may not seem like much, but it could allow you to work on all major muscle groups simultaneously. Actually, the brief recovery periods between sets can be a little too short for you and the whole strength training phase might be more challenging than you expect.
Below, there are two routines that comprise of eight sets, depending on the targeted muscles. In both routines, it is advisable to start from larger to smaller muscles. It is a good idea to do one routine, which concentrates from your waist and above; and the do another routine the next day that stresses on your lower body muscles.
• Leg press
• Upright row
• Lat pull down
• Shoulder press
• Chest press
• Reverse crunch
• Leg press
• Lat pull down
• Leg extension
• Shoulder press
• Leg curl
• Reverse crunch
• Chest press
You should be aware that exercising on the same muscles on two consecutive days can cause soreness, which causes reduced overall performance. If you have emphasized on your leg on Tuesday, the next “Leg Emphasis” exercise should be on Thursday.
Stretching after an exercise is important, but it doesn’t mean that you should walk into a gym and start stretching immediately. Although stretching is good, this approach usually leads to injuries like pulled muscles and other physical discomforts. Unless, you jog to the gym, always warm up first. Put differently, stretching with cold muscles is strictly a no go. Don’t stretch until you feel pain. These a few types of stretches that should be adequate to cover most of your muscles after a 45-minute workout:
• Groin stretch
• Quadriceps stretch
• Standing calf stretch
• Hip stretch
• Seated hamstring stretch