Step 7: Now the hard part
First question, “When should I exercise?” The answer is pretty universal, “Whenever you will continue to do it.” If you enjoy the mornings, then that is the best time for you. If you prefer the evenings, then that is your time. (Note, try not o exercise right before going to bed.)
There are two major types of exercise, both of which you need to do. The first is “Aerobic” exercise. This will work your cardiovascular system. It’s is the “running, swimming, walking, bicycling” types of activities. The next type is “anaerobic” exercise. This works the muscles and joints. It’s the “weight, push-ups, sit-ups” type of exercises.
The next question, “What type of Aerobic exercise should I do?” Here is the great part, it doesn’t matter that much! Find something you enjoy doing. Better yet, find a bunch of things you love to do and mix it up. But here is the part that most people fail at; they try for distances or speeds. Forget that. You need to work you heart, so trying to get faster isn’t the objective here (although it will come with exercise.)
Get yourself a heart rate monitor; learn how to use it, and exercise within your target heart rate (THR) ONLY. Most Americans start working out well ABOVE their THR. This means that are working TOO HARD and not getting the maximum benefits of their labor (which only helps to discourage their exercising.) When you first start out (depending on the shape you are in), you’ll be amazed at how little you need to work to get in your THR zone. There is plenty of information on the Internet about how to find your THR so feel free to investigate that issue more.
You should do Aerobic exercise everyday, for at least 30 minutes for maximum benefit. But again, that doesn’t mean running everyday. You can run one day, bike another, do a stair climber the next, etc. (Note if you are serious about losing body fat, you should increase the time to at least 60 minutes a day.)
OK, so we have the heart and cardiovascular system covered, now we need to work the other muscles. The best anaerobic method I’ve found is the “Momentary Muscular Failure” method. I’ll be up front with you; this method will make you very sore in the beginning. As you progress, you body will recover quicker each time and you will feel less sore as the weeks go by.
This method can be adjusted for either “mass” muscle building or for muscle toning without “bulking up.” Here is the basic principle. You work a muscle until it actually fails. This is the point when your body has to build the muscle up, stronger, each time.
How it works, let’s say you are doing push-ups. You do as many as you can. Then, when you can’t do another one, you do about 3 or 5 more of just the “negative range” of the exercise. For a push up, that means just doing the “down” part of the push up, then get on your knees, get in the “up” position, and do another “down” stroke. Repeat this about 5 times.
When you are done, your arms will feel like jelly! Note, if you are doing an exercise that involves weights, set the weight to a resistance that will allow you to do about 15 reps before you can’t do a full rep anymore, and then do 5 reps of the “negative motion.” You can drop the weight and do another set of 15 full reps and 5 more negative reps after that. (Note you will need a partner to help you with the “positive” part of the exercise for the final 5 reps.)
As you do a rep for any exercise, always do the “positive” portion in a 2 count and the negative in a 4 count. That means that as you are going down on a push up, to should count to 4. When you come up, you should only be able to count to 2.
Here are some important parts of the anaerobic workouts. If you do this workout with intensity and without resting, it can be your aerobic exercise for the day as well. Also, and most importantly, do NOT do this workout everyday. The muscles that are worked require at least 48 hours to heal. So, either do this workout every other day, or work out your arms and abs one day, and you legs the next.
To fine tune this workout for the desired results, if you do more weight in an exercise and less reps, you will build “bulk”, if you do less weight and more reps, you will tone the muscles.