Do Your Part and Train Smart

It is no news that our overall wellbeing (expressed- among other forms- by a fit physique) is the product of a complex interplay of factors ranging from environmental pollution and stress levels, to exercise and metabolism rate. Understandably, some factors lay beyond our control. The good news, however, is that we have control over A LOT of things; one of which is most certainly exercise.

Just like the quality is equally important to the quantity of calories we take in (remember: not all calories are created equal!), well – guess what? It is just the same with workout. It is important to know the different types of workouts and the purpose each serve to get the best results possible in the optimal amount of time. Below are four major exercise categories to alternate in your weekly workout routine.

1. Strength/Resistance – Often also referred to as weight lifting, weight training or just “weights”, it is designed to improve the capability of our muscles and bones. It is a myth, therefore, that this type of exercise is only suited for men (we all could use a healthy bone and skeletal structure after all). While Cardio alone will make you look like a smaller/slimmer version of your former self, adding resistance will let you rock that swimwear. On top of improving muscle strength, bone density, posture and shape, strength training revs up your metabolism as muscles burn more calories than fat at a resting pace.

2. Flexibility – originating from the word “flex” (the act of bending and contracting a muscle), this type of exercise aims at improving your joints’ and muscles’ range of motion – therewith improving circulation and posture as well as relieving muscle tension. Stretching and some Yoga exercises are examples of flexibility workouts.

3. Endurance/Stamina – Also known as cardiovascular training or simply “Cardio”, this kind of workout is a key component in losing weight. It also increases your cardiovascular efficiency. That is, with the same amount of oxygen inhaled, your body will be able to do more – once at a time, of course. You will be able to run without running out of breath so soon, hence the term “endurance”.

4. Balance/Coordination – Often forgotten or neglected, exercises that help improve balance and coordination are often practiced in Yoga classes (how often have we heard of working that “stabilizing muscle” when maintaining a one-leg stand?) and in some dance classes, coordinating body movement to different tempos or beats, for instance Ensuring you get enough of all those workouts, therefore, is the smartest, safest and most efficient way to get the body that you want and you deserve.

I have always been a believer in hard work, but the results I have seen (from personal experience as well as observing others) that you get from circuit training (a mixture of at least three of the above) are reason enough to start shifting my – and hopefully your- training paradigm: from hard to simply smart.