Question: Getting Fit

Hi Lisa. I've joined the gym. I am beyond unfit. I have 6 weeks of holiday starting next monday. Do u have any suggestions on how to start my new fitness regime please? I am 9 kg overweight, mostly in the tummy and boob area. And i would like to work out a min of 3 times a week. And when varsity starts again, 2 to 3 times a week. Thanks, Mai


Training at the gym is great, as you have access to all the equipment you need.

The average person should be practicing strength training 3-4 times a week. It is, however, the intensity of your workout that will determine how often you should be training. As a general rule, train each muscle group twice a week, but if you are working muscles to complete exhaustion, you may need to limit sessions to once a week. Remember to keep a day between muscle groups to prevent overtraining. Abdomen exercises can be allotted to both your upper and lower training sessions, therefore practiced daily. It is very hard to spot train, and you aren’t going to lose weight in the areas you want to until you are fit all over.

As a general rule, you also need to take off one full day a week from all forms of exercise.

My training guidelines:

Practise high intensity cardio and interval training
Shaking up a steady-state cardio routine to one that is varied and explosive has been proven to target more abdominal fat. This is perhaps because you will not only burn more calories during the session, but afterwards as well. The exertion of varying intensities will stimulate your body’s repair cycle more than if you were going for a steady state run. This means more fat and calories burnt for up to 24 hours after training.

– Switch up your usual run with 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of jogging or walking. Repeat these intervals 15-20 times each session. As you progress the 20 secs can become 30-40 secs and the rests can reduce to 20- 30 secs.
– Don’t switch all your cardio sessions to high intensity interval training. Aim for two sessions a week, along with one or two regular 30-60 min cardio sessions.

Compound movements for lean mass and increased metabolism
Strength training plays a critical part in toning your body. Muscle requires fuel to operate, so the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, and the higher your metabolism. Remember, too, the value of REAL strength training. It is extremely difficult for women to make significant weight gain, so don’t be scared to lift heavy. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps, where the weights you’re using mean you struggle to perform the last few reps. This is the weight you should be lifting for significant results. Compound exercises are multi-jointed movements, while isolation exercises only use one. Many people accredit isolated exercises to significant results, but compound exercises are responsible for greater calorie burns during sessions as well as increasing lean muscle tissue at a greater rate , therefore improving your resting metabolism.

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