Week 4: Fitness – Where to Start?

Q. Is running faster best?
A. Not always, it depends on your goals. Our bodies are more efficient at burning fat in low-intensity heart rate zones 1 and 2. You should be able to have a conversation, but sweat a bit in zones 1 and 2. If you’re just starting out with exercise, it is best to walk briskly or jog VERY slowly to reach zones 1 or 2.  This low intensity is especially useful if you like to do “steady state” cardio (i.e. cardio for longer periods of time at the same intensity). Zones 4 and 5 are high-intensity heart rate zones and high-intensity effort. If you like to “run”, and are new to exercise, try doing intervals that keep a 1:1 ratio between activity and rest. Example: 1 minute running (zone 4 or 5), 1 minute of walking (zone 1 or 2).

Q. Why is strength training important?
A. Resistance (i.e. “strength”) training helps you to maintain the muscle that you have and also helps you to build new muscle.  It reduces the rate of muscle loss with aging, sustains appropriate testosterone levels and as you build more lean mass allows for more carbs in your diet.

Q. How often should I strength train?
A. At least two days per week. If you are just starting out, workouts that contain “full body” movements (squats, lunges, dead lifts, push ups) are most effective for fat loss, especially for women.

Q. If I don’t sweat, am I getting a good workout?
A. You don’t need to be drenched in sweat to see results. You want to work out smarter not harder, and do this by using your correct heart rate zone to efficiently burn fat.

Q. How do I work out without a gym membership?
A. You can start out with body weight workouts that include movements like body weight lunges, squats, sit ups, push ups etc. You can also get a full body workout with even just a few pieces of at-home equipment, like a few pairs of dumbbells, a stability or Bosu ball, or a few exercise bands. You can find bodyweight workouts under the “Strength Training” icon in Life Time Health.