Looking for Perfection: What is the Perfect Workout?
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Looking for Perfection: What is the Perfect Workout?

This is a response to a reader's request. Thank you for asking! Keep those requests rolling in.

Some people look for magic workout formulas to have the "perfect" workout. Some people are like random ions, pinging around from exercise to exercise with no real concept of what they need. Others seem to have their workouts together, with the right mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility to optimize the results of health and fitness goals.

What is the ideal blend of exercises to achieve the best results? It all depends.There are basic guidelines to follow for cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility work. Advanced workouts have variations from those basics. For cardiovascular exercise, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that important health benefits come from doing at least 150 minutes, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity. It could also consist of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity or an equal combination of moderate and vigorous intensity of aerobic activity.  The basic cardio intensity is 65-85% of your maximum heart rate for healthy individuals. Of course, how this plays out for you will depend on your health, goals, and preferences.

For strength training, the general recommendations are to do 60-70% of your 1-rep max for most exercisers (new and intermediate) for 2-3 days per week on alternating days. Each workout session should consist of 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions. My preference is10-15 repetitions in 1-3 sets for someone who was sedentary and is totally new at lifting weight, then work them up to 8-12 reps per set.Rest times should be 2-3 minutes between sets and 2 days between strength training sessions for muscle recovery. It is important to work from larger muscle groups to smaller muscle groups, doing multi-joint exercises before single joint exercises. Each lift can be done in a 2 second lift/press to a 4 second release/lowering of the weight. BREATHE! Exhale on the push,pull, or lift, inhale on the release/lowering of the weight. How this actually looks for you depends on your health, previous exercise level, and  your age. Image by Scott Webb on Unsplash.com.

For flexibility, it is recommended to hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds (30-60 seconds for older adults) for 2-4 times daily after warming up if done alone or after your workout cool-down. Stretches should be done for each major muscle group, but can or should include minor muscle areas if tense or somewhat painful (pulling sensation).

Char's starter workouts often look like this:

Warm-up      5-10 minutes

Cardio          20-30 minutes

Functional training (multi-muscle group strength)     3-5 exercises

Single muscle group strength     1-2 sets of 10-15 reps

1-3 balance exercises held for 10-30 seconds each, 1-2 reps each

Cool-down     5-10 minutes

Stretch 6-8 stretches for     10-30 seconds each

I do adjustments within this framework depending on my client's goals, needs, preferences, strengths, and weakness.

The best way to find out what you need depends on your goals, preferences, and knowing what you can do through fitness testing. Get an appointment with a personal trainer for fitness assessment and testing so you can find out what your weaknesses and strengths to optimize your exercise performance. Sorry so dry and "clinical" but the best way to give this to is you straight.Not all workouts are one-size fits all, but the guidelines are important for safe, effective exercise.

May God bless you!

Resource: NETA The Fitness Professional's Manual copyright 2014 by The National Exercise Trainers Association.

#exercise #fitness #weightloss

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