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Looking for the Ultimate Workout
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what the “ultimate” workout is. Generally when we decide we need to train for a goal, lose weight, or get in better shape, we tend to look for the perfect workout that will do wonders for us.
I don’t think there is such a thing as the ultimate workout. Maybe – maybe – each of us has our own ultimate workout, the “perfect workout” for us as an individual. Maybe. But as a general rule, I don’t think that there is one way of working out that is necessarily better than another.
There are a variety of benefits that we get from doing different kinds of exercises. For example, at Good Life Fitness, one of my favourite classes is Body Pump. It is an hour-long class with 10 different songs. Each song focuses on a different body part. That means we end up doing 6 minutes straight of different kinds of squats, for example. Killer. After the song is over, we move onto another body part – we are finished with that particular muscle group for the day.
Then again, there is also HITT at Aspire Fitness. In it, we do 90 seconds of an exercise before going straight into the next one, no breaks. 90 seconds is much shorter than 6 minutes, but the weights are generally much heavier, and it is the same movement that we repeat (rather than switching between different kinds of squats throughout the 6 minutes at Body Pump, we do the same kind of squat for 90 seconds of HITT). We also perform that same exercise twice more after we have finished the rest of the exercises in HITT.
Both Body Pump and HITT work the muscles, but they work them in different ways. I am straining my muscles in both classes – for different reasons. And I truly love them both.
This is why having a variety of different ways of exercising can be really beneficial. We need to focus on endurance, on good form, on strength-building. I don’t think that it is necessary to do both at the same time, however. You could combine the different kinds of exercises and do, for example, HITT two days a week and Body Pump two days a week, but that might be overkill. Switching things up once every couple months might be a better way to go. Or you could do what I am trying to do: focus on one way of exercising as your main form of fitness (HITT at Aspire Fitness), and use another kind of exercising as a way to supplement it (cardio classes like Body Combat at Good Life Fitness). With plenty of walking and biking for cardio purposes on the side 🙂
My HITT trainer was recently half an hour late for our class (it can happen to anyone! 6am is early – it means I have to wake up just past 5am in order to get there on time. Eek!), so we only did two circuits of the program rather than our usual three. We’re going to be having an extra class at the end of the eight weeks to make up for missing part of the class, but I wanted to get my full workout that day. So, later on that same day, I did a minute or two each of the following: jumping jacks, forward lunges, wall sits, and bicycle crunches. It wasn’t up to par with a regular HITT circuit, but at least it was a little something extra.
I don’t like doing resistance training more than three or four times a week, tops. Our bodies need to recover from all that movement. Combining resistance training with cardio is a really great idea, though. It keeps you having fun and it keeps your body in peak condition. Give me a few different kinds of workouts and I’m happy!
Do you have a favourite kind of exercise? Would you rather do an exercise for five minutes in a row or break it up and come back to it later? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!