How I'm Doing It: Variety

Jenny's Journey

I get a lot of questions about what specifically I have done to lose weight and get fit, so, I'm going to spend some time with a series of blog posts that does just that. This is the third in the series on exercise.

Yes! You are doing awesome at this point! You are exercising 5-6 days per week and mixing cardio with strength training. Now is where it really gets fun and challenging!

I personally committed myself to exercise every single day. Does that mean every session I'm going full speed and all out? No. I think variety is the key to a great exercise regimen. By varying your routine, you'll work more muscle groups, prevent burn out, and achieve an overall higher level of fitness. So what are some great high impact exercises to do?

  1. Running- Of course, running, the old standby. A great cardio workout that burns calories like crazy. And guess what? You don't have to go out and do 3 miles tomorrow. Start slow (you see a pattern here?) and run a little, then walk a little. You can let your body guide you or there are many apps like "couch to 5k" that will help you build up your endurance.
  2. Any cardio we've already talked about (elliptical, bike, yoga, swimming, stairmaster) but just take it up a notch- Try 60 minutes instead of 30 or do it at a faster rate with higher resistance. There is no end to how much you can expound on these cardio workouts! If you want to get outside, try trail running, biking or kayaking.
  3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)- HIIT training is something you automatically do if you grow up as an athlete (like I did). Who else can remember doing circuits of cardio including running the many, many suicides? We used to run them until we puked! Nowadays, there are so many HIIT workouts to choose from. I personally use the BeachBody app and they have many different classes to do. Basically, it is doing extremely difficult core exercise in 30-60 second bursts for 25 minutes. It is highly effective at burning calories as well as increasing stamina over time. These are pretty hardcore workouts, and I still today cannot get through a session without having to modify some of the more intense moves. The best part is you can do it quickly and in the comfort of your own house. No gym needed.
  4. High intensity gym classes- Things like spinning, kickboxing, boot camp style HIIT classes, TRX, Crossfit, there are numerous options. Check to see what classes your gym offers and go give it a try!
  5. Keep on lifting- At this point, consider upping your weights more as well, like trying 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Many people will lift more than this and there is no right or wrong, as it is an individual choice. If you want to lift more weight and heavier weights, you can check in with a trainer or utilize one of the many online resources to help you figure it out. Many of the HIIT style workouts feature strength training as well, so there is a lot of overlap here. But at this point, strength training at a minimum of 2 times a week is good at this point in your exercise progression. 

So are we at the pinnacle of fitness? No, but we are well on our way! The more fit you get the more you can challenge yourself! As a reminder, before starting or increasing an exercise program, it's best to consult your primary care provider. 

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