Do you know what type of “fit” you are?
No, I am not talking about your clothing fit – but rather the type of fitness you are training towards. You may be able to squat your own body weight, but can you run a short 5km race?
Perhaps you choose to engage in less cardio workouts and more weight training, because your fitness goals are based on bulking up?
Most people who train have a goal based on what they want to achieve, i.e.: reach a certain weight, run a 21k, lift 1.5 times their body weight or improve their flexibility and agility.
Each goal will require a different approach to the fitness plan that they employ. For example; a tennis player or triathlete would require muscular strength – but not to the extent that it influences his/her movement and agility. Thus muscular endurance would be the main focus within their training regime.
So what’s the difference between muscle strength and muscle endurance?
Muscle strength is built on the ability of the muscle to exert energy (force) for a short time period – such as dead lifts, weighted squats or bench presses; while muscle endurance focuses on the ability of the muscle to sustain a continuous activity for a longer period of time with lower weight constraints – such as running, cycling or swimming.
Therefore, instead of avoiding one or the other – adjust your training routine based on what you are trying to achieve, ensuring to include each in a percentage that is most appropriate to meet your goals.
Both strength and endurance are important in conducting even basic daily tasks, such as moving heavy furniture, mowing the lawn or carrying a couple of heavy packets from your car.
For a fitness newbie who is looking to just get into shape, consider the following general guide to healthy fitness vs a sedentary lifestyle:
- Aerobic/cardio exercises –
An adult should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (55 – 69% of max HR), or 75 minutes of intense exercise (70% + of max HR) per week, which can be switched up between moderate & intense. If you break this down, it only comes to 21.43 minutes per day – which is really achievable! You can also choose to increase the length of the session and reduce the number of days to meet this goal.
- Strength training –
Ensure to include 2 days of strength training exercises, focusing on each muscle group. This can be done with either weights or resistance bands. I focus on including one day weights and the next session resistance bands.
Hopefully; using this as a guide, you can now gear your sessions towards your goals ensuring to mix up your training so as to avoid the plateau effect – when your body becomes used to a common routine and your efforts become ineffective.
Are you unsure about how to set goals for what you want to achieve? Have a look at my post “How to make that good habit stick!”, in which I go through the concept of SMART Goals for success.