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Get fit: 3 things every workout plan should have

July 31, 2014 16:27 IST

Get fit: 3 things every workout plan should have

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Brinda Sapat

You may be new to exercise or may already be on the latest workout regime, but are you getting everything from it?

Fancy marketing, new trends can take us for a ride; so it is really important to know what actually does work!

Did you know there are 3 aspects to acquiring a fit body? No matter what style of exercise you follow, your routine must include these 3 components:

1. Cardiovascular training
2. Muscle strength and endurance
3. Flexibility training

'Why?', you ask?

Click on NEXT to continue reading...


Image: Your workout must include cardio, strength and flexibility training.
Photographs: Bipasha Basu's fitness DVD Unleash.
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Here's why!

1. Cardiovascular training burns fat helping you shed all that excess flab. It takes care of the fat to lean mass ratio.

And internally it makes your heart and lungs stronger; reducing your risk of heart and lung problems, and increasing your life span.

It also gives you glowing complexion, lustrous hair and strong nails!

2. Muscle strength training gives your body super shape! It increases the muscle fibres and density.

Muscles support your joints and the more muscle mass and strength you have, the stronger your joints will be.

As the body ages (starts at 22 years believe it or not!) muscles start degenerating and the joints take more load leading to their wear and tear. This causes joint pain that can get chronic and lead to surgery.

Muscular endurance training is more functional in nature. It translates to your day to day physical movements like lifting up objects from the floor, twisting and placing something on a table; etc.

This is very important to make your daily tasks injury free, quick and efficient.

3. Flexibility training works on increasing the range of motion around a joint; like circling your arms backwards.

Are you able to take it all the way back, or do you have to take it to the side instead? Tight, inflexible muscles lead to muscle and joint injury.

The body should be trained to be able to twist and bend through the full range.

AND...It gives you good posture!!

Got it? Now how do you make sure your workout is addressing these 3 points?

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Image: Cardiovascular training burns fat helping you shed all that excess flab.
Photographs: Ron Mahon on Picasa/Wikimedia Commons
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Get fit: 3 things every workout plan should have

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Here's how:

1. Cardio workouts include walking/running/jogging, cycling, swimming, a cardio class, spinning, high intensity cardio interval training, cardio machines in the gym.

The minimum cardio requirement is 30 minutes, 6 days a week at moderate to high intensity. If you are doing high intensity interval training the time may be shorter.

For all you guys who want to build muscle, go with high intensity cardio intervals. The energy uptake is from fat and not muscle.

2. Muscular strength training workouts include weight bearing exercises- dumbbells, barbells, weight machines. You will lift heavy weights and do fewer repetitions.

Muscular endurance exercises use body weight, resistance equipment like the ball, tubing, kettlebells, light dumbells core board; etc.

The pattern here is light weights and greater number of reps.

This workout should be done 4 days a week

3. Flexibility training is done through concentrated stretching exercises; and usually at the end of your workout.

Each stretch should be held for at least 20 seconds to allow to push the range.

Quick stretches (10 seconds or so) post-workout are different and done to release the muscle and prevent soreness.

Concentrated stretching must be done at least thrice a week.


Image: The minimum cardio requirement is 30 minutes 6 days a week at moderate to high intensity.
Photographs: Mike Baird from Morro Bay, USA/bairdphotos.com/Wikimedia Commons
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Here's a quick glance at a few workouts to see what they offer and what they don't. So if your workout seems to have any one of these missing, add it in.

This chart shows what the workouts main points are; although some instructors do customize to include the other aspects too. Just make sure you are getting them in your routine.

                           Cardio            Strength       Endurance        Flexibility

Gym training        yes               yes              yes *               yes*

Zumba               yes                no               yes                  no

Boot Camp          yes**            no               yes                  no

Aerobics/            yes               no***          yes                  yes
Tone class

Pilates               no                 no                yes                  no

Yoga                 depends on     no                yes                 yes
                        the form of
                        yoga

Walking/             yes               no                no                   no
Jogging/
Running

Swimming           yes               no             partial                 no

Cycling              yes               no              partial                no

*Gym training focuses more on strength and cardio. Request your trainer to give you an exercise chart to include a fair amount of endurance and flexibility training too.

** Cardio in Bootcamp is done in the interval training style and may or may not be enough. It depends on the class design.

***Lifting heavy weights is not done regularly in an aerobics-tone class. Usually lighter weights are taken so add some strength training to your weekly workouts.


Image: Gym training focuses more on strength and cardio.
Photographs: Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

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