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Ask the Trainer: Creating a Holistic Workout Routine

By Billy Locke
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009, at 01:18PM
Billy Locke

Billy Locke, Extreme Natural Fitness Trainer

I hope you've all been remembering to drink your water this week. Staying hydrated is an important part of being able to make the most of your workouts. This week we get to field our first reader question, a query from Kim who asks what she should be doing to make the most of her time at the gym.

First, though, don't forget that blogdowntown is sponsoring a 12-week Body Makeover Contest. In order to win all you need to do is:

  • For one month, e-mail us a log of your workouts
  • Include what you did and for how long, on the day that the workouts occurred
  • Include a picture of five of your workouts

The person who most consistently emails us with their workout log entries will win a free 4-month membership at Downtown’s The Nine Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness Studio on Flower street. Your membership will include a full fitness evaluation, nutritional counseling and a workout program designed specifically for you.

We have a few people competing already but we would like to have at least 15 participants. Sign up now to be a part of the fun and we can track your progress as the contest continues. We are closing signup on April 6, so you will have from April 6 to May 6 to complete the competition.

Trainer Tip of the Week

This week’s Trainer Tip came to us as an Ask the Trainer question from Kim, who wrote:

When I go to the gym I do about 30 minutes of cardio and lift weights for approximately 30 minutes. Is this enough and what exactly should I be doing when I go to the gym?

Thank you for your question Kim. The best way answer is that you need to approach working out from a holistic standpoint. In other words, you need to include in your gym workouts all the components that will lend to creating optimal health for yourself.

As a bare minimum on a weekly basis, you need to perform some form of cardiovascular movement (e.g. running, walking, biking, etc) three days a week, for 30 to 60 continuous minutes, two days of whole body strength training and stretch your entire body daily.

Keep in mind that this is a bare minimum weekly routine for general maintenance of the body, like brushing your teeth everyday. Doing even more is better --like shooting for an A in your high school biology class by studying more. Because, we all did extra credit work in school and got straight A’s, right?

The difference now is that this is your health you are talking about.

By putting all the pieces of your health together, you will create a perfect picture of health. Combining cardio, whole body strength and flexibility training regularly into your weekly routine, you will create a healthy heart in a body that is lean, strong, toned and flexible.

There are a lot of different ways to structure your workouts on a weekly basis. First, decide how many days you will realistically devote to going to the gym. Then you can set up a schedule accordingly.

For example, let’s assume you are new to exercising. You have decided at a minimum that you will go to the gym 3 days a week. Your workout routine would be as follows:

Monday & Friday Routine

  • Treadmill for 30 minutes (including 10 minute slower pace warm-up, 10 minute aerobic training and 10 minute slow pace cool down)
  • Whole body strength training, including lower back and abdominals
  • Stretch the whole body

Wednesday Routine

  • Elliptical or treadmill for 30 to 60 minutes, including 10 minutes warm-up and 10 minutes cool down
  • Lower back and abdominals
  • Stretch the whole body

Notice the warm-up and cool downs that you need to do with your cardio. That's why it can take up to 60 minutes to increase your aerobic training time, which is when your body primarily burns fat.

If you cannot do any of the above for the minimum as described, just start where you are and increase your duration or output a little more each workout. For example, if you cannot walk for 30 minutes continuously, then start where you are and add one minute each following workout until you ultimately work up to 60 minutes.

Check back next week and we will specifically breakdown the strength training exercises you should be performing during your workouts and we will review the gyms and studios you can grab a convenient workout at downtown. Remember to email us at askthetrainer@blogdowntown.com with your burning wellness questions.

Til next time—Exercise More, Play Hard, Work Smart.

Billy Locke


Extreme Natural Fitness Trainer

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Ask the Trainer

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