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08 Dec 2004

suitable firness programme for toning/fitness?
hi there.
ive been going to the gym everyday for the past month(except weekends):i do 20min cardio,then strength training(1 day,upper body,1 day lower body).is this effective for over-all weight loss,toning?i am starting to work tomorrow so now i need to go gym at night!so what programme do you suggest.some trainers say i should keep my heart rate up(do alternating cardio and strength for max results),and ohers say i should first do cardio then do the rest strength,while one said i should do one day just cardio(40min),1 day cardio(20) and upper/lower body!SO CONFUSED!
Answer 308 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi confused

It's hard to guarantee that a programme will ever be effective. It certainly should be - any exercise you do, provided you are eating well, is going to produce some results. Maybe you get fitter without weight loss, perhaps weight loss happens very rapidly. It really does depend on your genes and backgrounds.

Now, what you are doing sounds reasonable, though to add to your confusion, I believe that you need to do more cardio and possibly sacrifice some of the weight training. My personal opinion is that cardio is the primary focus for someone wanting to lose weight. The only way you will be able to lift your metabolic rate, and therefore burn more energy including fat, is by doing regular cardio training. Weight training has its place, as I will explain, but the cardio is the vital aspect that needs to be there to kickstart weight loss.

Cardio would include activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming etc. It is important to exercise between 4 and 5 times a week, for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes each session. It is also ideal to work at a moderate to hard intensity, but for a longer duration. You should aim to do these sessions at an intensity that allows you to complete the session without feeling completely exhausted, but having worked up a good sweat and feeling that your breathing and metabolic rate are elevated.

now, with regards to weight training, it is important because lean muscle has a naturally higher metabolic rate than fat does. So, if you can increase your lean muscle mass (by weight training) then the idea is that you will also increase the metabolic rate, which means that you will, even at rest, be able to burn more energy. Hence, you will be able to keep weight off. So, that is where it fits in. However, the most important thing is to get started and to actually lose weight, you must be doing cardio training - the increase you get in metabolic rate during a 30 minute bout of cardio (and for the few hours after) far outweighs the weight training increases, and so if it's weight loss you are after, then cardio is the way to go. Once you have achieved weight loss, or you are still busy achieving it, then the weight training becomes important to sustain it.

As for heart rate, I don't put much faith or stock in monitoring your heart rate during exercise. It's important at a later stage to monitor the training and track your progress, but for now, if you can just complete the sessions feeling OK, then you are on the right track. Heart rate and all these things only complicate matters early on, until later when you are fitter and more in control of the training.

Hope this helps
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