Your Training Program!

August 3rd, 2017 by Liz

Balance Your Training Program with our Formula!

Strength + Cardio + Active Recovery = OPTIMAL FITNESS

A lot of you have asked me what the ‘ideal’ training schedule looks like. Because we all have different likes and dislikes, body types and goals, it’s nearly impossible to answer this question in a broad sense. So, I’m going to base my answer around what most experts currently recommend for optimal fitness. My goal is simply to provide you with good information so that you can decide what is truly best for you and your body.

One thing that I do believe is true for everyone is that optimal fitness is best achieved through balance, and the most efficient way to do that is with a training schedule that includes three main components: Strength, Cardio, and Active Recovery. Each of these components is important on it’s own, but a well-balanced ratio of all three is ideal. Here’s a breakdown for you.

The ratio of Strength, Cardio, and Active Recovery that will work best for you depends on your specific goals. That said if optimal fitness is what we're after, many health and fitness experts have seen tremendous success with, and recommend a ratio of 3:2:1, that’s 3 strength, 2 cardio, 1 active recovery sessions per week. As a side note, this is the training ratio that I find works the best for me. Notice that strength dominates in this plan. This is for two main reasons, 1) when we lift heavy weight our heart rate goes up enough to count as cardio, and 2) although we burn more calories DURING a cardio session, we burn more TOTAL calories with strength training because of the energy it takes for muscles to repair from the damage- meaning the caloric burn lasts for hours.

If this is true, do we need dedicated cardio days? Most fitness experts agree that we can improve our fitness without dedicated cardio sessions as long as we're getting it in with our strength, however we're much more likely to have lasting success with 2 days of cardio. There is one main reason for this- consistency! Our bodies are meant to move everyday, but we can’t possibly lift weights every day without completely burning out. And-would we even want to if we could? Mixing cardio workouts into our training schedule provides fun and variety, plus it can be therapeutic. Ultimately cardio days allow us to take days off in between our strength sessions while providing a workout to remain committed to. In other words it’s good-habit forming.

Active Recovery:
Our Active Recovery days should include flexibility training, but we can also include balance and foam rolling. The idea is to choose activities that promote muscle lengthening, increase range of motion, and improve tissue mobility. For us Bendites that love getting outdoors- an easy hike or light bike ride may also count as active recovery, just as long as the intensity is very low (on the contrary- med/hard effort sports would count towards strength or cardio depending on the activity).

It’s also a good idea to include some amount of stretching and balance into our Strength and Cardio sessions in addition to our Active Recovery days.

Complete Rest:
Last but certainly not least is Complete Rest! It’s IMPERITIVE for anyone working out more than 3 days a week to include one day of complete rest! This allows the body to repair and rebuild, and with out that we will most likely burn out or worse- get injured.

Please keep in mind that while a structured plan is a very efficient way to achieve our fitness goals, part of finding balance is being kind to ourselves. If we miss a workout now and again we shouldn't beat ourselves up! I promise you, as long as we get right back on track- we WILL NOT be set back. And for anyone new to fitness the MOST important thing is to simply get moving!

*The 3:2:1 ratio is not appropriate for every individual, and may not be the right fit for you. Schedule a strategy session with your personal trainer or health provider for personalized recommendations.

In Strength,
Lizzy Sawyer, NASM CPT, FNS, WLS
Thin Lizzy Athletics
Bend, Oregon

Move. Sweat. Sculpt.

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