Does Your Fitness Plan Measure Up?

You are working out hard, trying to eat clean and light and yet it just doesn’t feel like you are making the progress you think you should for how hard you are working. If this is true of you, you may not have a balanced fitness plan and in this case, it is better to workout smarter, not harder.

We all have seen those amazing cardio addicts at the gym. They seem to be able to go full hours or more just hammering it on the treadmill or elliptical. But their body composition and fitness levels just don’t seem to change much.

That is likely because they may not have a balanced fitness plan. When your fitness plan is balanced, you are seeing results because all components are working together and giving your body the challenges it needs in all areas to be truly fit.

  • Flexibility: Challenging your flexibility allows your muscles to move through full ranges of motion without getting stiff. Working on flexibility is easily skipped, yet one of the most important components of your workout plan. Keeping your muscles flexible helps them to respond better to your workouts and avoid injury with torn or pulled muscles. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are good ways to challenge your flexibility. You can keep it simple with a full body flexibility routine daily and in a week or so, you will see results.
  • Cardiovascular Endurance: This is when you are able to do continuous exercise such as running, cycling, hiking, swimming for sustained periods of time. Your lungs and blood vessels (your cardio system) are forced to work hard and fuel your body with the necessary oxygen so your muscles can work continuously. Test your cardio ability and see how you do on the 3 minute Step test or far you can run in 12 minutes. This is known as the Cooper Run.
  • Muscular Strength: Think of your major muscle groups that you use to lift and carry heavy objects. This muscle strength is what is called upon when you need to do the big lifting and exertion of life. The most effective way to increase strength is with weight training.
  • Muscular Endurance: this differs from muscular strength in that it is defined by the ability of your muscles to perform continued contractions over an extended period of time. It is the ability to lift and or carry heavy objects for minutes, rather than short repetition sets. When weight training, you can challenge your muscle endurance by training with lighter weights for 20-25 repetitions.
  • Body Fat: Your composition of body fat is simply the amount of fat on your body compared to your lean muscle mass. Fit qualifications for men and women differ. It is agreed in the fitness and medical communities that men with a body fat composition lower than 17% and women lower than 24% are considered fit. A good quality fitness program will address your body fat composition.

So, make sure you are addressing the above 5 areas of fitness and you will have balance and see results faster as you work hard and play hard!