How To Change the Way Your Muscles Respond To Exercise
Once you’ve ascertained your fitness goal, you’ll have a better idea of how to proceed. From now we’ll talk about general fitness, and generally speaking, there are 4 areas to focus on to become fitter:
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Strength training
- Stretch and balance
Balancing between these areas will ensure a rise in general fitness. Focusing on one too much may imbalance the body. Like those guys in the gym who focus solely on biceps and chest, and end up hunched forward like gorillas.
As mentioned before, this process takes about 6 months of dedicated working out, but once you reach the level where all your stress is released from exercising and your brain’s swimming with feel good chemicals, you won’t be able to NOT workout.
Cardio is very important for general fitness. Things like running, jumping, rowing etc. Anything which gets you sweating and your heart pumping.
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The most efficient form of cardio is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) — training at high intensity for short intervals with short rest periods between.
HIIT is based on evolutionary theory of the fitness of our ancestors. There were no gyms in hunter-gatherer times and humans needed to utilise short bursts of energy in order to hunt food down or get away from predators.
Those most adept at using these short energy bursts caught the most food, escaped the most predators and therefore had most chance to pass their genes to the next generation. And so over thousands of years, humans evolved to become physically fittest by exerting a high amount of energy for short amounts of time and then resting.
HIIT burns the most energy/calories/fat in the shortest time.
There are plenty of these workouts out there, but Insanity is the one I did. It’s a 60 day programme; 6 consecutive days with 1 day of rest per week. There are 2 levels of intensity. Level 1 focuses on cardio and fat burn, level 2 focuses on harder intensity cardio and strength. Level 1 lasts the first 4 weeks, which is followed by a week of balance and recovery movements, then followed by 4 weeks of level 2.
A HIIT programme will supercharge your cardio workouts. You’ll get fitter and more energetic in less time. In the beginning you will struggle to keep up, but your muscles and lungs will adapt over time.
I have asthma, I could barely breathe in the first 2 weeks of doing Insanity. For me personally, my lung capacity grew massively after just a couple weeks of consistent cardio. My body realised it had to adapt. This is just what I found, I don’t recommend this to anyone, if you have trouble breathing, then stop.
Always keep safety in mind. If at any point during a workout you really feel you can’t go on or feel sick or dizzy, stop, rest and catch your breath.