Ever feel inundated with health and fitness advice? You might hear, “Eat this to lose weight!” or “Do this exercise to grow your biceps!” and “Stay away from this food”. For someone just beginning their fitness journey, all of the information can get a tad overwhelming. At times, it can also get confusing. One source says that coconut oil is a superfood, while another claims it’s harmful to one’s health. Then we have the ongoing debate about which type of cardio is the “best”. Who, and what, should you believe? How do you figure out which path you should take in your journey toward good health?
On the trek toward your health and fitness goals, make sure you take this cheat sheet along with you! It will be the map that guides you!
“How many reps should I be doing?”
Your rep scheme will depend on your goal. A person looking to build endurance will have a different rep scheme than a person looking to build strength.
Strength: <6 reps
Muscular Hypertrophy (aka muscle growth): 8-12 reps
Muscular Endurance: >12 reps
You also want to choose a weight that allows you simultaneously complete your desired number of reps and challenge your body. For example, if your goal is muscle growth, you should not be able to do any more or any less than 8-12 reps. If you can’t do 8 reps, then you need to decrease the weight you’re using. If you can do more than 12 reps, it’s time to up the weight!
“What is the best form of cardio?”
Is it running? Is it walking? Or perhaps the elliptical? The world may never know. My answer to this question? The best form of cardio is the one that you will be consistent with. It’s the one that allows you to challenge yourself and sweat a little bit…but doesn’t make you completely miserable. Because if you absolutely hate doing something, you’ll tie negative emotions to it. And then you’ll be more likely to fall off the wagon. Find a form of cardio that you enjoy! Maybe Soul Cycle is your calling. Or maybe you just really love walking outdoors. Whatever it may be, pick something that you’ll be consistent with.
*Side Note: If you get bored easily while doing cardio (like I do), switch it up a bit! Do 5 minutes on the elliptical, then do a 5 minute run, then do 5 minutes on the stair master, and finish up on a spin bike. Trust me – time will fly by! I also enjoy HIIT training – it’s a killer!
“How many days a week should I workout”
Well, according to ACSM guidelines, you should aim for 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week OR 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (more about this here). However, take it slow. If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, it’s okay not to hit those numbers just yet! Start off by aiming for twenty minutes 3 days a week. Then up the ante a bit when it’s time. You’re allowed to take it one step at a time (ha-ha get it?)
“How do I figure out my target heart rate?”
Using your target heart rate is perfect to determine the intensity of your workout. The formula is 220 – (your age) – (resting heart rate) x (desired percentage of heart rate) + (resting heart rate). The “desired percentage of heart rate” depends on your goal. Aerobic endurance should be anywhere from 65%-80%, whereas higher intensity training, such as interval training, should be greater than 80%.
Check back later for part two!
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina