When it comes to fitness, there is no shortage of information, but many of us let “information overload” paralyze us from getting started. In this podcast episode, I share the 3 components of fitness that you can use to create an awesome fat loss routine that will give you the most bang for your buck.
Before we begin, remember that working out is only a small part of fat loss. The biggest physiological changes will come from decreasing stress, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy. If you’ve mastered consistency with your nutrition and sleep, it might be time to focus on adding an exercise routine to your week.
Here are the 3 basics for a fat loss fitness routine…
A compound exercise is a movement that incorporates more than one muscle group. If you’re like me, you want to use your time in the gym wisely. Compound exercises allow us to get more done in less time.
Here are some examples of exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time…
- Kettlebell swings
- Squat to shoulder press
- Lunges with a lateral raise
- Arnold Press
- Jump roping
- Triangle push ups
Exercises such as crunches, calf raises, and bicep curls are not compound movements. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid them (any exercise is better than no exercise), but if you’re short on time, these exercises are low priority.
High intensity exercise is defined as working at a level that equal to or greater than 70% of your maximum heart rate. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you can judge your level of intensity by using the rate of perceived exertion scale. Rate how hard you’re working based on a scale of 1-10. One means you’re resting. Ten means you are working so hard that you feel like you’re going to throw up. You should aim to stay between a 7-9 for the optimal level of intensity.
You know you’re working out intensely if you can’t sustain a particular exercise for a long time. Intensity might consist of getting your heart rate up for short durations (high intensity interval training, Tabata, or sprints), or it might entail using heavy weights to achieve muscle fatigue. An example of an exercise program that has both compound movements and intensity would be “Insanity.”
Remember, intensity is going to look different for everyone depending on your fitness level. If you’re new to exercise, body weight squats might feel really intense; while a seasoned athlete might feel like they are simple.
To get stronger, you have to spend time under tension. Increase tension by choosing a level of weight that challenges you, but still allows you to practice good form. Another way to increase tension: go slower with the movement & hold the contraction. For example, you are going to experience more time under tension if you come down slowly from a pull up than if you just speed through the motion. Another example: In my favorite class at the gym (Body Pump), we do pulses at the bottom of our squats to spend more time under tension, rather than doing singles the whole time.
How to implement
Now, you have a simple idea of what a fat loss workout routine should include. Other fitness components like balance and flexibility are also important, but we will save those for another blog or podcast epsiode. You don’t have to include ALL three fat loss fitness components (compound exercises, intensity, and tension) in one workout, but it’s great if you can incorporate all 3 over the timespan of one week. Your homework is to comment below which fitness component you’re going to incorporate in today’s workout & how you will make it happen! If you struggle with sticking to your fitness plan, sign up for my free habits guide to learn 30 proven behavioral change strategies.
Want to talk about personalizing a fitness program for your needs? Email me at email@example.com.