When it comes to our fitness, or should I say our lack of fitness, most of us eventually reach a point when we say enough is enough, something has got to change! This turning point may come as a result of a frightening warning from the doctor, a belt that reaches its last notch, or even a friend innocently exclaiming, “I didn’t know you were pregnant!”
Regardless of the stimulus, it’s the same tools that will help each of us take our fitness from pathetic to peak performance. These tools are actually a fitness system that when implemented and manipulated properly will get results much more quickly than using any of the tools independently. Let me reword this statement for emphasis. Applied diligently and passionately, using the full array of fitness tools will deliver awesome results that will positively put a smile on your face!
By now I’m sure your wondering what type of easy, quick-fix gimmick that I’m trying to promote. Well, yes, this is a relatively quick fix when fully implemented, but it’s no gimmick and it’s definitely not easy. In fact, the faster you want the results to come, the greater the required effort will be. This scientifically proven system consists of a combination of good nutrition, strength training, cardiovascular training, personal assistance, and quality supplementation. When combined in a structured program, these five tools work synergistically to deliver great fitness results.
Following a healthy meal plan is the first, and possibly the most important tool. Eating several small meals per day rather than one or two larger meals is recommended. If you’re trying to lose weight, it is imperative that you pay strict attention to portion sizes by weighing and measuring everything that you consume. Planning ahead for each meal and keeping a daily diet log will pay huge dividends!
Strength training, the second tool, will help you gain strength and muscle size, look lean and toned, and feel more confident and energetic. If you’re trying to lose weight, it will help prevent the loss of precious muscle while assisting in fat loss. For those seeking the buff look, lifting medium-heavy weights in the 8-12 rep range is the key. In order to gain strength and muscularity quickly, strength training should be done at least three days per week.
Cardiovascular training is continuous, rhythmic exercise such as walking, jogging, and cycling which increases the health and function of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Cardiovascular (also called aerobic) exercise will increase endurance, energy, and mental well-being as well as burn calories and help reduce excess body fat. In addition, cardiovascular exercise can help control blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, resulting in reduced risk of heart disease and dangerous conditions that could lead to a heart attack.
Typically cardiovascular programs begin with three 20-minute workouts per week at light-medium intensity, and progress by gradually increasing the length of the workouts, the number of workouts per week, and/or the intensity of the workouts. Those doing aerobic exercise for weight-loss purposes will typically do four to six sessions per week for 30 to 60 minutes per workout. Varying the type of aerobic exercise is recommended in order to keep your program interesting and prevent your body from adapting to one type of exercise.
The forth tool in the fitness toolbox is personal assistance. This may come in the form of a spouse (usually not recommended), a workout partner, a personal trainer, a weight-loss program, a physician, a fitness book, or even an exercise/eating program downloaded from the internet. Enlist the help of a friend and/or health and fitness professional who can help you design an individualized goal-specific fitness program, and who will keep you accountable to stay on track when things get tough.
The final tool is supplementation. There are literally thousands of supplements designed for virtually every physiological purpose. The typical American diet, even a health-conscious one, can lack ingredients important to sustaining and improving health and fitness. Supplements make up for the inadequacies in our diets, simplify healthy eating through the use of shakes and bars, aid in achieving our fitness goals, and reduce the time needed to reach those goals. I suggest you begin with a quality multivitamin and a calcium supplement, and base any additional supplementation on the quality and composition of your diet, your fitness goals and your dietitian’s recommendations.
Well, there you have it, the fitness toolkit. It’s a five-component fitness system scientifically proven to work! Just as your mechanic would never repair your car using only a screwdriver, neither should you attempt to reach peak performance using only one fitness tool. Set your goals, seek necessary help, strategize your nutrition and exercise plan, and go for it! You’ll like the results, I guarantee it.
From Enjoy Magazine. Republished with permission.
Joe Adamson, MA, CSCS is a 16-year personal trainer and owner of Adamson’s Peak Performance, a fitness training center which specializes in individual and small group personal training, sports strength and conditioning, and nutrition/weight loss services. He can be contacted at 221-8006. For more information: adamsonspeakperformance.com.