New Year, New You: Assess Your Workout

Alt Text: 

What's your approach to exercise? Take our quiz!

Title Text: 

New Year, New You: Assess Your Workout
What's your approach to exercise: no pain, no gain, so you religiously hit the gym seven days a week, two hours a session? Or is it more like working out is a pain, and you're lucky if you eke out 20 minutes of cardio and a quick set of weights once or twice a week, if that? Both scenarios -- exercising too much or not enough -- can be hazardous to your health. But what is the right amount of exercise for what you're trying to accomplish? Take our quiz to assess your workout habits and to find out just the right dose of fitness for you. Mark the answer that closely resembles your workout habits for the past 6-8 months.

1. I strength train:
A. at least 5 times a week, 2-4 exercises per body part.
B. 3 times a week, 2 exercises per body part.
C. 1-2 times a week, mostly abs and butt.
D. Never. I'm a cardio queen.

If you answered A, you're overdoing it. For general fitness the American College of Sports Medicine recommends no more than 3 total-body workouts per week with 48 hours of rest in between.
If you answered B, you're right on track. "Research has shown that strength training 3 times a week will deliver results," says Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass.
If you answered C or D, you're not strength training enough. Westcott's research has shown that if you lift moderately heavy weights 3 times a week for 8 weeks, not only will you likely lose 3.5 pounds of fat, but you'll possibly gain 1.75 pounds of lean, metabolism-boosting muscle. "Having the extra muscle will help your body burn more calories," Westcott adds.

2.The day after weight training, my muscles feel:
A. so sore that I can barely move.
B. a little stiff, but it goes away once I start moving.
C. fine, like I didn't even work them!
D. I don't strength train.

If you answered A, you're overdoing it and need to take your workouts down a notch, Westcott says. During your next workout, use 10 percent less weight or do fewer reps and reduce total sets.
If you answered B, you're on the right track. "You should feel moderately, but not excessively, sore after a workout," Westcott says.
If you answered C, you're probably not challenging your muscles. "If your goal is to build muscle, you should feel some soreness," says Dale Huff, R.D., a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of NutriFormance Fitness in St. Louis. Try lifting more weight, adding sets or changing the exercises in your routine.
If you answered D, add a weight-training program to your routine. Talk to a personal trainer at your gym or search our workout finder for a new routine.
0 shared this
comments powered by Disqus