Diversify your Workouts to Up your Fitness Game

Diversify your Workouts to Up your Fitness Game

The rule of thumb used in nutrition advice is: “The best diet is the one you stick to”. However, that rule requires a little for nuance when it comes to exercise. It can be hard to decide what style of exercise is right for you, as there can be seemingly endless acronyms, anecdotes, and “It Depends…” provided to what should be simple questions. Let’s take some time to explore and simplify many of the options available. Some of these you may or may not have heard before, but after this you should have a strong understanding of Cardio, Strength Training, Athletic Training, Functional Training, Flexibility, Balance & Coordination and what may be best to incorporate for your fitness journey and needs. 

The first option that comes to a lot of people’s minds is Cardio. Put generally, Cardio (short for cardiovascular) is any type of exercise done with the purpose of training your aerobic capacity. Let’s break it down further. Aerobic capacity is the ability of your body to take in oxygen, transport it throughout the body, and remove carbon dioxide. The primary benefit of this type of training is improved heart and lung health. Improved Cardio has been shown to significantly lower risk of diseases like hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some types of cancer. 

It’s easy to understand why performing Cardio is a good idea, but what are some ways to do that? The some of the most common ways are walking, running/jogging, swimming, biking and rowing. However, it can pay to be creative here; dancing, skipping rope, walking stairs and fast-paced resistance training can all train aerobic capacity effectively Many people ask which form of Cardio they should be using, or if one is better than another. The most important thing with cardio is remaining consistent and moderately challenging yourself every workout. Evoke Wellness has a diverse selection of differing jump ropes (like the Evoke Weighted Jump Rope, Evoke Speed Rope and the Evoke Jump Rope), weighted wall balls, and sliders to choose from so have fun and try new things, it’s all good for you. Even just 30 minutes per day would put you well over the minimum recommended amount of weekly cardio. 

Moving away from Cardio, Strength Training should also be a core part of any fitness plan. Strength Training is any exercise done with the primary purpose of building muscular size and strength. However, regular Strength Training has been shown to improve bone mineral density as well. This is usually done by applying mechanical tension to the target muscles using weights, resistance bands, machines, medicine balls, or your own bodyweight. Weights like dumbbells and barbells are excellent all-around choices as they can be used to perform almost any exercise and can easily be used to progress with by adding additional weight to the bar or moving to the next dumbbell. The downside of these is that it requires space for a large amount of heavy equipment if you’d like to use it anywhere but a gym. This problem is the same for machines, but they are very easy to use as they tend to only be built for one or two exercises. 

Evoke’s Resistance bands, Exercise and Wall Balls, as well as Multi-Exercise Door Gyms benefit most from their utility and wide variety of uses and styles. Being lightweight and portable makes them a great choice for people on the move or those with limited room. Using a variety of different resistance levels can make training with bands very interesting, and are essential when it comes to making progress. For example, as you get stronger with your exercises that involve larger muscles, increasing from a medium power Band to a heavy power band would be necessary. However, you may find that you’d like to strengthen one specific muscle or joint; in which case a light Power Band or medium Mini-Latex Band may be the better option. 

Athletic Training is all about moving your body and/or the weight as fast as possible. Jumping and throwing are both examples of Athletic Training. Medicine Balls and Wall Balls are excellent tools for the power development and conditioning found in Athletic Training. They are suited for building powerful movements as you don’t have stop the weight each time, but can instead throw it out of the hands. Decreasing the rest and increasing the tempo of an exercise like ball slams allows it to somewhat mimic the Cardio-based exercise in HITT training. Medicine Balls are rubber balls made for being thrown and slammed against the ground or wall and only slightly bouncing back. Wall Balls are similar to Medicine Balls but are made using PU leather and have stitched in tabs for an easier grip. However, the biggest difference is that Wall Balls are designed to deaden on impact so they won’t bounce back to you. Wall Balls are generally larger as well, with Evoke’s wall balls come in different weights - 10, 12, 16, or 20 pounds. 

Using your own bodyweight as resistance is called Calisthenics. This includes exercises you may be familiar with, like push-ups and pull-ups. While this style of exercise can be incredibly versatile, some may find it hard to get started when their strength is lagging compared to their weight. Conversely, experienced lifters may be too strong to optimally progress difficulty after a certain point. This is where the combination of Evoke’s Multi-Exercise Door Gym and Resistance Bands can work perfectly. The Multi-Exercise Door Gym can turn any doorframe into a pull-up bar, and when placed on the ground, can be used as both handles for push-ups as well as foot anchors for crunches. You can also try anchoring a Power Band on the push-up handles while the band rests on your upper back to add some extra difficulty to your push-ups. There are so many interesting ways to uses this combination of equipment for Calisthenics, so it really pays to be creative and experiment.  

In terms of intensity and volume of Strength Training there are simply too many options. To simplify it to its easiest terms, try to train 3-4 days per week, with exercises that target each muscle group (i.e. chest, back, hamstrings, etc.). Try to include a variety of different exercises in your workouts and aim to do 3-4 sets of each. Don’t be afraid to mix things up within each workout, remember that the most important factor to success is staying consistent from week to week. Doing this while progressively increasing the difficulty, whether that be by adding weight or reps, is at the core of every Strength Training program.

Functional Training borrows from all of these previous training styles to try and train you for the most common movements in your everyday life. Think about lifting large, awkward objects and carrying them somewhere else. Functional Training would attempt to mimic this by having you lift something like a large Medicine Ball and carry it a certain distance. This would work aspects of Strength Training, Balance and Coordination, and Cardio all at once. 

Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of what Cardio, Strength Training, Athletic Training, Functional Training, Flexibility, Balance & Coordination are, and why you should do them, feel free to integrate them into your workouts as you accomplish more and more in your fitness journey.

Author: Innovative Fitness 

Consult a physician prior to commencing an exercise program. If, at any time during exercise, you feel faint, dizzy, or experience pain, stop and consult your physician