The struggle of creating a healthy work out routine is real- while all the key elements are right there in front of you, it’s often difficult to know where to start!
BREAKDOWN OF MUSCLE GROUPS AND EXERCISES:
Here’s a breakdown of some of your major muscle groups and the corresponding exercises that are recommended for a healthy work out for your entire body.
Legs: The main exercises that are going to work your legs out are lunges, jumping squats, squats, box jumps and calf raises. This will work muscles such as your quads, calves and thighs.
Butt and Hamstrings: Get buns of steel and great vertical combined with your leg workout, by doing hip raises/thrusts, dead lifts, step ups. Also some quality time on a Stairmaster never hurt anyone!
Push Muscles: work out your chest, triceps and shoulders with exercises such as the bench press, push-ups, tricep dips or curls, incline press, and overhead press.
Pull Muscles: Win the tug of war by working on your biceps, forearms, and back with chin ups, pull ups, and many versions of rowing.
Abs and Lower Back: work your core by doing variations of planks and side planks, hanging leg raises, BOSU ball crunches, mountain climbers, and oblique resistance techniques.
WHAT IS A HEALTHY WORK OUT?
It is highly recommended to incorporate 5 major fitness categories into your workout routine:
- Stretch – both before and after your workout, stretching is such an important aspect to maintain every single time. It will help to reduce soreness, and increase flexibility, which are both key factors in reducing chances of injury.
- A Healthy Diet– this is going to make the biggest difference in any healthy work out routine you come up with, as it all lends to giving your body the fuel you need to sustain your new fitness activities.
- Core Strengthening – a strong core is not just vital in making sure that you aren’t injuring yourself while doing other exercises, but it also helps with balance, and back issues. Plus that 6 pack doesn’t hurt either. Your core is made up of your pelvis, lower back, and abdomen. The best way to work your core is any exercise that uses the trunk of your body with no support. A great example of this is a plank – you are supporting the entire weight of your body through your core.
- Aerobic Fitness – it’s important to get your heart rate up, in order to maximize the amount of oxygen in your blood. Exercises such as running, sprinting, hiking, skipping, dancing all help your lungs and heart to move oxygen through your body more efficiently.
- Strength Training – is essential in helping you continue to burn fat post-workout, but helping to build bone and muscle fitness.
The biggest mistake most people make is doing too much, too soon, or setting really unrealistic goals for themselves. It’s recommended to look at your lifestyle, and figure out how you can incorporate a healthy work out into it. You can decide if this workout needs to happen on your lunch break, when you wake up in the morning, or at some point post-work, but schedule it in! Make sure you are making the time for a healthy work out.
WHAT EXERCISES MAKE UP A HEALTHY WORK OUT ROUTINE?
To avoid boredom and repetition, I would select one exercise from each of the major muscle groups (legs/hamstrings/arms/chest/core) and then switch it up regularly, whether that be Mon/Wed/Fri doing one set of exercises, and Tues/Thurs with another set, or one week doing on group, and swapping it the next week, for 4 weeks.
Again, the suggestions for this:
Legs: The main exercises that are going to work your legs out are lunges, jumping squats, squats, box jumps and calf raises.
Butt and Hamstrings: hip raises/thrusts, dead lifts, step ups. Also some quality time on a Stairmaster never hurt anyone!
Pull Muscles: chin ups, pull ups, and many versions of rowing.
Abs and Lower Back: planks and side planks, hanging leg raises, BOSU ball crunches, mountain climbers, and oblique resistance techniques.
HOW MUCH DO I DO FOR A HEALTHY WORK OUT?
The number of repetitions (doing the exact same thing repeatedly, for example, doing 5 push ups would be 5 reps) you would do, or the weight you would use, will vary depending on what you would like the outcome of your healthy work out to be.
Generally speaking, lifting heavy weights in repetitions under 5 build extremely dense muscle and strength. Anything over 5 reps but under 12 will build both muscular endurance and strength, and of course, any reps over that range will increase muscular endurance, as well as increase size (for women, size is generally tone).
When initially working out, we recommend doing lighter weights with less sets to see what you are capable of, and to avoid injury. A set is how many of the same exercise you do, over time. For example, if you did 5 push ups, then took a short break, and then did 5 more, you would have done 2 sets of 5 reps. You can then increase the weight and then sets or both over time to continue challenging yourself. Please keep in mind that just because you do 15 reps of a particular exercise doesn’t mean you need to do 15 of everything. Just write down or keep track in your phone of how many you are doing of which exercise for consistency, and so you can see your progress!
The general guideline most personal trainers use is that reps should be around 10-20 and sets should remain between 3-5. Any more than that and you just aren’t being as efficient as you can be, or challenging yourself enough.
- Pick your exercises for the day/week for each muscle group and keep it changing to add disruption to the workout and get rid of the boredom factor for you!
- Keep your work outs efficient, and keep track of what you do
- Celebrate your successes.