Summer is that time of the year where gyms are full of guys going beast mode—all hoping to unleash a better body at the beach. You don't need us to tell you that regularly working out is a good thing. But if you sweat out without an actual goal, therein lies the problem.
“Yung iba kasi nagbubuhat to have a better physique pero hindi naman nila alam yung goal nila. If you know your goal, then you can better target it in training,” says Roy Lapiz, a junior coach at 360 Fitness PRO in Mandaluyong City.
For your efforts at the gym to pay off, you need to know the right things to monitor to get you closer to your fitness goals. We outline five basic digits to make sure your training remains potent in banishing fat and making you look good wearing a sando. Because even if you have the physique, there's still a right time and place to take your shirt off.
The Digit: Workout Frequency
If you only hit the gym once a week, even if you spend hours there, you really won't get the results that you want. According to Lapiz, you should workout three to four times per week to get better results.
But what if you want to go everyday and rest less since you want all the gains? It's not exactly a case of more is better. “Meron din kasing burn out. Kung hindi tama yung program, maaaring lumiit pa katawan mo kasi muscle na yung nabe-burn ng workouts mo,” warns Lapiz. If your body burns muscle instead of fat and carbohydrates, then you're doing too much, man.
The Digit: Heart Rate
Taking your heart rate (HR) during exercise is a great way to gauge whether you're putting in enough effort when you do cardio activities. There are HR monitors available in the market and some watches and phones can also measure it. According to the US National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), there are three HR zones you can play with.
Zone 1 is between 65-75 percent of your maximum which is what you get when you brisk walk or jog. When you run faster than jogging pace, you then reach zone 2 which is 76-85 percent from your max. Once you go on an all-out sprint, you hit zone three which is 86-95 percent of your max.
Without getting too scientific, your cardio workouts should at least reach between 70-80 percent of your maximum HR to generally get fitter. To measure your maximum HR, the usually used equation is: 220-your age=maximum heart rate. From here, you then get the percentages so you can mix your workouts between the recommended zones.
The Digit: Rep Range
Lifting weights is not always about how heavy the iron you're hoisting is. You have to be smart and make sure that you're lifting at the right rep rage for your goal. Here are the general ranges according to Lapiz.
Power and Maximal Strength - Four to six reps. This should be done with really heavy weights and should be done progressively to build up to lifting heavier.
General Strength - Eight to 12 reps. Use moderately challenging weights for this.
Toning and Muscle Endurance - 12 to 15 reps. You'll need lighter weights for this, but it's just as challenging.
The Digit: Body Fat Percentage
If you want to look leaner while muscling up all over, stop using bodyweight as your gauge and monitor your body fat percentage instead. “Muscle weighs more than fat. The goal is usually to increase muscle mass and lower your body fat percentage,” says Lapiz.
Lowering your body fat percentage will help you show off more muscle, especially your abs. According to the NASM, those who are athletic (and look ripped) have a body fat percentage of between five to 13 percent. If you're 34 years old and below, the recommended healthy range is eight to 22 percent. Usually, there are weighing scales that also measure body fat. You might want to get your hands on one of those.
The Digit: Metabolic Window
While your goal is weight-loss, it doesn't mean you shouldn't eat—especially after workouts. “It is important to remember the metabolic window. Take advantage of the right foods during this 30-45 minutes after you work out and take greater control of your weight,” writes Vince Rozier in Best Time to Eat & Exercise Guide: What Research Tells Us...
Your body is in burning mode during this period but it's not an excuse to get your lamon on at this point. The key is to replace the proteins and carbohydrates you lost during exercise and let these nutrients help your body recover. A protein shake or a peanut butter sandwich on wholewheat bread are good choices during the metabolic window.
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