This fitness routine is used to lose weight, build muscle, train for athletics, and to improve overall fitness. I find that the best way to continuously ensure a great work out is to vary the exercises; and that is exactly what I do.
Overall, I train because I am an athlete, but this routine can work for anyone. The following steps are what I do in a daily work out:
- I always begin with at least 15 minutes of cardio. This gets your heart rate up and begins fat burning. It also warms you up for other exercises. I like to jog or use an elliptical, but jump roping, biking, or swimming can be just as efficient. It all depends on what resources you have available.
- Stretch and warm up joints. This can be done through simple static stretching and rotating of joints. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds. Start with little circular movements in your wrists, ankles, and neck, then move to bigger movements with your arms and hips. Rotate each direction 10 times.
- I try to lift weights 3 days a week. Sometimes it is difficult when I don’t have access to a gym, so there are other steps I take to gain a similar work out. Modifying every day exercises like squats or pushups can simulate weight lifting. One of my favorites is the modified squat. Instead of a quick 1-second-down, 1-second-up movement, take 4 seconds to lower yourself into a squat position, hold it for 4 seconds, and take 4 seconds to move back up. The same can be done for pushups, calf raises, and almost any of exercise you can think of. Do the same number of reps you would for lifting weights; I usually do 3 sets of 10.
- If I do not lift weights, I usually do a cardio work out. This can be a long run (30 minutes or more), a tempo run (~30 minutes, with alternating paces every 2 minutes), or a sprint work out (running as fast as you can on flat ground or up hills for short distances). If I choose a sprint work out, it is usually somewhere around 100 meters, which I run almost as fast as I can, and take about a 1 minute break in between reps. I usually do about 8 of those.
- I always “cool-down” after a work out. I do an easy 5 minute jog and some light stretching, and make sure to ice any part of my body that hurts.
If I am unable to do these work outs, I do what is called a “card work out.” This is exactly what it sounds like, a work out with a deck of cards. Each suite represents a different exercise (EX- Hearts are pushups), and each number represents the number of repetitions of that exercise (Ace=14). You can choose any exercises you want, that’s the fun part about this one! Just go through the deck of cards one-by-one, and before you know it, you’ll be finished with the work out and feeling tired. This one is nice because it is a quick, intense workout, so if you are short on time this fits great into a busy schedule.
I try to work out 5 times per week. It is always important to take a day off and to not lift 3 days in a row. Working out the same part of your body multiple days in a row can actually do more harm than good!