Fitness has always been an imperative step in helping one maintain health and well-being. It is important to plan and follow a successful fitness routine, something many people struggle with or take for granted. Hence, we at Wellintra Fitness, are here to make sure you stick to your goals and optimize your training for the best possible results. While combining the elements of cardiovascular activities, resistance training, stretching and mobility exercises, a few more key principles of training must be kept in mind. Stated below are a few of the principles one must bear in mind while building an effective workout plan:
Decide how often you should work out
There are various factors that will give you an idea about the type of workout depending on the age, health conditions (if any), current fitness levels, preferences and of course, the end goal. If there’s been a considerable amount of space between your last workout session and the current one, start slow and eventually you will notice an improvement in strength and flexibility. If the aim is to get into shape, reduce body fat and increase fitness levels, a routine like the one listed below would be advisable:
- Cardio, (3-5 times a week)
- Sculpting for strength and flexibility (3 times a week)
- Short workouts for strength and flexibility (whenever you get time)
Set a time to workout
Depending on the rhythm of the day and the energy levels, one can push in a workout at any hour of the day as long as it’s consistent. However, a lot of people find it easier to workout during the morning hours due to work commitments and also because the body is well-rested. Morning workouts are also recommended as a good exercise routine sets the tone for the rest of the day making one feel lively, energetic and motivated throughout the day.
Whatever time you choose to workout, make sure that you do, and remember to maintain a gap of two hours between the meals and workouts to avoid any uneasiness. You can eat something small like a banana or a small portion of oats about 20-30 mins before your workout to avoid any weakness or loss of energy mid-workout.
How much of a workout is good enough?
Again, there are many factors one should bear in mind when deciding the intensity and length of the session depending on various factors such as the current fitness level, fitness goals and the commitment to these goals. The energy levels are an important aspect while deciding the number of sets to be repeated while pumping iron and performing resistance exercises. For example, if you squat 10 times, take a break and squat 10 times again, that amounts up to 2 sets of squats, 10 repetitions each. However when it comes to Yoga, Pilates or stretching, the form and the number of breaths while holding a specific position is what matters.
Warmup and Cooldown Exercises
A good warmup is highly recommended at the beginning of any workout session. Warmup exercises prepare the body for various movements involved in a workout session. An effective warmup can speed up the nerve impulses travelling to the muscles and also increase the body temperature and heart rate. The chances of any muscle injuries are greatly reduced and the workout has the potential to give better results. Just like warmups, even cooldowns are important to help the body return to its usual state. Not only does a cooldown help the heart rate and body temperature normalize, it also reduces the lactic acid build up which can otherwise lead to extreme muscle soreness. An effective 10 minute cooldown improves muscle flexibility. Cooldown stretches can tend to be more intense than the warmup ones.
While working out, we must challenge our body and set new records to improve our fitness level. So while performing any exercise, one must try to put in a little more effort than before. This effort could be in the form of a few more reps or a little more resistance than before and so on. This way your stats will increase and improvements will be made slowly but surely. The concept of progressive overload is based on the fact that for any physiological system in the body, there must be exposure to a greater load than usual to deal with for improvement in working and to have a stronger condition of that system, be it the muscles, skeleton, heart or lungs.
Listen to your body
You must workout at your own pace and be comfortable while doing it. You shouldn’t force your body to do something it is not comfortable with and of course, if you feel pain, resistance or discomfort then stop that particular exercise as this could be a sign of an upcoming injury. You can bring down the exercise difficulty if you feel like you’re pushing your body beyond limits, like reducing the weight or holding the position for a reduced amount of time. Let your body catch up with the challenges you are giving it slowly and you will get your desired results without any injury or problems. It is okay to move slowly towards your goals. Concentrate on yourself first and do not get carried away if others around you are doing much more than you are. Their fitness levels can be different and if you try to workout with very high resistance or very high intensity when your body is not ready to take that kind of pressure, you will not progress and there is of course a chance to get injured.
It can get boring and repetitive to be doing the same exercises every time. Therefore, it is important to bring variety in your workout routine from time to time. This way your workouts will not only be interesting but also you will keep your body guessing what’s coming next. Doing the same workouts for long periods of time will let your body adapt which will lead to slower results.
Get adequate rest
Rest is very important for your body to recover from the stress of workout. The usual amount of minimum sleep is 8 hours but it can slightly differ for you personally. Experiment with sleep time and see what’s best for you. Getting adequate sleep time will leave you fresh and energetic for the day to come. Your mood will also be better. Inadequate sleep will leave you restless, moody, tired and can affect your workout progress too. Consider having one workout free day in the week too.
Planning, consistency, progress and safety are your best friends when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. Stay determined and follow these principles for an enjoyable and worthwhile journey to building the best version of yourself. It takes time for results to start showing and that’s why you must be patient and determined to put in the effort. After all, pandemic or no pandemic, wherever we are, we are all going to make it.