Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Are You 'Flying Blind' or Do You Have Direction?
Fitness education is the difference between spinning your wheels versus seeing real, tangible results. Not all nutrition plans are created equal, and neither are all workouts. Everyone wants to eat and workout in the right way but for many, diving headfirst into fitness education is daunting and a bit confusing. There is so much to know, so much to do and, of course, so much to not do. So, where do you start and who should you believe?
Setting Your Fitness Goals
For proper goal setting, you want to focus on behaviors instead of outcomes. Exercising 60-minutes per day, eat 1 cup of vegetables with each meal, eat lean protein with each meal, or sleeping 7-8 hours per night are all great examples of behavior goals. On the other hand, lose 50 pounds, fit into a size 0 jean, or look like a famous celebrity are all outcome goals you should avoid creating. To help you focus on behavior-based goals, a certified Personal Trainer is the perfect way to help you turn your behavior goal into a “SuPeRSMART” goal.
Achieving long-term health and fitness goals can be tough, but with SuPeRSMART goals you are much more likely to succeed.
Rather than leaving your goals vague and unachievable, SuPeRSMART goals require that you be specific about your what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, when do you want to achieve it by and how you are going to achieve it. There are several components for you to work through and consider while building your action plan with a Personal Trainer.
Understanding Weight Training
Whether you are brand new to weight training, have minimal experience, or have been strength training for several years, a Personal Trainer can provide you with the right fitness education. They will be focused on helping you improve and strengthen your knowledge and understanding the importance of incorporating weight training into your workout plan.
Benefits of Weight Training
Weight training is truly the gift that keeps on giving. For example, weight training increases your metabolism, lowers blood pressure, increases bone density, improves mood and reduces stress. Additionally, from a diet perspective, weight training is highly beneficial. Not only do the workouts burn a significant amount of calories, but you will increase your overall muscle mass which increases your caloric needs (AKA boosts your metabolism) allowing you to eat more calories during a maintenance phase. If you are skeptical about adding weight training into your workout plan because of reading or hearing negative things about lifting, this next section is for you.
Debunking Weight Training Myths for Women
Fitness education is incredibly important because there is a lot of inaccurate information out there, especially about exercises for women, that is purely based on myths instead of facts or scientific evidence. Here are just a few examples of these myths and why they are far from being true.
Myth 1: Women should not lift heavy weights.
This terrible myth has caused women to avoid adding resistance training into their workout regimen due to an irrational fear of becoming too muscular. The truth is that women produce much less testosterone compared to men and are not able to increase lean muscle mass in the same rate as men do. With that said, women should add 2-3 days of resistance training each week to increase lean muscle mass WITHOUT becoming too bulky.
Myth 2: Best way to burn fat is aerobic exercise every day.
Most traditional aerobic training uses the legs as the primary muscles that are being engaged. However, performing a full-body, strength-training circuit that includes the upper and lower body, will result in more calories being burned during a workout. Although aerobic training can be an effective way to burn calories, it often doesn’t provide enough stimulus to increase levels of lean muscle, which are metabolically more efficient because they burn calories even when the body is at rest.
Myth 3: You can get toned by doing high repetitions of lifting very light weights.
First of all, when people use the word “toned,” they ultimately mean muscle definition. And what do you need to build in order to achieve muscle definition? MUSCLE! Although light weights can be useful for improving the strength-endurance of muscle tissue, neither light weight nor aerobic endurance training is effective for stimulating the muscle fibers responsible for growth and definition. The most effective way to create muscle growth and definition is to use heavy weight or explosive movements.
What about cardio?
Cardio is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it has many benefits, including reducing the risk for developing heart disease, lowering cholesterol, reducing excess body weight and promoting good health. You may be wondering what kind, how long, and how often is recommended for you to be doing cardio. The answer is not that simple, and all depends on your personal goals and individual preferences. Hiring a certified Personal Trainer is the best option for you to receive tailored fitness education that will help you build a sustainable customized workout plan that you will actually enjoy doing.
Making Cardio Fun
Cardio is one of those things that people either love or hate. Thankfully, there is a wide selection of cardio options that you can explore to determine what will work best for you. Below are just a few examples to consider.
Join a cardio-based group fitness classes such as indoor cycling, Zumba, kickboxing, or interval training led by a certified instructor who coaches you throughout the workout. Classes are also a great way to meet people who also value fitness and have fun exercising together.
Plan ahead to spice up a boring cardio session by creating a fun playlist of your favorite upbeat songs or get caught up while listening to your favorite podcast. Focusing on listening to your favorite songs or shows will make your next cardio session more pleasant and will make the time fly by!
Ask a friend, spouse, family member, or even your pet to join you. Not only will this make your cardio more entertaining, but it is always rewarding to teach and encourage your loved one’s healthy habits.
LISS vs HIIT Training
You might be thinking what in the heck is LISS and HIIT? LISS, also known as Low Intensity Steady State, happens when you maintain a consistent speed, level of intensity and work rate during an exercise session. LISS activities include walking, hiking, jogging, or swimming at a moderate pace for 60-minutes. On the other hand, HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training, refers to alternating between low/moderate intensity exercises and high intensity ones that enable you to accomplish a lot more in a short time period. For example, you could do a 30-second walk, followed by a 30 second sprint and then repeat 8-10 times.
Now the million-dollar question, should you be doing low, moderate, or high intensity training?
Which is Better for You?
Rather than putting your fitness goals at risk by taking advice from someone who is non-certified, invest to work with a Personal Trainer who will provide you with the most relevant fitness education and discuss the features, advantages, and disadvantages of both HIIT and LISS. There is a large body of research validating each mode as an effective form of exercise; however, it is in your best interest to have a Personal Trainer help you to determine which method is best suited for you to achieve your individual fitness goals.
Like anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages associated with both styles of cardio. The next section provides a brief overview of the pros and cons that need to be considered regarding LISS and HIIT workouts.
LISS Pros vs Cons
Enhances ability to use fat as an efficient fuel source.
Requires lower levels of physiological stress, which could help you to clear your mind and change your mood.
Simply because you like it. If you enjoy going out for long runs or training for long-distance endurance events, then there is no reason to change your workout habits as long as they align with your fitness goals.
May require lengthy exercise sessions, which can be challenging for a busy lifestyle.
Extended periods of exercise can increase the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
May find it difficult to maintain the focus needed to train at a constant work rate for an extended period of time.
HIIT Pros vs Cons
If you have a busy and irregular schedule, HIIT limits your training time to 30-minutes or less, making it extremely effective for producing results in a limited amount of time.
May help you burn more calories in a shorter period of time, which is highly effective for weight loss.
Simply because you like it. The best exercise is always the one you enjoy doing and will do on a consistent basis.
Not suitable for every individual because of its intensity that requires a basic level of fitness.
May increase the risk of a muscle strain and muscle tissue damage.
Requires more recovery time.
Regardless if you decide to add LISS or HIIT into your fitness plan, it is essential that you are properly educated by a certified Personal Training to ensure you understand the why, how, and what in designing your specific workout program. Obtaining this knowledge will help keep you motivated, learn diverse exercises, and develop a holistic understanding of your results.
The bottom line is that proper fitness education from a certified Personal Trainer is what will ultimately lead you to successfully reaching your goals. Sure, it may seem like a good idea to follow the workout routines recommended in posts by social media influencers or purchase a basic workout plan online, but how confident are you that this was developed from science-based knowledge and is exactly what you need to achieve your specific fitness goals? It’s simple, if you don’t feel confident then don’t risk wasting your time and money. Invest in a certified Personal Trainer who will build a tailored plan while prioritizing sharing science-based education with you throughout the coaching process to help you develop consistency towards living a healthier lifestyle.