Working out requires planning. Not a ton, but you definitely want to create balance in your fitness routine in order to see results. Balance means adding in multiple styles of training including cardio, weight training, bodyweight toning, and recovery (stretching and yoga).
I know it sounds overwhelming and you may be wondering how it's possible to incorporate all of this or what quantity is required of each.
The answer is that each person is different. I know, that's not helpful. Let me break it down further.
Cardio is done for two reasons: to lose weight and to maintain a healthy, strong heart through aerobic activity.
I recommend 2-3 days of cardio a week if your fitness goals include weight loss.
I dedicate 2 days to just cardio alone and I choose either running, boxing, or HIIT. I always complete 60 minutes of cardio, however, only 30-45 minutes is what's absolutely necessary.
Weight training includes strength work (high weight/low rep to increase muscle mass) and toning (low weight/high rep to maintain lean muscle).
I recommend using weights 2-3 times a week. If your goal is to increase muscle mass, you will perform strength work more often. If your goal is to maintain lean muscle, you might tone and use lighter weights more often.
I lift 2-3 times a week based on my schedule and recovery time. I mention lifting on sore muscles in a different blog post, but I simply don't recommend it. You want to be recovered before your next lift.
Bodyweight exercises can be incorporated in strength, toning, and HIIT. These are all great ways to get your heart rate up and burn calories.
I also like to use bodyweight training to increase range of motion and drain lactic acid.
I typically incorporate only 1 bodyweight day where I spend an hour stretching, performing quick bodyweight movements such as step-ups and burpees, and practicing yoga. I use this day to burn calories, tone lean muscle, and also recover.
Below is a sample of how I might set up my week.
Cardio on Monday, Tuesday is dedicated to lifting, and Wednesday includes bodyweight training to tone and also recover my muscles from Tuesday's lift!