Muscle Soreness

When you use your quadriceps, your muscles will get the sorest, since it is the largest muscle group in your body. Whenever you use that muscle in a different capacity than you’re used to, you’ll experience some kind of soreness. However, once you do that exercise anywhere from 3-6 times, your body will adapt and you’ll find that the soreness does not continue when you’re exercising in that way.

Variety in Your Workouts

There a lot of really great reasons to switch up your workout routines. One reason is so that you don’t get bored. When you’re repeatedly doing the same thing, it becomes almost a habit and doesn’t keep your mind’s attention as well as a new workout would. It also keeps you from doing a routine out of habit, which can lead to inattention and potentially even an injury. Varying your workouts also allows you to use the muscles in a different capacity. For instance, there are 3 muscles in your triceps and 2 muscles in your biceps. Each workout is going to touch those areas differently. It’s also good to get used to variety in case your needs change or you have an injury. If you’re used to constantly changing up your workout, it will be easier to transition to a new style of working out that suits your needs.

Working with a Trainer vs. Group Classes

A trainer can pinpoint exactly what you need to be doing to get your body in the shape you want it. They can tailor exercises to suit your body, which is a major plus. They’ll also help you discover what kinds of exercise you enjoy doing, so that you can do your workout on your own and still have the motivation to do so. Group classes, on the other hand, are really great because you have the camaraderie of other people who are doing the same workout you are, no matter how grueling it might get. They’re also on a regular schedule, so if your schedule changes, you can catch a class earlier or later in the day, or even the next day. Working out with a trainer or working out in a group class both provide amazing physical benefits and will get you the body you want. Which one you choose is really up to your preference. Some people enjoy the companionship of others in their classes and some people enjoy working one-on-one.

How Often?

The minimum you should exercise is 20-30 minutes, 3 days a week. Of course, you can always shoot for higher. Gradually work your way up to longer workouts and more frequency, but don’t push yourself. Always keep in mind what your body is capable of doing. You know your body better than any professional out there. The incredible thing about exercise is that the more you do it, the more you want to do it. Especially if you’re finding new exercises that you enjoy doing.

Cardio vs. Weight-Bearing

A lot of women focus on cardio and a lot of men focus on weight-bearing activities, have you noticed that? If you really want to get fit, you need to do both. Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart rate up. You should be able to talk to someone else, but not really hold an entire conversation. This can be anything from bicycling to kickboxing. Weight-bearing activities are any kind of exercise where you’re using the muscles in your body. We typically think of this as weight-lifting, but even walking can be a weight-bearing exercise if you consider that you’re not sitting or lying down. Be sure to fit in both kinds of exercise each week.

Stretching

There has been a lot of hype and confusion about stretching, kind of like the newest diet fads. Stretching is really important and here’s what you need to know about it: you only really need to stretch at the end of a workout, during your cool down. Before working out, though, you need to warm up. You can do this by doing sidesteps, marching in place, and circling your arms. This loosens up the muscles and gets them ready to go. If you don’t warm up before a workout, you can risk pulling or straining a muscle.

The Best Type of Exercise

Here’s my biggest secret: the best kind of exercise you can do, is one you enjoy doing. That’s it. If you like doing it, it won’t seem like a chore, which means you’ll do it more often and for longer periods of time.

Food and Exercise

Food is really up to the individual. The best way to find out what to eat to get your body in shape is to work with a nutritionist or a health coach. They can help you figure out which foods are best for your body, since there is no blanket, one-size-fits-all diet. Even protein intake isn’t the same for everyone. It really just depends on your body type. In terms of eating before and after workouts, you want to make sure that you do eat something before you work out, especially if it’s in the morning. You don’t want to eat a huge meal that’s going to make you feel uncomfortable when you’re working out, but you do want to have some kind of sustenance in your stomach.

When You’re New to Working Out

The biggest complaint trainers hear from newbies is that they’re hungry. Now that you’re working out more and you’re burning more calories, your body needs more nutrition. That doesn’t mean that after every workout you need to go polish off a bag of potato chips. It just means that you need to find healthy snacks that will keep you nourished and satisfied, like a handful of almonds or string cheese.

Water

A standard measure for the amount of water you need is to drink half of your body weight in ounces every day. Of course, this also depends on the individual. If you’re working out more, you need more water. If it’s hot out and you’re sweating a lot, drink up. If it’s dry outside and it’s drying out your skin, you need to drink more. The best way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is to look at the color of your urine. It should be a pale yellow or even clear; darker than that and you’re dehydrated. You can also hop on a scale before and after a workout. Any difference in weight will be because of water. For every pound, drink a cup of water.