We all know that in order to live a healthy lifestyle we need to be including some sort of training in our schedule. There are so many options available to us but how do we know how much is too much? Or even how little is too little? If I have a goal of weight-loss, how often do I need to be working out in order to see results?
What if your goal isn’t weight-loss? It could be muscle gain, injury rehabilitation, or just general health.
Where do we draw the line on overtraining? How can we diet without creating eating disorders for ourselves? These are just some of the questions I am constantly asking myself and unfortunately the answers aren’t always simple. The answers often depend on you individual goals.
So, what does a well rounded training regimen look like? When we say “well rounded” we are not referring to the training of an elite athlete or someone getting ready to compete in a physique show. When we talk about a well rounded training regimen, we are talking specifically to average, everyday people with personal fitness and health goals.
Please keep in mind that this piece is an opinion piece. We are only speaking based on our beliefs at Optimus Strength. Depending on your goals you may have a different idea of balance.
If you are just looking for information this is a good place to start. If your new to fitness or just trying to do a little gym research we hope the info in this blog post can help you make a life changing decision.
Strength training is often a men’s first introduction to fitness, and a woman’s last. However, most of the time those squats your high school football coach is having you do aren’t correct. Making you more prone to injury.
Proper strength training with a certified coach is needed in order to move well and avoid injury. A certified coach will know how best to teach you to move while lessening the risk of injury. They will be able to asses your range of motion and create a plan to improve your strength over time.
Strength Training includes placing any type of load on the body and moving it through an established range of motion. We see this demonstrated when we do back squats, bench press, bicep curls, etc.. Resistance bands and bodyweight exercises are also forms of strength training.
You may think of Aerobic Capacity as endurance but it’s a little different. Aerobic Capacity is is the body’s ability to transfer oxygen to muscles via the heart and lungs. Aerobic Capacity can be improved by both long time domain and short domain cardio training.
HIIT training, cycling, running, and rowing are the most common ways to train aerobic capacity. Varying the distances, time domains, and intensity in each of these modalities will allow you to train and improve your aerobic capacity.
We define Mobility as range of motion under muscular tension. The depth of your squat is the most obvious demonstration of mobility. This can give away information on not only your hip and knee mobility, but also hamstring and ankle mobility.
Range of motion while under muscular tension is important when performing everyday movements. Getting in and out of the car, picking things up off of the ground, and even getting up and down stairs can all be drastically improved with increased mobility.
Mobility and strength go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. If you are performing large feats of strength with limited mobility it is only a matter of time before an injury occurs.
Flexibility is a component of mobility. Flexibility is your passive range of motion, there is less muscle tension when demonstrating flexibility. A gymnast sitting in the splits, or you touching your toes is an example of flexibility.
Good flexibility can aid in mobility and strength, but being too flexible can hinder and even cause injury when strength training. If someone is hyper-flexible, their stability may be lacking.
Static Stretching after a workout is the best way to train flexibility. Static Stretching consists of holding stretch positions for 1 minute or longer. Static stretching should be practiced after every workout. You should never static stretch before a workout, this is said to reduce your power output.
Active recovery is just as important as a hard workout and your rest day. It allows the body time to recover while still moving at a moderate or even slow pace. Things like distance walking, jogging, hiking, or light swimming can be used for active recovery. Yoga is also a good option!
All of these activities still require energy exertion but can be less taxing on the body overall. You should be taking at least 1 active recovery day each week, 2 days is optimal.
You should be taking at least 1 (or more) rest days per week. Depending on where you are in your fitness journey. If you’re just starting out, every other day is a good start.
Your rest day should include some very light recovery work. Static Stretching and mobility work are great rest day activities. You shouldn’t be worried about getting your heart rate up or lifting any weight on rest days. Foam rolling or getting a massage should be done on a rest day.
Food & Sleep Quality
Along with rest days you should be keeping track of your sleep quality every night! There are multiple sleep trackers on the market right now and you should be taking advantage of them.
If you aren’t sleeping enough, you will not be recovered which will lead to lack of results!
The same goes for eating. We get it, sometimes healthier options are not what you’re craving but your body needs them in order to repair muscles after a workout. Quantity of food is also important. If you aren’t eating enough you will not see the results you want.
At Optimus Strength we have noticed that most of the time our clients are eating too little. You do want to be in a caloric deficit but eating TOO little will put your body into starvation mode and cause you to hold store fat and hold onto weight. Eating more (the right amount of the right foods) will allow your body to let go of those fat stores.
Knowing what and how much to eat is often difficult. We are undereducated when it comes to nutrition. Unfortunately, everyone is looking for a “quick fix” but those “magic teas” that your favorite influencer is selling are not going to get the job done. Your favorite influencer did not get her body by drinking that tea. She has probably never struggled with her weight and is peddling a quick fix to make a quick buck. Don’t buy the skinny tea! It’s not good for your body.
Find Your Balance
Fitness looks different for everyone and the most important thing is finding what is right for you. You need to find something that gets you results but that you also enjoy doing. You need to put together a schedule of what your workout and rest days will look like. How many days a week will you workout? What about rest and active recovery? You need to schedule a specific day for each, and then stick to it consistently.
Consistency in your lifestyle is going to yield the best results. Finding a style of workout that you enjoy is going to make it easier to remain consistent.