There are some people who love the gym. They are happy to spend 5+ days/week in the fitness center doing various exercises and activities. For the rest of us, it’s a struggle to keep up with any type of routine. In fact, it adds stress to our lives when we even think about doing exercise. I believe it doesn’t have to be that way, and recent (and even not-so-recent) research backs me up.
I’d like to share with you an approach to fitness that will satisfy your strength requirements and will only require a minimal time commitment from you. Here’s the secret: one hour of focused strength training each week. That’s it. And MOST people will experience IDEAL results from this type of program.
One hour of FOCUSED resistance training will give you all of the wonderful health benefits of exercise including: increased muscle mass and strength; improved metabolism; and improved cardiovascular health. Additionally, this type of program will avoid the risks of overtraining, which may include: injury; fatigue; and lack of motivation to work out.
As you might expect, there are some guidelines to follow in order to get your best results. They’re not complicated, but they do require doing particular exercises in a particular way (as opposed to going to the gym and performing 3 sets of 10 on all of your favorite machines for an hour).
It is called focused strength training for a reason – the time must be spent working, not chatting! (Of course, you could always factor in some chat time by scheduling a 45-minute or hour-long session to make sure that the full 30 minutes of strength training are accomplished.) There are some other requirements as well, including: adjusting the pace of each exercise (slow and controlled); regulating the time of each exercise (usually reaching your maximum between 60-90 seconds); and not working exclusively or excessively on any one body part.
It may initially sound overwhelming, but once you’ve participated in a well thought-out strength program, you’ll find that it’s not very difficult.
I work with both individuals and groups. For the most part, people tend to get great results in splitting their strength training into two solid 30-minute sessions per week. Others prefer (or are only able) to commit to one day of training each week and in that case, we do the full 60 minutes in one session. Once you’ve established your routine, you will get more confident with what works best for you, and you might even enjoy it!
For those of you who have a routine that is working well, by all means continue with what you are doing. And if being in the gym 5 days a week gives you joy, then of course, keep it up! For everyone else, take a one-hour stand!
Move better. Feel better!