Components of a Good Fitness Program
Whether you are designing a fitness program yourself, or have a trainer doing the nitty gritty, there are certain components that separate a good fitness program from a complete fitness flop.
A good fitness program should consist of three basic components:
- Strength training,
- Cardiovascular training, and
- Flexibility training
It doesn’t matter whether you are male or a female, fat or thin, supple or stiff, these three components are what make up a really good, really effective fitness program.
If you do not want to get strong, don’t let the title of this type of training scare you away. Strength training does not necessarily mean lifting big, heavy weights. Nor does it mean you will get anywhere near Arnold Schwartzenegger’s bodybuilder physique. Training for strength simply means using free weights and resistance machines to help you target and tone your muscles.
Strength training has a world of benefits, including stronger bones and improved cardiac function. Strength training can also help you shed some kilos. How, you may ask? Basically, muscle is active and requires energy (calories) to function correctly, which means that it will burn off calories when you are working it.
Cardiovascular training is a component that is often neglected, especially by strength conscious athletes. Cardiovascular training is basically the type of training you are doing when running on the treadmill or spinning on the stationary bike. This type of training helps you to shed unwanted fat and works primarily on getting your heart pumping, the most important muscle of all.
Last but not least, is flexibility training, another component that is often overlooked. A lot of people don’t realize the importance of flexibility in life and general health. By improving your flexibility, you can increase the physical performance of your body, help to ease off joints, increase your muscular range of motion, reduce the risk of injury, reduce muscle soreness post exercise and even improve your posture.
Putting it all together
Start your workout off with a 10 to 15 minute cardiovascular workout to get your heart pumping and muscles warmed up. Then go into 40 to 50 minutes strength training session, either focusing on one muscle group (bodybuilders), two or three muscle groups (general) or overall conditioning (circuit) and end off your workout with a 5 to 10 minute stretch. This type of workout should take you approximately 1 – 1 ¼ hours to complete and combines all the basic principals of an effective program.
Alternatively you can fine-tune this program by having one day of strength training, and alternating every other day with cardio and flexibility training sessions.
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