Where to Start
Initially, I will be focusing on Physical Fitness in regards to raising my level. Like any kind of training, it should be consistent and change only incrementally as I improve. There should never be a point when you’re using an exercise for training, but you don’t consider it to be a challenge.
It’s also important to choose an exercise regimen that will provide a challenge without ruining you for the rest of your day. Exercise is supposed to invigorate you, not use up all of your energy before you arrive at work. Whether doing resistance training or cardio, you should pick a task or regimen that doesn’t last longer than 45 minutes and doesn’t tempt you to risk injury with the “JUST ONE MORE” mindset.
If you are just starting out, I recommend limiting cardiovascular exercise to some form of Interval Training. For running, the Couch to 5K program is free and works amazingly well. My friends and I have used it to great success in the past. Because I’m caring for an infant in the mornings, leaving the house to go running isn’t very attractive, so I’ll be using an interval workout based around spinning on a stationary bike.
For reasons I will explain in a later post, in order to use weight lifting as a means of efficiently burning fat, you should focus purely on gaining strength. The safest way to do this quickly that I have tested is by doing what I call The 5 x 3. You only choose exercises that focus on multiple muscles at once, so Bench Press and Seated Row are in, Preacher Curls and Calf Raises are out. For each exercise, you pick the maximum amount of weight you can lift five times and do three sets of each. My personal lifting regimen includes six different exercises. More than six, and I find I’m spending so much time lifting that I get bored, and I’m too tired to do anything afterwards.
Working it into Your Life
You should give your muscles two days of rest before performing the same exercise again. Therefore, my week will alternate lifting and cardio as follows:
The final day of rest is very important for three reasons.
- Because it keeps the number of workout days even, so your schedule can be consistent each week.
- Because it will give you a day to really enjoy the body you’ve gained without worrying about how sore or tired your muscles are from exercising that day.
- Most importantly, because the rate at which you improve won’t be affected by working out 6 days instead of 7.
This is all very basic advice, but I hope it will help those of you struggling with your motivation to realize that it actually isn’t all that hard. You don’t have to spend your whole life at the gym to see real improvement in less than a month’s time. I’ll be going into further depth about both my cardio and lifting routines in the posts to come. In the mean time, I’d love to hear what has worked for you.