2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = You(Fit)

 
A question I commonly get asked as a personal trainer…”What do you think of enter newest workout fad here?”  My answer? “I think it would be a good thing to do some of the time.” 
 
Here’s the (workout) deal.  The perfect fitness equation involves NOT doing the same thing for every workout!  Not only because you will get into a mental workout rut if you keep doing the same thing, but because that’s not what your body is designed to do!  I have seen many clients get injured from their favorite workout because they do it TOO MUCH!  The repetitive nature of doing that one thing you love to do over and over again creates muscular imbalances, decreases joint range of motion, and can cause serious tissue damage.  If you are a marathoner, you can’t only run.  If you are a yogi, you can’t only practice yoga, and if you are a powerlifter, you can’t only lift heavy things.      
 
Everyone’s workout equation is going to be a little bit different, but I’ve come up with a good starting point to finding your own perfect fitness equation.
 

2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = You(Fit)

 

2 strength training workouts  

2 steady state, long distance cardio workouts 

1 sprint workout  

1 mind/body workout 

per week

 
Now, before you think I’m nuts and that you can’t possibly fit all of these workouts into your hectic life, stick with me for a bit longer.
 
Let’s break these down individually:
 

STRENGTH TRAINING → 2 x PER WEEK  

 

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We all know that we need to do some strength training, but do we actually do it AND do it correctly?  Probably not.  This is why I have made a career out of being a personal trainer!  I cannot stress the importance of lifting heavy things enough.  It is imperative to building and maintaining strength, bone density, mobility, and flexibility as we age.  You may not care about how you will be moving at the age of 70 right now, but trust me…you will seriously regret it if you don’t start thinking about it now!  The majority of my clients are 55+ and every single one of them is dealing with pain, weakness, and immobility because they didn’t start lifting weights sooner.  
 
Now that I’ve gotten through that rant and convinced you to pick up some weights, what are you supposed to do with them?  
 
Your perfect strength training routine should include: 
  1. a squatting motion 
  2. a deadlifting motion 
  3. an overhead pressing motion 
  4. a horizontally pushing motion 
  5. a vertically pulling motion 
  6. a core twisting motion 
  7. a core stabilizing motion   
That’s 7 must-do movements.  That’s it!  Of course, you can add other movements, but these are the essential movements that need to be done twice per week.  Perform 8-12 repetitions of all movements for 3 sets.  Make sure the weight/resistance is hard enough that you’re muscles are working really hard to move the weight by the last few reps.  These sessions will last 20 minutes.  
 

STEADY STATE, LONG DISTANCE CARDIO → 2 x PER WEEK  

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This doesn’t mean running a half marathon every week.  The goal of these workouts is to get your joints, tendons, and ligaments moving in the way they were designed and to provide some low impact, weight bearing exercise for your bones.  The ideal movement for these workouts would be a nice walk or hike outdoors.  Get to a pace that is comfortable, but energetic.  You may break a sweat, your heart rate will increase, but you should not be breathing heavy.  Use this time to enjoy music, clear your head, breathe some fresh air, and soak in the sun!  If walking isn’t your thing, maybe try a dance or boxing class.  Try to do something that puts your body into an upright, standing position as opposed to seated. These sessions will last 30-45 minutes.
 

SPRINT WORKOUT  → 1 x WEEK  

 

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This is the time for your heart and lungs to get the workout!  The goal here is to put forth your ultimate effort, getting your heart rate up and breathing heavily.  This should be done in an interval format where your work set is 30-60 seconds and your rest period is 60-90 seconds for 10-15 rounds.  Sprinting doesn’t necessarily mean running as fast as you can.  You can do this on a bike or other exercise equipment, with bodyweight movements like jumps or skips, running stairs, jumping rope, etc.  Find something that feels good but challenging and give it your all out effort for short bursts of time.  These sessions will last 15-20 minutes. 
 

MIND/BODY WORKOUT → 1+ x PER WEEK  

 

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At least once a week (preferably more), you need to spend time getting a mind/body connection.  The most common and best way to do this, in my opinion, is with yoga.  Yoga is a critical piece to the workout puzzle that most people miss.  Yoga forces us to move differently than in a typical strength workout and provides a solid dose of mobility and flexibility that will enhance your other workouts and help you kick a** at life in general!  An additional benefit of yoga is the mental and spiritual connection that you build within yourself.  Breathing techniques and a flowing movement done with intention helps create mental clarity and peace within.  If you have the ability to go to an actual yoga class, I highly recommend you do!  Being in an actual yoga room, with an actual instructor, surrounded by other yogis provides the best environment to get into your mind/body connection.  If you don’t have access to a class, do a video at home.  There are great videos available on YouTube.  Find a comfortable space in your house where you can be uninterrupted for at least 30 minutes of mind/body time.  I encourage you to do this type of workout as many times as you can during the week, as long as it doesn’t take the place of any of your other weekly workouts!  These sessions will last 30+ minutes.   
 
See??  I’m not saying you have to spend hours a day, every day, to get your perfect fitness equation.  All of these workouts can be done effectively in just minutes a day!  Just remember…
 
     

2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = You(Fit)

 

Still not sure you can make this work?  I can help!  Send me a message at wellbellynutrition@gmail.com

 
 
           

photo credit: Dumbbells via photopin (license)

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