Having a fitness lifestyle is a great way to learn balance. You have to balance your real life with the Gym, eat healthy 80% (hopefully) of the time. Avoid foods that impact your fitness goals and the list goes on. Considering your goals you also have to balance cardio and weight training. Lets discuss what your goals are and then decide how to balance it best. In order to help your life become a little bit easier to manage!
There are really two types of individuals that exercise. Those wanting to lose weight then tone up. Or those wanting to gain weight and build mass muscle. You can argue there is a few others but for now let’s keep it simple. We’ll break down the two people who have different goals and decide which options are best for them.
Person A – Is a little bit overweight and wants to lose some pounds but then tone it up. In most cases if this person is new to the gym or exercise in general they start with just a treadmill. Staying there for several months and seeing little progress. In order to achieve the best results you need to balance cardio with good weight lifting exercises. Consider doing cardiovascular exercise 3-4x a week, if you are quite a bit overweight I would actually say 5x a week for 30-45 minutes. You might be thinking im crazy but even if you can only do 10% of the first cardio workout it will improve over time. Cardiovascular workouts are known as aerobic which basically means “with oxygen” as your body is using oxygen as the primary source for intensity, you breath harder, need more air in, heart rate goes up, burn more calories… you get the drift.
So doing cardio 3-4x a week will give you great endurance but not much strength, how do you combat this? By weight training of course! You’ll want to do lighter reps of 10-15 this allows proper working of the muscles but also helps to tone them up after the fat is gone from cardio. There is a lot of beginner routines out there to help you in this regard but keep the rep range in mind when doing weighted exercises. You can expect to see visual results within 6-8 weeks.
Person B – This person could be the skinny guy looking to bulk up or anyone that just wants to put on a few pounds of muscle. In order to put on muscle and weight you need a calorie surplus (opposite of Person A which is a deficit). 360-500 calories surplus allows for 0.5lb-1lb gain per week, now if you do this all at once you’ll probably just gain fat so do it gradually. 360 calorie increase on top of what you’re currently taking is a good start for lean gains.
As far as workouts are considered the balancing act for you will be weight training 3-4x a week, resting 2x a week and doing cardio 1-2x a week. Cardio isn’t a huge factor for you because you are trying to gain. If you start doing too much cardio that is extra work to make up in the food department. For your rep rule you want 4-7 reps of heavy weight. Which means reps 6 and 7 should be difficult to achieve but not impossible. Compound lifts will become your best friend (if you can do them safely) as it will activate multiple muscle groups and encourage muscle gains. You can see results within 4-6 weeks if done properly.
So as you can see it’s not really that difficult to balance cardio and weight training. The hardest part will probably be showing up at the Gym or hitting the play button on your home fitness DVDs. Just keep your goal in sight and with the right discipline you’ll get there!