Getting Started with an Exercise Program

HIIT training with medicine ball

When it comes to exercise, getting started is the hard part. It’s not usual to see people wandering around the gym without a clear goal in mind. If you work out randomly, you’re wasting your time. Just like everything else, exercise requires planning. You must know exactly what muscles you’ll be targeting, what exercises to do, and how many reps and sets you’re going to complete. Write everything down so you ca track your workouts more easily.

First of all, decide whether you want to build muscle or lose fat. Each goal requires a different approach. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t do both. To pack on muscle, your calorie intake needs to exceed your calorie expenditure. In other words, you must eat more calories than you burn.

Fat loss requires a calorie deficit, so it’s necessary to consume fewer calories than you burn. If your goal is to slim down, try to shed fat while preserving as much lean mass as possible. This is where strength training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) come in handy. Steady state cardio burns both muscle and fat, raises your cortisol levels, and causes fatigue, leading to catabolism (muscle loss).

Melting Fat With HITT And Full Body Workouts

To torch fat, use a mix of HIIT, strength training, and full body circuits. Weight lifting helps build and maintain muscle while increasing your metabolism. HIIT and tabata elevate your heart rate and burn calories. Full body circuits add variety to your routine and help you break through plateaus. These weight loss systems yield better results in a shorter time compared to steady state cardio. On top of that, they don’t cause muscle loss like cardio does. The key is to stick to your plan and hit the gym at least four times a week.

As far as strength training goes, you can either work one or two muscle groups at a time, or split your workouts into upper body and lower body sessions. Try hammering one major muscle group, such as your legs, shoulders, or back, with a small muscle group like your triceps, biceps, or calves. To build muscle or lose fat, stick to the 8-12 rep range for upper body and 12-15 reps for lower body. Complete three to five exercises for major muscle groups, and two or three exercises for smaller muscles. Use higher reps (over 15) to build endurance, and lower reps (under six) for strength gains. Aim for three to four sets per exercise.

Focus on compound exercises, such as the deadlift, lunge, squat, chest press, military press, chin-ups, and pull-ups. These movements build muscle size and strength, boost your metabolism, and stimulate the release of testosterone and growth hormone. If you’re a newbie, increase the number of reps as you progress. You might be not be able to complete a full set right from the start – and that’s perfectly fine. Right now, focus on building up your strength and endurance. Later, you can tweak your workouts and try more advanced techniques.

You might be wondering how much cardio you need. This depends on your goals. Believe it or not, cardio is not required for fat loss. Actually, there are better ways to drop those pesky pounds and get fit. A mix of strength training and HIIT combined with clean eating will do more for your body than any cardio routine. With these training methods, your metabolic rate will remain elevated for hours and even days due to the so-called afterburn effect. This means you’ll burn calories during AND after leaving the gym. Ideally, do HIIT after lifting weights when your glycogen stores are already depleted.




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