I think that we all know that working out is good for us. What we may not recognize is that the workouts that we are doing are shaping our bodies, and that if we have a goal in mind, whether that be aesthetic or athletic, our training should mimic that.
Weight loss is an energy exchange; therefore, if you are moving and expending more calories and putting your body in a calorie deficit, then you are going to lose weight. Therefore, any sort of movement is wonderful if you are looking for weight loss. However, you want to conserve your metabolism. In order to build lean muscle, you want to make sure that you are doing resistance training while also supplementing cardio. High intensity interval training is a wonderful type of cardio utilized to burn fat during and after workouts. While you are building lean muscle, you are keeping your metabolism high, burning calories after your workouts, and you are also shaping your body.
While workouts are wonderful for weight loss, there are some people who don't need workouts for weight loss purposes and just want to stay in shape. Some may have always dreamed of becoming a runner. If you want to run a 5K, and you have never run before then you could start with a couch to 5K program.
If you feel that you have moved passed that level, and want to try a half marathon then you should write out a schedule for this as well. Most running training programs are a period of 12 to 18 weeks long preparing you for that finish line on your race day. This is such an accomplishment for many people, but it’s important to recognize that this training would be much different than someone who is just looking for weight loss.
If you want to train for a marathon, then it is probably in your best interest to be at a weight that you are happy with because when you are training for an event that requires a lot of stress on your body. You don’t want to be cutting calories or carbs during this period of time, and it would benefit you more to do the above regimen of resistance training and HIIT cardio.
HIIT cardio is high intensity interval training where there are periods of intense workouts (example: burpees consistently for 5 minutes) then a period of a short rest then starting again.
CrossFit is another very popular form of exercise right now, and this is a wonderful combination of resistance training and HIIT cardio. Some do this for general weight loss while there are many that compete at a high level. If you want to maximize your strength and power, then this option is also probably not the best for weight loss.
Yoga and barre are another form of exercise that is wonderful for your flexibility and strength. If you want a lean, but toned look with maybe not as much muscle, then this might be the appropriate option for you. If you want to build your muscles, then it’s important to recognize that yoga is wonderful, but lifting weights might be something that benefits you in the long run for this specific goal.
If you have goals for athletic events then your training is going to be tough, and this might not be a great time to diet. You should be focused on your performance. If you are looking to lose weight and shape your body, then your training should be more focused on resistance training (whether that be free weightlifting or crossfit) and HIIT cardio.
Katie is a pharmacist from NC. She moved to New York City with her husband and two teacup yorkies for an adventure. After completing her doctorate in pharmacy last May, Katie decided to pursue nutrition coaching. Katie specializes in creating custom macronutrient profiles for clients based on their individual goals. You can find Katie on her blog Katiesfitscript.
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