Exercise has 2 main components:
- Improve and strengthen the muscles of the body.
- We do this by lifting a weight or by lifting our own body. Squats, lunges, push-ups, bicep curls, ab crunches etc. This is commonly referred to as Resistance training. I believe that the average person should train the muscles of the body 2 – 3 times per week, with at least 1 day in between where the muscles get a rest.
- Improve and strengthen the muscles of the heart and lungs.
- We do this by huffing and puffing exercises such as running, skipping, swimming, skipping etc. This is commonly referred to as Cardiovascular training. I believe that we should train the heart and lungs (huff and puff) 3 – 5 times per week. In each session we should include at least 5 – 6 periods (of about a minute) training out of your comfort zone (really huffing and puffing)
A lot of people cover these 2 aspects of fitness in separate sessions.
- ie – They train the heart and lungs with a run or on “cardio” equipment.
- They train the muscles with a slow and controlled weights session.
If this is your preferred way to train, then you would need to train 5 or 6 days per week to cover all your minimums.
However, the method that I prefer combines the 2 aspects of fitness into one training session.
That way you only need 3 short effective sessions per week to cover all your bases. Perfect for busy people.
You can combine the two aspects of fitness with circuit training, that includes separate stations of resistance training (all muscle groups) and cardio training.
Or add plyometrics (jumping) which overloads the muscles AND gets you huffing and puffing. And just generally add intensity and minimal rest to your usual resistance training session.
You can follow the video exercise lessons provided, or you can attend a face to face fitness session if you need the extra motivation and accountability. Just make sure that the sessions you attend cover both aspects of fitness.
The below video lesson may be helpful in thinking about the 2 aspects of fitness and the difference between working on losing fat and keeping muscle.