You can increase your own energy and happiness by working out on a regular basis. By working out in the morning, you increase your metabolism not only that day (burning more of the calories from the food you eat that day) but in fact for up to 16 hours after the workout. That means that you are using your food more efficiently, and are burning fat even the day after. Working out even once or twice a week regularly can bring health benefits.
There are many different types of workouts, but a general strength program using a combination of weights and aerobic exercises offers a number of benefits, when pursued correctly and regularly. Among the benefits of a workout are the following:
- lower body weight/body fat
- decreased risk of diseases
- improved physical appearance
- reduced instances of depression
- more positive self-esteem
- better sleeping patterns
- more energy and stamina
Some of these may sound somewhat subjective, but anyone who works out regularly will likely agree that they are pretty accurate. I am MUCH more positive and energetic when I get into the gym, and I often have so many ideas running around my head as I work out (or immediately thereafter) that I have to keep my journal within arm's reach or risk forgetting them all from sheer numbers!
If you are planning to work out more than once a week, you will benefit most from breaking up your workouts by muscle groups. General guidelines for multiple workouts per week are as follows:
- 1 day: general, complete body workout
- 2 days: Mon: upper body, Thurs: lower body
- 3 days: Mon: chest/back, Wed: arms/shoulders, Fri: legs
- 4 days: Mon: chest/back, Tues: bi/tris, Thurs: legs, Fri: shoulders
- 5 days: Mon: chest/back, Tues: bi/tris, Wed: aerobic (jogging/bike), Thurs: legs, Fri: shoulders
- 6 or more days (or more than 2x a day): talk to a professional trainer for the best program for you.
It helps to start any strength exercises (i.e.: using weights) with the larger muscle groups, then work towards the smaller muscles. That way, your larger muscles aren't limited by tired (weakened) smaller muscle groups. Unless you are only doing one workout per week, you don't need to spend more than 45 minutes on any one workout session. My quickest workout lasts about 30 minutes, but I don't like to put in more than 45 minutes because that usually means that I am resting too much between sets, and therefore not keeping the intensity up. Also, man, I got stuff to do!
Working out basically consists in lifting a bunch of weights over and over. The weights don't care how you lift them (or even *if* you do), but your body may have its preferences - or at least preferred methods for burning fat or creating muscle.
Training To Lose Weight
Training to lose weight emphasizes more reps per set of lighter weights, as well as more aerobic training. 45 minutes of aerobic training at 60% capacity burns fat, since it goes through the ready fuel (carbs) quite quickly. If you stop there, then your body doesn't need to cut into its fat reserves for fuel. Don't ever bother with a diet; the pounds you lose are bound to return. A change of diet (not a "diet") an a regular exercise program is required.
Training To Build Muscle
Training for muscle requires heavy lifting, no two ways about it. If your body doesn't break down muscle and rebuild larger muscle, you ain't never gonna grow. You have to challenge your body to ?? You should go through the entire range of the motion to work the entire length of the muscle. Don't do wimpy 2cm lifts that hit a small portion of the muscle and leave the rest high and dry. Also, for proper technique, try to move only the joint connected to the muscle being trained, and leave the rest of your body motionless.
Training To Generate Speed
Training to generate speed is closer to training to build muscle, but with a difference. This type of training works the white "fast twitch" muscles. When lifting, you lift (or push, or pull, depending on the exercise) as quickly as possible on the "positive" (against gravity), then let the "negative" side out slowly. This doesn't have to be a dramatic "slow as you can" thing, but your lifting should have a definite broken rhythm - not resemble a metronome.