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How to Exercise for Your Fitness Goal

09.25.2018 | Forge Performance

How to Exercise for Your Fitness Goal

We all know exercise is important, but how we go about doing it should depend on your goal. Most people fall into one of the following 4 categories:

  1. Lose Weight (30lbs or more)

  2. Lose Body Fat

  3. Gain Muscle/Strength

  4. Improve Quality of Life

It’s important to know that the structure of your exercise regimen can vary pretty drastically depending on what you’re looking to accomplish. This blog post will cover exactly that.

Lose Weight

Perhaps the most popular goal that encourages people into fitness is weight loss. While it should be noted that nutrition plays a much larger role in enabling weight loss, exercise can be a huge catalyst. Results will vary based on the individual, but if you’re looking to lose 30lbs or more, her is the breakdown we typically recommend.

Total Physical Activity = 5 Hours per Week

Resistance Training = 2, 60 Minute Sessions per Week

Moderate Cardiovascular Exercise (65-80% Max Heart Rate) = 3, 30-60 Minute Sessions per Week

The primary goal here is to gain some strength, some lean muscle mass, but most importantly to just get moving! This breakdown will allow the appropriate intensity without negatively impacting a person’s physical health.

Lose Body Fat

For those individuals looking to lose weight closer to the 10-20lbs range, focusing on fat loss is ideal. Once again, nutrition will be the most important aspect, but exercising properly can help facilitate the loss of fat.

Total Physical Activity = 5 Hours per Week

Resistance Training = 3, 60 Minute Sessions per Week

Metabolic Conditioning (HIIT) = 2-3, 30-40 Minute Sessions per Week

Because we need more lean muscle mass to burn fat mass, the focus will be on adding lean muscle tissue. With the added lean muscle mass and strength, the body will be able to burn more calories during Metabolic Conditioning activities. This is due to the fact that the stronger a person is, the higher and intensity they can push to. The higher the intensity, the more calories a person can burn at rest. This caloric burn during rest is compounded by the amount of lean muscle mass someone has.

Gain Muscle Mass and Strength

When building muscle and strength are the primary goal, the focus will shift to primarily resistance training activities. Here’s the quantity you should follow:

Total Physical Activity = 4-6 Hours per Week

High Intensity Resistance Training = 4, 45-75 Minute Sessions per Week

Low Intensity Resistance Training = 2-4, 15-30 Minute Sessions per Week

Building muscle and strength requires volume and intensity, which means the more repetitions the better. That being said, the body can only recover from so much volume. This means an individual will need to plan small recovery workouts known as Low Intensity Resistance Training 12-24 hours after a High Intensity Session. Doing so will increase recovery time, promote blood flow and nutrients to the muscles, and enable a person to sneak in the extra volume without overworking the body.

Improve Quality of Life

Some people have more modest goals, and just want to improve their energy, vitality, and ability to move around. For this goal, we recommend the following:

Total Physical Activity = 5 Hours per Week

Resistance Training = 2, 45-60 Minute Sessions per Week

Metabolic Conditioning = 2, 30-40 Minute Sessions per Week

Low Intensity Physical Activity = 1-3 Sessions per Week (walking, hiking, biking, climbing, etc)

Here, the goal is to create a healthy balance of physical activity so that you can make steady improvements over time. The resistance training will allow the building of lean muscle tissue and strength to improve and maintain function. The metabolic conditioning will allow you to improve work capacity to handle whatever life throws at you. And the additional Physical Activity will help increase recovery, both on a physical and mental level.