Charmed Chatter

The musings of a Personal Trainer/Foodie, en route to adding Yoga Teacher to the mix!

Many a time I have been asked: “what types of workouts are better to do; yoga or weights, or cardio, or circuit training?” The truth of the matter in my opinion is very simple. In order to be overall fit, and to have a complete and well-rounded physical fitness, you need to be doing all types of exercise.  It only makes sense. How can you be physically prepared for any type of activity if you aren’t practicing every type of activity? 

For instance, take yoga. I have an almost daily home practice where sometimes I really just sit in certain poses for extended periods of time in order to increase my flexibility. I love stretching and the noticeable increased mobility I get from it.  Then, I also have my more spiritual home practices where I’m totally focusing on my mindset and my breath, and following a certain series of asana (poses). This practice centers me, and makes me feel amazing. Although neither of these particular practices is really raising my heart rate enough to be effective for accelerated calorie burning, what I am doing is completely essential to my physical and mental fitness.  

On the other side of yoga, I also have a practice that I do at the studio 3-4 times a week which is a “hot flow” vinyasa class. It makes me sweat like a “!!”, and it gets the blood pumping due to the faster paced movements and the intense heat! It’s a great calorie burn, great stretch, and it’s great for my soul. I leave exhilarated. But, it never makes me wake up the next morning with the “Omigod, I’m so sore, I totally destroyed my (insert body part here) in the gym yesterday” feeling – the feeling that tells me that I have torn down those muscle fibres and will rebuild bigger and stronger.  

Because of that, in addition to my yoga, I also do a 2-3 day a week gym routine. Here I use free weights, dumbbells and barbells, cables, and do tonnes of core exercises to really push myself to the brink! This is the workout where I get my increased musculature and increase in strength – more strength than I can obviously get just lifting my own body-weight. After all, I only weigh around 110 pounds, so it’s just not possible for me to get the type of fitness I’m looking for without weight training. 

There are some people who may think that going to the gym to do weight training should be enough, but sadly even with weight training you don’t really burn a lot of calories unless you circuit train, and then you lose strength to push heavier weights. So this again just is not enough!

Finally, after all of the above, in my opinion there is still speed and endurance training left to be done, that high intensity cardiovascular strength training. This means that in order to get those fast-twitch muscle fibres working, and improve the functions of the nervous system, I need to be doing something that is making me move fast with powerful bursts of energy, (like running, jumping, skipping, dancing, boxing, tumbling, throwing, or all of it in combination), all the while focusing on moving with agility and accuracy. This means that in my view, to be overall fit, and truly athletic, I need to also be incorporating what is called plyometric exercises. So I also do 2-3 days a week of this type of exercise.

Now this may all seem like a lot, but if you are planning on a 5 day a week fitness schedule it would mean you could really do one on of the following programs:

  • 1 week with 2 days of weight training, 2 days of doing yoga, and 1 day of doing a fast paced exercise like interval training, plyometrics, running, or a boot-camp, or playing volleyball or soccer.
  • 1 week doing 3 days of weight training, 2 days of doing a fast paced exercise like interval training, plyometrics, running, or a boot-camp, or a dance class, or soccer, and an additional 4 days with a short home practice of yoga.
  • 1 week of 1 day of full body weight training, 2 days of doing yoga, and 2 days of doing a fast paced  exercise like interval training, running, or plyometrics, a boot-camp, or a dance class, or soccer.
There are a lot of ways to incorporate multiple fitness routines within a week, and variety is the spice of life!

Personally, I do work out a lot, and have worked out consistently for over a decade. I will say that I dedicate about 8-10 hours a week to workouts of some type, but that said - fitness is my absolute passion!! I am a personal trainer and fitness instructor, (soon to be yoga teacher!), so it makes sense that I spend more time on fitness endeavours. Just like an artist spends 40 hours a week painting or a builder spends 40 hours a week building, it’s my job to be fit – and it’s a part of me! 

In summary, I think that every type of exercise is essential to being fit. Each plays an important part in our overall health... And enjoying life!
Namaste!

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