Tag Archives: Muscle toning

How to Tailor Your Workouts to Meet Your Goals

If you visited last Friday, you read my top fitness recommendations for 2012. And hopefully they inspired you to get moving this week. But ultimately the question becomes, “What is your goal?”

If you’re trying to lose weight versus maintain weight, your fitness regimen will need to look a little different. You’ll need to start at a more intense level. So let’s break down the two scenarios.

If you’re trying to lose weight:

In simple terms, you’ll want to exercise more than you are now. But what’s the ideal? The ideal is exercising 5-7 times per week, with a balance of strength training and cardio. Strength training should be at least 48 hours apart (to let your muscles recoup), and the cardio can be any day of the week.

Now I know you’re thinking, “What?! Do you know how busy I am?! That’s not possible!”

I’m living proof that it is. If I can fit in a rigid exercise schedule with two little ones and a full calendar, anyone can. Here’s another living example…

Keli Gwyn shared the perfect regimen in her comment last week. She does circuit training three days a week and walks the other four days a week. If you’re intent on losing weight (or in Keli’s case, battling a medical condition like osteoporosis), you’ll need to commit to something every day. And the more intense the cardio, the better. Not to mention watching your calorie intake, but that’s another post for another day. 🙂

So what do you do if you can’t commit to seven days a week? I’d challenge you to aim for five and make them really count. A boot camp class can kickstart the calorie burn by combining cardio and strength. Zumba is a high-intensity cardio workout that will burn more calories than walking. Understand your time limitations and make the most of the time you do have.

If you want to maintain your weight:

Aim to exercise 3-5 times per week. It’s still important to get both strength training and cardio, so if you can find a workout that combines both in one (like a boot camp or a cardio sculpt type of class), that’s great. Again, the more you can maximize your time, the better.


So there you have it…Two strategies to reach two different goals. No matter how you approach your workout regimen, I think Keli’s words from last week sum it up nicely.

At first I balked at the thought of working out, but I’ve discovered that exercise can be habit forming–in a good way. I feel better, and I feel better about myself. Plus I no longer deal with the guilt that came from knowing I should have been working out but wasn’t. I can look my doctor in the eye when she asks about my exercise regimen.

And don’t we all want to feel better, regardless of what the scale says? 🙂

So do share, where would you say your goals fall right now? How does your current workout regimen help or hurt that goal? Any other things you’ve learned from your own experiences that you can share?

*photo by John Kasawa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Filed under Fitness

My Top Fitness Recommendations for the New Year

Top Fitness Recommendations

‘Tis the season for New Years resolutions! And how many of us wrote, “Get in shape,” on our list? (If you read my post last week, you were hopefully challenged to rethink why we’re doing what we’re doing.)

I’ve been working hard to get back in shape for the past six months. (Babies have a way of messing with the body, y’know?) And in the process, I’ve discovered I’m addicted to variety in my workouts.

So I decided to share my top recommendations for ways to get in shape this year.

Get your heart pumping with cardio:

1. Zumba (or Latin fusion/ballroom dance) — I love, love, love Zumba! It requires a teeny bit of coordination, but if that intimidates you, the music alone will make you want to move.
2. Cardio kickboxing — This doesn’t require as much coordination as Zumba, and it’s a great stress reliever. (Just think of punching all your worries away!)
3. Walking/running — Good old standbys. All you need is a road or a track and you can move to your heart’s content.

Sculpt your muscles with toning:

1. Pilates — Pilates focuses on breathing control and strengthening your core (abs and back). You’ll discover muscles you never knew you had!
2. Yoga — While many people think of yoga as meditation and stretching, it’s also great for toning muscles as you hold poses. And if you’re not sure about the meditation aspect, you can find all different levels of “ohm”. My church hosts yoga classes that don’t get “ohm-y” at all, so you can look for that type of venue.
3. Kettlebells — For an all-around toning workout, kettlebells offer variety and challenge.
4. Zumba Toning — Yes, Zumba has toning classes! It combines dance movements with muscle strengthening. Gotta love that!

And for a cardio/toning combo, there are all sorts of boot camp and circuit training classes out there. These pack a major fitness punch and target all your muscle groups for maximum calorie burn.

So look for these options near you and get moving this week!

Have you tried any of these workouts? Do any of them intimidate you? What can you do to get moving this week?


Filed under Fitness