A Balanced Exercise Plan
We all know we should exercise.
And, you should know by now that prioritising movement you enjoy, is the key to sustainable, permanent weight loss.
You’ve learnt about the benefits or cardio, strength training and flexibility, but how do you pull all of this together into a weight loss exercise plan that will keep you on track.
The key to a healthy exercise plan is the same as being healthy in general, balance.
Make sure you’re hitting all areas, that means incorporating cardio, strength and flexibility.
Weight Loss Exercise Plan: Cardio
20 Minute HIIT Workout
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds. Complete 4 rounds.
As I’ve mentioned before, cardio exercise is really important to keep your body working properly.
It keeps your heart beating efficiently, transporting blood, oxygen and nutrients to where they are needed. You can’t have a healthy body without a healthy, efficient heart.
So, how often should you cardio?
Really speaking you should do some form of cardio every day. Yes, every day. A 20-minute walk at lunch time. Parking further away from the office. Walking to the shop instead of driving. Taking the stairs instead of the lift.
These are all ways you can fit some cardio movement into your daily life. But, you should also be doing at least one dedicated cardio session a week. This means something that gets you sweaty, breathing harder, heart pumping more.
That session should be for about an hour, or, if you can’t dedicate a whole hour, break it down into two chunks of 30 minutes.
Stuck for ideas, or not sure exactly what type of exercise cardio is?
Swimming, walking, running, dancing, treadmill, cross-trainer, rowing machine. Anything that gets your breathing rate up for a sustained amount of time.
Weight Loss Exercise Plan: Strength Training
Now onto strength training.
Yes, you should be doing it, and no you won’t look like a man. Unless you are a man of course.
Strength training is important to, well, keep your muscles strong and working properly. Muscles are vital for things like keeping your body upright, moving your limbs, and the stronger they are, the better they will work.
Strength training is all about moving heavy things, and when you do that, your muscles tear. Only slightly, you don’t feel any pain from it, unless you get DOMS and then it’s a little difficult to move for a day. But, those little tears cause your muscles to grow back, but stronger.
In a weight loss perspective, muscles give you that toned, none wobbly, appearance you’re probably after.
As with cardio you should be doing a least one dedicated strength training session each week. And that should be for about an hour.
Yes, you can break it down into two half hour session, if you haven’t got the time to dedicate a whole hour.
Need some examples?
Well, you could hit the gym. Most gyms have weight machines, or free weight areas. But if you don’t fancy using yours, maybe it’s always overrun by burley men who like to look in the mirror, there are other options.
Bodyweight training can be adapted to a really good strength workout. Cobble together some homemade equipment, pole dancing, and aerial. All really good ways to work those muscles.
Weight Loss Exercise Plan: Flexibility
This is often overlooked, and usually not a favourite. But, it is really important.
Working on your flexibility will not only help you in your daily life and your new training regime, but it will also help as you get older.
Most slips and falls in the elderly happen because they don’t have flexibility in their limbs.
Stretching is like cardio in that it can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Whilst you don’t want to hold a stretch on a cold muscle, you can do it after a walk or bath, or do some dynamic stretching. That means you won’t be holding a stretch for long you’ll be moving with it.
The best time to do stretching, however, is before and after an exercise session. Dynamic stretching is a good way to warm up, and static, or developmental stretching as it’s sometimes called, is a good cool down.
Yoga and Pilates are also really good for improving/maintaining flexibility.
Weight Loss exercise Plan: Pulling it all together
I know what you’re thinking…wow, that sounds like a lot.
Yes, it does. That’s why I put a premium on exercises, workouts, that incorporate more than one mode of training.
Bodyweight, kettlebells and swimming are really good exercises for training both cardio and strength.
Yoga incorporates flexibility and strength, and depending which type of yoga you do it can also be a cardio workout.
If you make sure you stretch after every session, then an hour’s workout 3 times a week would be all you need to have a healthy exercise plan.
If you can’t dedicate an hour, go for 30 minutes.
Weight Loss Exercise Plan: Your Turn
Make sure you have balance in your training.
Hit all three areas, cardio, strength and flexibility and you will have yourself a healthy programme for moving your body.
But remember, doing something is better than nothing, so if you can’t do everything in a week, do what you can, and then aim for the other bits the week after.
If you’re interested to see how I incorporate all of this into my training, and my lifestyle, then have a read of this…