This month’s trainer tip comes from Precision Athletics’ co-founder and master trainer Craig Boyd.
If you look on social media these days, there is a trend of people posting photos of themselves lying in a pool of sweat after crushing themselves with a hard workout or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session. There is definitely a time and place to push yourself to your limit. However, a lot of the benefits of training can be felt without needing to push yourself too hard or having to deal with the recovery from an all-out maximum effort.
Strength Training Benefits
Strength training has many benefits, one of which is improved insulin sensitivity. Improved insulin sensitivity is a big factor in weight loss. Strength training is also correlated with increased longevity and improved quality of life.
You can receive these benefits from a very basic strength training program of 20-30 minutes a day. There is no need to push to your maximum either. The benefits come from contracting your muscles and over time gradually increasing your weights.
Cardio Training Benefits
Cardiovascular training is similar. A lot of the benefits come from elevating your heart rate and maintaining it. Referred to as Zone 2 work or steady state cardio, this can be a walk or incline walk, or a jog at an easy pace. The benefits from this are:
- Decreased resting heart rate (stringer heart)
- Improved longevity
- Improved fatty acid oxidation
Starting a Weekly Routine
If you were to work out in the gym, go for a 30-minute jog or brisk walk on your lunch break, and eat at your desk, you would have racked up 2.5 hours of exercise in a normal 5-day work week. During the weekend, you can add even more hours with a nice long hike or long run since you have more free time and a base level of conditioning from your daily short workouts.
One of the hardest things people report in starting an exercise program is motivation. Sometimes, facing a daunting task like running when you are out of shape, can seem intimidating.
Start small. Begin with a walk. If you haven’t lifted weights in a while, do one set of each machine or get a trainer to set you up on a basic program. Remember, it does not have to be super hard to be effective.
The magic is in the motion. Just get moving, do it consistently, and you will see a huge return on your investment. Our health is a dwindling resource, invest in your health early – you will not regret it.
Craig Boyd is co-founder and director of trainers at Precision Athletics in Vancouver. He has been a personal trainer for over 25 years and likes working with clients who want to get stronger, leaner, and have more energy. You can reach him directly at [email protected].