Fitness goals and workout results mean different things to different people. For many, working out is simply a means to be healthier. For some, there is a specific goal in mind, like weight loss or muscle gain. Unfortunately for us, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise - imagine how easy that would’ve been! Many spend hours upon hours in the gym working out, to only see no visible results. Understanding how exercise works and how it changes your body will not only help streamline the entire process, but will also allow you to move beyond a roadblock and get closer to your goals. Discover the best types of exercise you can include in your workout routine to meet your fitness objectives.
Raking in the Muscle Gains
Building muscle is why most of us constantly return to the gym. It’s the beacon of light that continues to drive our effort-driven workouts, but how exactly do we build muscle effectively?
Muscle growth, otherwise known as hypertrophy, involves increasing the size of the muscle cells by way of metabolic exhaustion and mechanical damage. When the muscles are subjected to structural damage and metabolic fatigue, it will stimulate a repair response in the body and result in an increase in the size of the targeted muscle fibres, both in diameter and length. Simply put, muscle hypertrophy is the process in which our muscles get physically larger through the act of strategically consistent and harder workouts.
Muscle hypertrophy is not without effort, and often than not, resistance training and progressive overload are needed. Training will include higher training volume and in high frequency, with shorter rest periods in between sets. Start by having more sets and reps with a lower weight, before increasing the weights once you’re ready. Be sure to increase your protein intake to support your body’s muscle building.
Strong as an Ox
They may appear as one and the same, but hypertrophy and strength training are two very different types of exercise. While hypertrophy exercises focus on increasing the size of the muscle, strength training focuses on improving muscle fibre quality and increasing the muscle’s functional ability. What this simply means is that bigger muscle mass doesn’t necessarily equate to improved strength.
Similar to muscle hypertrophy, strength training also includes resistance training and progressive overload. However, the stark difference between the two types of exercise is the duration of rest. Strength training involves short bouts of effort followed by long periods of rest to give way for maximum recovery. The goal is to lift heavier weights with fewer reps and sets. Strength training doesn’t limit to weightlifting either, other forms of exercises like yoga and swimming will work just as well. Nutrition and diet will need to incorporate foods that will aid in the recovery and repair of muscles, such as spinach and salmon.
Lean and Mean
Your body is designed to be an efficient and diligent, mean machine. In theory, shedding excess weight works when energy expenditure is more than energy is consumed. However, you’ll soon hit a plateau wherein your body begins to burn fewer calories when you’re doing the same exercise. To achieve a lean body, your exercise routine needs to support a specific type of body composition: more muscle mass, less fat (note that it’s not no fat).
When it comes to weight loss, we’d recommend going for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT helps you burn more calories in less time than steady-state cardio due to increased excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Throw in full-body exercises, full-body circuit training, and cardio to achieve the ideal lean body composition. Since rest is just as important in losing weight and building muscles, be sure to sprinkle in 24 hours of rest and recovery between the sessions as well. Supplement your intense workout with a low-carb and high-protein diet.
If you wish to perform for more than a few minutes without collapsing in a puddle on the floor, aerobic endurance is the exercise for you. During a cardio activity, your heart works hard to pump oxygenated blood to working muscles to help them burn fat and carbohydrate for fuel to keep you exercising for longer. By improving your cardiorespiratory endurance, it also increases your VO2 max, which is the maximum rate at which your cardiorespiratory system can effectively use oxygen during exercise.
Typical cardiovascular exercises include running, swimming and cycling, amongst other things. Your body can deal with the demands of cardio on a more consistent basis so long as you alternate the forms of cardio you do. You can alternate between multiple forms of cardio and slide in strength training, which also helps in making muscle oxygen consumption more efficient. As for diet, prioritise carbs and protein for optimal energy supply and muscle recovery.
Achieve Your Fitness Goals with Anya Active
These four exercises target different aspects of the body and thus, will yield different results. However, a healthy and safe workout routine doesn’t focus solely on one, and instead, will incorporate the four types. Not only does this keep the entire exercise regimen fresh, but focusing on multiple muscle groups also helps to challenge your body whilst keeping your susceptibility to injuries lower.
Create a workout routine that works for you! At Anya Active, we wish to journey with you as you reach your fitness goals. Our wide range of quality female activewear is designed to make physical activity more comfortable for you. Whether it’d be showcasing your lifting prowess via weightlifting in the gym or exercising better body control through low-impact yoga, we have the workout attire for you. Take a look at our online catalogue of ladies sportswear to find your next workout clothes or visit our store in Singapore to try it in-store.