"I want to lose weight." "I want to get bigger." "I want to be stronger."
These are the common appeals I hear when someone is asking about personal fitness training. It is too rare to hear "I need to get fitter."
The components of physical fitness include cardiovascular efficiency, muscular strength and endurance, muscle and joint flexibility, and a healthy body composition. Does your fitness plan take into consideration all of these components or are you focusing on just one or maybe two?
Maybe it's time to refocus your exercise efforts. If you are working out with the main goal to lose fat(remember "fat loss" not "weight loss"), to be strong, get bigger muscles, rest easier, or for specific health reasons emphasize improving your overall fitness.
Improving your overall fitness will greatly benefit the primary goal that you are trying to achieve.
The fitter you are the longer you can sustain optimum workout performance. This will allow you to burn more calories, further increase muscular endurance, increase body-fat utilization, and improve your cardiorespiratory efficiency. You will burn more calories and fat during exercise and at rest. You'll recover faster between sets during your workout. This could mean fewer or shorter breaks during your workout. It can also allow you to reduce your overall workout time allowing you more free time, a plus for those that don't love to exercise, yet. You'll also recover faster after your workouts.
The fitter you are the harder you can train. Working out at higher intensities means burning more calories which greatly benefits your fat loss efforts. It means you can work specific muscle groups harder for greater and quicker increases in size and strength.
There's a great chance you'll notice that as your general fitness improves so will your ability to manage other forms of stress. The health benefits of stress management are nothing to sneeze at- better sleep; lowered heart rate and blood pressure; less muscle tension meaning fewer aches, pains or physical annoyances; a clearer mind with less worry and negative thoughts; feeling better overall- physically and mentally.
Hopefully, for those of you that it applies to, I have convinced you to rethink your main purpose for exercising and you will incorporate modes of activity that cover all the components of physical fitness. Improving your fitness should always be the top priority of exercise.
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