Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Types of workout programs

This is your ultimate guide to introduce you to types of workout programs, their purpose and impact on the body, examples of each of them, and to guide you to create your workout program that suits you best and help you achieve your goals.


There are three types of workout programs, categorized based on their impact on the body and health outcome into:

-  Cardiorespiratory training

-  Strength training

-  Flexibility training 


Now let’s get into details…


1)   Cardio training

Also referred to as aerobic or cardiovascular training, it improves a person’s ability to sustain vigorous activities, in other words; it enhances the capacity of the heart, lungs, and blood to deliver oxygen to, and remove waste from your body tissues.

Cardiovascular fitness reflects the hearts’ and circulatory systems’ health, i.e.: if you easily get tiered when doing minor daily activity such as carrying objects, or claiming stairs; you are not in your best physical shape. The better your cardiorespiratory endurance is, the better your health is.

Cardiorespiratory fitness  also provide you with: 

-  increased life span.

-  reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

-  lower blood pressure.

-  reduced body fat, so it help in weight loss.

-  lower cholesterol.

-  improved sleep.

-  higher self-esteem & positive body image.

Examples of cardiorespiratory training are:

Running, jogging, swimming, dancing, cycling, power walking, kickboxing, climbing stairs or hills, sport activities such as basketball, soccer, tennis, etc.

p.s.: For best outcome; the activity you choose to do must be sustained for 30 minutes or longer, and use most of the large - muscle groups of the body.


2)   strength training

Also called resistance training, it builds muscle mass, increase muscle strength and improves bone density (when combined with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake) so it enables muscles to work harder and longer without fatigue.

Strength training also give you:

-  Help in weight loss since it increases RMR.

-  Healthy State of Mind.

-  Healthy Heart Tissue.

-  Stronger Bones. 

-  Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls, especially for older people.

-  Reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them: arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain, and depression.

Examples of strength training exercises are:

Weight lifting, pull-ups, push-ups and Pilates.


3)   Flexibility training

Flexibility or stretching workouts enhance joints movement & their rotation span, improve posture & body movements, reduce muscle tension & incidence of injuries when done as warming before exercises.

Examples of flexibility workouts are:

Yoga and Pilates.



How do I make my own workout plan?

Before you start, make sure it is safe for you. People with risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, joint problems, cigarette smoking and history of heart diseases might need medical advice about their workout plan.


The best type of exercises for you depends on a number of factors:

1-   Current level of fitness. A sedentary person will begin at different level of workout compared to fit person, so know your level of fitness, the weight you can carry in each exercise, the time span you can withhold, the frequency you can do, and set them as a starting point for your workout program.


2-   What your goal is. For best outcomes you need to combine all types of workout programs, but your goal defines the type, frequency, intensity of each one of them:

To lose weight as fat: focus on moderate intensity exercises; the longer the duration spent exercising, the greater the contributions of fat as fuel, cardio workouts are excellent choice to burn fat.

    For extra burning of fat & calories, practice High Intensity Interval Training, this training tactic will not only burn calories during exercising, it will also increase fat loss post exercising (i.e.: help you burn calories even at rest) because it increases muscle mass, hence; RMR.


To promote muscle strength and size: combine high resistance (heavy weight) with low number of frequency (8-12) times.


To promote muscle endurance: combine less resistance (lighter weight) with more frequency (10-15) times.


To promote muscle power: combine moderate resistance (light to medium weight) with high velocity (fastest you can without hurting yourself).


To shape your body while maintaining weight: besides working your whole body, focus on exercises for each area you want to shape while maintaining adequate caloric intake to prevent weight loss.


Level of intensity compared:

Level of intensity

Breathing and\or heart rate

Talking ability

Caloric expenditure

Walking pace

Heart rate


Little or no increase

Able to sing

< 3.5 kcal/min

< 3 mph

40 < 55 % of maximum heart rate


Some increase

Able to have a conversation

3.5 to 7 kcal/min

3 to 4.5 mph

55 < 70% of maximum heart rate


Large increase

Conversation is difficult or broken

>7 kcal/min

> 4.5 mph

70 < 90% of maximum heart rate

*To calculate your maximum and target heart rate, go to Target heart rate calculator.



Basic training guidelines:

1-    Keep hydrating yourself; before, during and after exercising.

2-    Always warm-up before training to prevent injury

-   Non-specific warm-up (general warm), could include 5-10 minute jog or treadmill run, and stretching activities.

-   Specific warm-up (for specific muscles involved in the workout performed).

3-    Dress properly for training. Wearing clothes appropriate for the temperature of the working-out place and easy to move in, comfortable and protective shoes is important to ease exercising and make it safer.

4-    Stick to your goals and plans, don’t exercise randomly.

5-    Perform exercise through full range of motion, and avoid injury by maintaining proper lifting techniques.

6-    Workout all your major muscle groups, including neck, upper and lower back, shoulders, arms. Chest, abdomen, thighs, buttocks and calves, starting from large-muscle groups then small-muscle groups.

7-    Cool-down after exercising by relaxing for 5-10 minutes and doing some stretching activities.

8-    Breathe steadily while training.

9-    Practice good gym-ethics, keep the equipment’s clean and sound after using them, and allow others to have the opportunity to perform as well, maximizing equipment availability.

10-  Start from your current fitness level then increase frequency and/or intensity and/or duration of the exercise gradually, because after a period of time your body is adapted to the type and degree of training you practice, so it becomes no longer stressful and growth stimulating as it was at the beginning, this is called “body conditioning”.


In summary:

Physical activity brings positive rewards: good health and more comfort life. To develop fitness; you need to cover all of its components – flexibility, strength and endurance, and cardiorespiratory.

Read more about fitness benefits in Interesting facts about physical fitness. 

Taking these factors into consideration, go to the workout plan builder to help you plan your workout program.

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