Most people have their favorite workouts. Women tend to stick to a cardio workout, and men tend to stick to weight training. Some people love Yoga and others love swimming. Whatever you do, as long as you move your body, you are benefiting your body and your brain. Even your offspring two generations down will get benefits from your workout!
However, more and more people are doing cross fitness training, which involves several different types of workouts such as resistance training, sprint training, and cardio workout. Since you will use many different functions of your body, you can harvest many health benefits in a short time. Now, a scientist at Skidmore College has provided more supporting evidence for this type of workout.
The researcher divided people into three groups; people without any exercises, people with a single type of exercise (e.g. weight training), and people with multi-dimensional training (resistance training, cardio workout, interval training, and yoga). The second and the third groups worked out about the same amount of time per week. After 16 weeks, the researcher found that the third group improved their health indicators the most and lost far more weight than the second group.
Although people do different types of cross fitness training, the idea behind it is always the same: doing various types of workouts intensely in a short time is much better than moderate but long single-type exercises.
So what should you do as a beginner fitness buff? If you are already working out regularly, but you have not seen the results you want, I recommend joining a gym which offers cross fitness training classes. If you don’t have time to go to a gym, you can buy a DVD, download a video, or find a free YouTube cross fitness channel and follow the programs.
If you have not done many exercises, you should avoid the cross fitness trainings at first, since they include moderately dangerous movements and people frequently get hurt from the exercises (especially those who are not under a fitness trainer’s supervision).
Let’s assume that you will workout four times a week 30 minutes each; two days for resistance training and a sprint workout, one day for endurance training, and one day for yoga/stretching.
For the resistance training day, spend the first five minutes warming up the body with a fast walk, jumping jacks, or whatever you like. Then do resistance training for 15 to 20 minutes with a minimal rest between the sets. Then do three minutes of Tabata workout and use the rest for a cool down.
For the endurance day, you want to spend the entire 30 minutes doing cardio workout. Spend the first 5 minutes at an easy pace and the last 5 minutes doing a cool down. The middle 20 minutes are for a real cardio workout. If you like to walk, do a fast walk. You really need to push to bring up your heart rate during the middle 20 minutes. Toward the end of the 20 minutes, you want to bring up your heart rate to 70% of the maximum heart rate. If you can keep your heart rate that high for the entire 20 minutes, that is great, too, but as a beginner, start easy. If you can run, you can do a jog-and-fast-walk cardio combo workout. If you have a stationary bike, that’s great; so is swimming.
For yoga/stretch day, well, you do yoga or stretch for 30 minutes. You may want to spend the first 5 to 10 minutes with the foam roller to loosen up you muscles. Again, you can find so many free YouTube videos, and you can buy DVDs or download videos, too.
The point is that the high-quality short workout is far better than the other quality of workout. When you create your own workout schedule, think the quality of workout, not quantity.
Side note: the same study described above said that high-quality protein meal induced weight loss. The researcher gave 60 grams of whey protein to every subject. Even the sedentary people lost weight after 16 weeks. Although the general recommendation for calories from protein sources is about 20%, the researcher found that as much as 35% of calories can be taken from protein.
Although I don’t recommend to just add whey protein to your diet, as we know high animal protein may increase the risk of the cardio vascular diseases, you could take some whey protein with bean, tofu, and other vegetable proteins to increase the amount of the protein in your diet. As a beginner, however, it is probably safe to stick to a standard recommendation.
Timed-daily Ingestion of Whey Protein and Exercise Training Reduces Visceral Adipose Tissue Mass and Improves Insulin Resistance: The PRISE Study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2014
Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2014